Aston Martin V12 Vantage coupe
- Stunning looks
- Blistering performance
- Endless personalisation opportunity
- Firm suspension
- Supercar sized running costs
- Outdated sat-nav
"The V12 Vantage is one of the most exciting Aston Martins ever made."
The Aston Martin V12 Vantage puts the firm's biggest engine into the smallest sports car of the range, and the result is spectacular. Aggressive looking front and rear bumpers, different wheels and carbon fibre air vents give it a meaner look than the standard V8 Vantage, while the hand-built V12 engine gives stunning performance. The V12 Vantage handles well, but is physically demanding to drive, requiring firm inputs to the steering wheel, pedals and gearlever. Like the V8 model, the V12 Vantage isn’t quite as precise as a Porsche 911 GT3, but it makes up with exclusivity and a British-built charm the German car just can’t match.
MPG, running costs & CO2
V12 engines are rarely cheap to run
A car as exclusive and fast as this will never be cheap to run, so brace yourself for high fuel, repair and servicing costs. A 10,000 mile service will cost around £800, while combined fuel economy of 17mpg means regular stops at the pumps. Good news is that Aston Martins are always in demand and hold their value well, particularly for the highly desirable V12 Vantage.
Interior & comfort
Competent over long distances
Sports cars always have to compromise when it comes to comfort, and the V12 Vantage is firm on poor surfaces, but it's surprisingly settled over longer distances compared to rivals. As with all Astons, just sitting in the luxurious interior is an experience – with an Alcantara clad steering wheel and supportive seats providing a comfortable experience on longer trips.
Practicality & boot space
Order your own customised luggage
The Aston is strictly for two passengers, but there's a useful storage area behind the seats. A hatchback rear door means the 300-litre boot is easily accessible, and there's enough space for a couple of reasonable-sized suitcases. Customers can even order a set of fully customised luggage from the factory. Although the interior is uncluttered and beautifully laid-out, the Volvo-derived sat-nav proves unreliable and tricky to use, spoiling an otherwise flawless cabin design.
Reliability & safety
The V12 Vantage is hand made
Like its main Porsche 911 rival, the Aston Martin V12 Vantage is exceptionally well built, and benefits from being driven regularly. It's hand-made at Aston Martin's Gaydon factory in Warwickshire, and only the outdated Volvo-derived sat-nav disappoints. A set of tyres should last for around 20,000 miles and a clutch should last for 40,000 miles without needing to be replaced. For such a high-performance machine, the V12 Vantage offers a reliable ownership experience.
Engines, drive & performance
A truly unique experience
With the 6.0-litre V12 that debuted in the DBS, the Aston V12 Vantage is a proper driver's car, offering 570Nm of torque, 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 190mph. Power delivery is smooth with slick gearchanges, while the steering is weighty, but the suspension is firm. The carbon ceramic brakes offer exceptional stopping power. A Sport button located in front of the gearlever sharpens throttle response, and makes the exhausts sound even louder.
Price, value for money & options
The Aston Martin V12 Vantage has a list price closing on £150,000, but that's a fair bit less than the larger V12-powered DBS. There's lots of luxury equipment as standard, too, including hand-stitched leather upholstery, a racy Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel, hand-finished carbon fibre and aluminium trim and a premium stereo with MP3 and iPod connectivity. For those with deeper pockets, the car can be personalised even further at the Gaydon head office, with lighweight bucket seats and individually tailored paint options available.
What the others say
Part of the V12's acceleration flexibility comes from its relatively short gearing (third is only just good for 100mph), which also means I can legally enjoy the engine's full vocal range through all of first and second. And if you buy a V12 then be sure to get someone to drive it past you occasionally while you stand at the side of the road, as the sound from the outside really is the stuff of dreams.
I rate it as the best of all modern Aston Martins and it could become one of the world's greatest sports cars. Hugely powerful, it makes absolutely no pretensions to having low CO2 emissions, a frugal thirst for fuel or being the bargain of the week. It is unashamedly a glorious, totally high-spirited thoroughbred – and the most accelerative road car ever produced by Aston Martin.
Last updated: 24 Oct 2013