The V12 Vantage S is so extreme, it is the quickest series production Aston Martin ever with a top speed on 205 mph, and a 0-60 time of only 3.5 seconds. Perhaps the biggest change from the regular V12 Vantage is the adoption of a new 7-speed Sportshift III gearbox fitted as standard with near-seamless gearchanges at high engine speeds. This maximises the performance potential of the engine when compared to the previous 6-speed manual gearshift. When first launched and for the first three years of production, a conventional manual gearbox was not available for the V12 Vantage S whatsoever.
The ‘S’ also introduces 3-stage Adaptive Damping (normal, sport and track) and Servotronic Steering to extract the maximum amount of the potential performance in the widest range of situations. The AM28 engine has a power increase of 55 bhp from 510 bhp to 565 bhp, matching the new Vanquish. Of greater real-world significance is the immediate increase in torque when pulling away from only 1000 rpm where an additional 70 Nm is available versus the V12 Vantage. A new and advanced Bosch engine management system (unique to the ‘S’) controls AM28 alongside the debut of Dual Variable Camshaft Timing and knock-sensing – all improving efficiency and engine capability. This makes the car considerably quicker both when accelerating from stand-still and through the gears. Special attention has been paid to achieve greater aerodynamic efficiency to both aid cooling and increase vital downforce.
The exterior styling largely follows on from the previous car but features a new look Carbon Fibre front grille with vertical spars of the CC100 Concept Car, engineered to maximise airflow cooling and aerodynamic balance. The ‘S’ can also be specified with new optional 10 spoke lightweight forged alloy wheels although the standard wheel remains the 10-spoke design from the previous V12 Vantage, both with Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres.
A new graphics pack allow for three separate areas of the V12 Vantage S (‘lipstick’ around the front grille, roof panel and tailgate panel/lamp infill) to be painted in a contrast colour of either silver or black. The ‘S’ can also be spec’ed with an exterior carbon pack (side strakes, mirror cars and rear lamp infill), interior carbon pack, black side window surrounds and has black headlamp bezels as standard. A small but easy to spot addition specific to the ‘S’ is an optional additional ‘V12’ badge that sits alongside the side repeater.
A year after being announced, the coupe was also joined in the range by the V12 Vantage Roadster S during the summer of 2014.
Then, three years after being first announced, the V12 Vantage S was eventually offered with a seven speed conventional manual gearbox.
The seven-speed manual transmission features a classic dog-leg first gear position; an echo from the past that will be welcomed by driving enthusiasts. This dog-leg configuration also ensures the gears used most frequently are located in a double ‘H‘ pattern like that of a conventional 6-speed manual.
The new manual transmission also features AMSHIFT. The system, which is driver selectable uses clutch, gear position and propshaft sensors, together with finely-tuned programming of the engine management, to mimic the technique of heel-and-toe downshifts; the act of blipping the throttle while braking and changing gear. AMSHIFT also offers the capability of full-throttle upshifts for maximum smoothness and minimal interruption in acceleration.
AMSHIFT can be used in all driving modes, but is especially effective in Sport, with the sharper throttle response and louder exhaust note really emphasising the downshift throttle blip for maximum excitement.