Aston Martin Vantage V12 Zagato Heritage Twins

Do you prefer the classy Speedster or the classic coupé? With the Heritage Twins from Zagato, you are not spoiled for choice, because the exclusive special models of the former Aston Martin Vantage V12, each limited to 19 pieces, are only available in a double pack.

And now the full name again to repeat and memorize: Aston Martin Vantage V12 Zagato Heritage Twins by R-Reforged. That's the name of the new pair of twins of epic length, because three parents have given them their genes and names: British manufacturer Aston Martin contributes the technical basis with the Vantage V12, Italian coachbuilder Zagato the idiosyncratic design and the Swiss company R-Reforged In addition to the initial spark, the production facility in Warwick, UK. And what about Heritage Twins? Well, there was a not-too-distant ancestor whose two twins looked like spitting images.

So they're not really new, more like a continuation of the Vantage V12 Zagato with other means. The spectacular lightweight coupe of 2012 was the only special edition of the smaller Aston range (2005-2017) with special bodywork and a production run of 101 was planned, but only 63 were built. Anyone who didn't immediately recognize the potential of the two-seater or didn't have 500,000 euros left can now strike it: With exactly 38 units, the small series specialist R-Reforged is closing the painful production gap and is only offering the Heritage Twins in a double pack as a coupé and speedster – for the utterly immodest £1.75million plus VAT.

But the exotic and collector scene works according to its own laws, the few originals are already traded above the new price. Compared to the factory-issued Centennial duo of Zagato-Astons in the same quantity for 8.3 million euros, the twins are actually a downright special offer and therefore almost sold out. The debut duo shown here will crown the collection of today's Carrozzeria owners Andrea and Marella Zagato.

Not a copy, but a fine evolution

Finally, to celebrate their 100th company anniversary, the Italians put a lot of love and development work into the two-seater and changed numerous details. The side ventilation gills, the front spoiler and the 19-inch alloy wheels have been redesigned, while the once towering, fixed rear spoiler has given way to a more discreet, automatically extending example. In addition, unlike the original model, the body is now made entirely of lighter, high-strength carbon fiber composite, and the Speedster was even a brand new addition. Otherwise, one could fall back on the existing CAD data, and because the crash structure is also identical, there was no need for the time-consuming re-homologation.

As a basis, both use standard, new works coupés from the last years of construction with the classic V12 naturally aspirated engine, which, thanks to a special engine control and exhaust system, achieves 600 hp and 625 Nm here. In the conversion period, which can take up to 18 months, the original body is first removed and replaced by the Zagato dress, with the newly designed Speedster rear with its two humps adopting the Zagato-typical stylistic element of the double roof curvature ("double bubble") from the coupé. However, its button for the heated rear window turns out to be a functionless relict, because instead of a folding top, there is only a leather tarpaulin to protect the stationary car from the weather.

Standing? The Aston Twins can do that long enough. So give me the key, get in the Speedster and out on the Swiss country roads around St. Gallen. The sports seat in the niche next to the wide center console fits perfectly like a tailor-made suit and puts you in the mood for future cornering experiences with a firm grip, while the typical Aston interior charms even the most discerning with fine, beguilingly scented leather in the customer's choice of colour. When you press the crystalline ignition, hm, -block, the heavy V12 chunk under the front hood reports for duty, builds up an acoustic menacing gesture right from the start, which increases in intensity over the entire speed range and culminates in a bloodcurdling roar.

If you squeeze the AM28 engine and drive it up to a lofty 7,000m altitude, you should be able to read 100 km/h on the counter-rotating speed and rpm scales after just 3.7 seconds. To do this, however, a virtuoso on the clutch and accelerator pedals must meter the power of the free-sucking libertine via a seven-speed manual transmission and gently transfer it to the road via the rear wheels. With the alternatively available sequential Graziano gearbox that we drive, it is perhaps a little more comfortable and easier, but hardly any faster because of the clearly noticeable shift pauses.

It doesn't have to be, because there are probably more suitable toys for speed junkies than the Speedster. Instead of pressing the skull against the headrest like a Porsche 911 Turbo at full acceleration, it develops its force much softer and more evenly and can be finely modulated with the accelerator pedal. And anyone who thinks they can only push the two-seater cautiously because of its no longer entirely new design will be amazed at how agile, traction-safe and easy to control the pleasingly compact 1.5-tonner fires through corners when necessary.

No either-or, but both-and

Good to know, but ultimately just as irrelevant as the delicate undefinedness of the steering, which keeps a little too much information to itself. Even a small burst of gas helps against the gentle onset of understeer after a long period of neutrality, which is tried out more often in the 50-kilo coupé than in the Speedster.Because contrary to what its name suggests, the Luftikus invites you to exhilarated cruising, giving you the pleasure of driving an Aston as well as the joys of open-top driving. When the sun shines, the landscape expands and the wind caresses your hair, it seems that happiness can hardly be increased.

At most through the coupe, because it's not always sunny everywhere. But that decision was made for us when we bought it.

Zagato for Aston

After the debut DB4 GTZ, it was almost 30 years before Zagato designed an Aston Martin again. Since then, the Milan-based lightweight construction specialist has launched some fascinating small series.


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