2023 Aston Martin V12 Vantage: A 690-HP Farewell to Big Engine, Little Coupe
The final iteration of the V12 Vantage goes out on a limited-production high note chock full of superlatives.
Aston Martin, after five years of teasing, has finally shown us the last V12 Vantage it will ever make. The newest and final iteration of the car takes a familiar formula—small, lightweight Vantage coupe plus a big, powerful V12—and promises to send it off on a conclusive, superlative-laden note of glory.
The final Vantage V12 will receive Aston's current in-house, twin-turbocharged 5.2-liter V12 used in the DBS and DB11, which will be tuned to put out 690 hp and 555 pound-feet of torque. Top speed is said to be 200 miles an hour, and 60 mph arrives in 3.4 seconds, hustled along by the ZF eight-speed shared with the rest of the company's sports cars. All of this makes it the most powerful V12 Vantage ever built, according to Aston. In true hardcore Vantage form, weight has been lowered, downforce has been added, body flex has been reduced with added bracing, and the suspension is thoroughly stiffened with the notable exception of the rear anti-roll bars, which are 41 percent softer than the standard Vantage, likely to help make the car slightly more predictable and less prone to oversteer.
Visually, the limited-production model gets a 40mm increase in track width, which is covered with a strikingly cool widebody. With this widebody comes a larger grille and an even larger splitter up front, and out back, new twin exhaust tips, a rear diffuser, and a massive rear wing help clarify to onlookers that this is no layman’s Vantage with a mere eight cylinders; this is the blessed V12. For those wanting to stand out further, full color customization is possible on the entire car down to the tint of the carbon-fiber weave, so hopefully, buyers will get creative with their configurations.
Currently, the most powerful Vantage is the F1 Edition, which puts out 527 hp from a Mercedes-sourced twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8, and that I have been fortunate enough to drive in the past. In my time with the previous halo Vantage, I honestly found it plenty fast (and its big, V12-equipped brother DBS almost too fast), so buyers of the new V12 Vantage have gotta be fiends for power. However, despite adding 163 hp over the Vantage I drove, the V12 will be only two-tenths of a second quicker to 60 and top out at just five mph more than the V8 version, which suggests that delivery will be optimized for drivability rather than raw stat-sheet numbers.
Regardless of the V12's differences, its commonalities with the V8 are plenty strong. The ZF eight-speed has finally been tuned to a point where it offers a reasonable simulacrum for a dual-clutch's rapidity, despite being a traditional automatic, and I found the handling of the F1 Edition excellent for fun canyon runs, if a bit rough on pockmarked roads. To help mitigate that roughness, Aston has added a secondary tender spring to the V12's rear suspension that theoretically improves ride comfort while still allowing for the main spring rates to be stiffer.
Unfortunately for anyone who wants one, you can't have it unless you've already got an order in. Aston is building 333 of the final V12 Vantages, and they're already sold out. Sadly, the rest of us will simply have to make do with the measly V8 Vantage for the rest of time; personally, I don't think that's all too bad.
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