Aston Martin V12 Vantage in the test

Dominic Fraser
Aston Martin V12 Vantage put to the test
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K Commercial speed monitors, also known as speed cameras would not understand the question at all from a philosophical point of view. And if they did, they would squeeze out a categorical no. Is there a way to drive fast in style?

Well, we would of course fully answer this question in the affirmative. Ultimately, it makes a considerable difference whether someone has to use 90 percent of the available energy at a speed of 130 km /h, or whether he can maintain this speed at a load of - say - 30 percent. There is something aristocratic about being able to shake something out of your sleeve - even if it's just speed - doesn't it?

Noble understatement without the insignia of sportiness

If the automotive appearance then still without the insignia of sportiness offered elsewhere turns into noble understatement, it would probably also be advisable on the part of the security forces to allow such stylish-dashing gliders per se a significantly higher basic speed.

But joking aside: the 'little' Aston Martin Vantage with the six-liter twelve-cylinder from the large DBS corresponds in its stylish elegance, paired with a rather subtle presentation of sporty attributes, exactly to the kind of automotive sovereignty, which you not only trust everything possible, but also approve of a lot.

Descendant of the Aston Martin DBS Vantage from 1969

It wasn't much different with its ancestor, the DBS Vantage from 1969. Although: The driving performance at that time hardly corresponded to the generous output of 325 hp. The in-line six-cylinder, which was fed by three Weber double carburettors and had been taken over from the predecessor DB6, propelled the 1,700 kilogram Vantage to 100 km /h in just 8.6 seconds, according to the British magazine “Autocar”. And at 226 km /h the end of the flagpole was reached. Measured against this, the great-grandson gives the real temperament: 300 km /h is a matter of course given the power reserves that the twelve-cylinder has ready.

The V12 Vantage, which weighs roughly the same as its ancestor, reaches from a standing start the 300 km /h mark after 53.7 seconds. 200 km /h are after 14.0; 100 km /h after 4.5 seconds. Much more interesting than these bare numbers is the way in which the driving performance is achieved. Thethe extremely cultured acceleration of the twelve-cylinder comes - how should you put it - aristocratic, sometimes even imperious. Just as the torque falls over the drive wheels just above idling speed, you shouldn't be surprised if the Pirelli Corsa sports tires tend to temporarily refuse to maintain, i.e. refuse to grip, at least during the warm-up phase.

Faster than the Aston Martin DBS on the Hockenheimring

The weight-compensating transaxle design with the gearbox flanged to the rear axle differential and the mechanical differential lock cannot prevent this traction weakness, so that the electronic traction control is usually somewhat more important than like the V8 Vantage. Once the tire has reached its temperature window, the small V12 variant, however, gets involved in the action with consistently lovable properties. After all, the dashing Aston went so far in the last 24-hour race at the Nürburgring with a much-noticed class win that in view of his second big test - the lap time measurement in Hockenheim - there was no longer any doubt about his sporting talent. With a time of 1.13.2 minutes, the two-seater, which is handcrafted in an appreciable manner, outshines the Aston top model DBS, whose distinctive twelve-cylinder was inherited by the Vantage, by three tenths of a second.

The compact one benefits in detail The twelve-cylinder Vantage clearly differs from the N24 versions that Aston Martin launched after the various racing successes achieved together with sport auto on the Nordschleife: the subtle front spoiler lip and the more pronounced rump on the rear are legacies of the consequent operated Nürburgring engagements. Despite all the dynamism that the V12 Vantage displays without a false attitude, it sees itself above all as a typical Gran Turismo: Not too soft and certainly not too hard, it maintains an inconspicuousness on the chassis that is understood as a nice concession to the long-distance suitability may be. The dashing appearance is only somewhat tarnished by the harder rolling of the sports tires.

Racetrack option: ESP offers three levels

In terms of driving safety, everything is fine with this grandiose driving machine: What reduces agility a little on the circuit - the tendency to understeer under drag gas - helps the driver in everyday life to keep the 517 hp lurking at his feet in check hold. The insurance in the form of the electronic stability pact can be managed in three stages: Interventions in engine management in track mode can only be partially prevented or, if desired, completely prevented. Forty years ago, the pilots of the DBS Vantage did not know such possibilities. If they overdid it, then they knew exactly: the turner,it wasn't me, it was the car. The current V12 Vantage would emphatically reject such unobjective accusations.


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