Aston Martin’s new performance flagship – the 565bhp V12 Vantage S

How to spice up the appeal of an 8-year old design? Adding more power is a tried-and-tested route – one which plays to the media as well as prospective customers. Another tool, which Aston Martin recently used on the updated Rapide, is to add an ‘S’ to its name.

The end result is ‘the most extreme Aston Martin ever created’ – according to the car maker itself and their ‘fastest series production car.. ever’ barring the One-77.

The new AM28 engine is an evolution on from the AM11 fitted in the Vanquish, even though they both offer 565bhp and 620Nm of torque. Crucially, it’s not just peak torque which receives a hike over the previous V12 Vantage, low rev torque – measured at just 1,000 rpm – leaps from 440 Nm to 510 Nm, significantly improving driveability.

Success from the track has been applied in developing the new V12 Vantage S engine, including CNC machined combustion chambers and hollow cam shafts, to produce a car which is capable of 205 mph.

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Aston has chosen to introduce the new Sportshift III AMT (automated manual transmission) on the V12 Vantage S, which is 25kg lighter than the outgoing six-speed manual gearbox. It’s joined by the new Sportshift III transaxle, from transmission experts Oerlikon Graziano, which has been developed to handle the performance of the new AM28 engine.

The ZF Servotronic power assisted steering is new, too. With a quicker 15:1 ratio, it’s linked to the adaptive damping button and offers two-mode steering assistance designed to best match the ‘Sport’ or ‘Normal’ settings generated by the Adaptive Damping System.

It also sounds good. Using the same reduced size and lightweight muffler as the Vanquish & One-77, Aston Martin’s engineers set out to create a sound which blends a deep rumble with the high-frequency tone of a ‘savage rasp’. There are few modern-day V12 engines that sound as richly tuneful, or as recognisable as those fitted in an Aston Martin.

This one’s a peach. In fact the whole new exhaust system – derived from the One-77 – is lighter, smaller and, crucially, even more sonorous than that of the outgoing car.

Styling

The new V12 Vantage S replaces the outgoing V12 Vantage and receives a number of styling changes to distinguish between old and new. Most noticeable is the car’s grille that does away with the famous aluminium vanes – replacing them with a new carbon fibre arrangement that also includes black carbon fibre or titanium silver mesh.

Other clues include the debut of new lightweight forged alloy ten-spoke wheels, a black painted roof and part-painted boot panel.

Inside there’s new-style seating with Sport and carbon fibre lightweight seat options, revised stitching and welt detailing, two leather grade options – Luxmill and semi-aniline – plus Alcantara as a further option. Customers can also choose from the optional Carbon Fibre Interior Pack, which adds the material to the car’s facia and door pulls.