The new Aston Martin V12 Vantage S has been unveiled â€“ it replaces the outgoing V12 Vantage and, with the exception of the limited-run One-77 is the fastest road-going Aston Martin ever. The company said the car’s top speed is 205 mph.
The Vantage line is the automakerâ€™s smallest car and sportiest offering in the U.S., with V-8 models competing in the marketplace with Porscheâ€™s 911. Its larger DB9 and Vanquish cars fall into the more relaxed grand touring category.
Power for the new model comes from the latest version of Aston Martin’s 6.0-litre V12 petrol engine. It develops 565bhp â€“ a 55bhp increase over the current V12 Vantage’s engine â€“ and 457lb ft of torque, an increase of 37lb ft.
The car also joins a growing trend of sports cars jettisoning manual transmissions in favor of automated or dual-clutch units. Whereas the previous V12 Vantage was available only with a six-speed manual, this S version will come only with a seven-speed automated manual.
Aston says this switch not only saves 55 pounds, but the race-derived gearbox allows for much faster gear changes and performance.
“Learning from our successes on the track feeds the development of this type of car,” Ulrich Bez, chief executive of Aston Martin, said in a statement. “Iâ€™m proud to launch such an exciting sports car in this, our centenary year.”
Another new feature is a three-stage adaptive damping system, with Normal, Sport and Track modes. As well as adjusting the car’s suspension, the system also governs the level of power steering assistance.
In addition, a dash-mounted button selects Sport mode, which alters the throttle response, gearshift speed and timing, and exhaust note to give the car a sportier character.
A new (One-77-derived) exhaust system is smaller and lighter than the current car’s, while the steering system is also new, and has a quicker ratio for a more responsive feel.
Aesthetically, the S differentiates itself with a revised grille inspired by the recent CC100 concept, unique 10-spoke alloy wheels and darkened trim throughout the exterior.
Aston said the company is taking orders for the car now, although deliveries will start in January as a 2015 model. Expect pricing to be a shade under $200,000.