RE: Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster: Review

RE: Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster: Review

Wednesday 24th September 2014

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster: Review

Is chopping the roof off the V12 Vantage S its making or breaking?



Fresh - and still a little wide-eyed - from enjoying the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S coupe when the man from Gaydon said 'would you like to try the Roadster too?', it wasn't a tough call.

Whoever took this pic would be getting an earful
Whoever took this pic would be getting an earful
Unlike the one posed by the seemingly simple question: which is better?

Second time round for the V12 Vantage Roadster this new one is no longer a limited edition (they only made 100 of the 2012 original), has a starting price £3,000 less and yet increases power from 517hp to 573hp and torque from 420lb ft to 457lb ft. This means the new version is a bona fide 200mph car - by just 1mph - beating the previous 190mph vmax and chopping four tenths out of the 0-62mph time to just 4.1 seconds. Unlike the first V12 Vantage the new one, as we already know, isn't a manual and is only offered with the automated single-clutch Sportshift III transmission. Old tech in this day and age but a significant 20kg lighter than even the manual, if you're looking for justifications for the odd thwack of skull against quilted seat back.

Faster, cheaper, lighter and (assuming you have the necessary £147,000 kicking about) less restricted in supply - all good news then.

Form before function perhaps but nice to show off
Form before function perhaps but nice to show off
It's not unusual
There's also the fact you can drop the roof and fully appreciate the guttural bellow of that 6.0-litre V12. Some may be snooty about its Ford origins but in an age of neutered turbocharged lumps it's one of the few proper supercar engines out there and possessed of might and character in abundance. Not to mention the temptation for hapless hacks to construct tortuous analogies to describe its sound. In for a penny - we'll settle for a 'Tom Jones gargling hot coals having just dropped an anvil on his foot' or something along those lines.

Like a cloud on the horizon greyer than the paint on the coupe we drove recently you've probably sensed a 'but' looming in all of this. And it's a predictable one.

New-school supercars like the 458 Spider and 650S Spider seem to have nailed the traditional compromises of going topless by minimising the traditional weight and flaccidity issues. But the Vantage is far from new-school and the Roadster, for starters, weighs 80kg more, like for like, than the V12 Vantage S Coupe.

Doesn't just sound good - looks it too
Doesn't just sound good - looks it too
Stiffy
At least that extra metalwork has been put to good use and there's commendably little shake through the V12 Roadster's bodywork, even with the combined efforts of the V12's torque and typical British B-road potholes doing their considerable worst. Whether you'll want to go delving into the two stiffer settings beyond the default one on the adjustable dampers is another matter; where on the coupe you'll trade a bit of additional harshness for a vague sense of being able to put some of that power down neatly in the Roadster it seems a rather redundant exercise that just exacerbates what little shake and shimmy there is.

You could never accuse 573hp or a power to weight ratio of 315hp per tonne of being tardy either. But there's just enough blunting of the coupe's manic edge and 329hp per tonne to give you time to think about the bigger picture. Yes, you get to enjoy more of that operatic performance with the roof down and a suitably reflective surface from which the sound can bounce back into the cabin. But rather than being a participant you feel relegated to mere spectator. Or even critic, that odd quiet patch around 2,000rpm even more noticeable and annoying.

Noise is pretty epic, performance similarly so
Noise is pretty epic, performance similarly so
Less distracted by the bombastic nature of the coupe you also become more aware of the gearbox's shortcomings. What seems tolerable in the more hardcore feeling coupe becomes rather less attractive in a (relatively) cruisey roadster, the head-wobbling shifts in auto mode around town obvious to all if you've got the roof down. You could carefully select your music to make it look like you're nodding your head in time but that's all a bit of a faff really. And you'd look like a prat.

Attack speed
Up to attack speed and these compromises fade more into the background, simply because at this stage you'll be going really rather rapidly and with less time to quibble over details. Even with the addition of Servotronic variable assistance there's still a deliciously natural weighting to the hydraulically assisted steering which, as per the coupe and all facelifted Vantages, has moved to a faster geared and more decisive 15:1 from the original's 17:1. This and the standard Corsa tyres give front end bite to offset the additional 80kg V12s carry in the nose over V8 Vantages but when you arrive at the corner there's no escaping the fact you're in a heavy lump of metal, even if it's not an especially big one. Just as well the standard ceramic brakes have power to match the excellently modulated bite.

Loudest, fastest and most lairy Vantage to date
Loudest, fastest and most lairy Vantage to date
Like the coupe all that power in such a short wheelbase makes attitude changes rapid and snappy if you're not ready for them - poser's choice or not this is still a proper car that makes real demands of a driver doing more than admiring his own reflection in shop windows. With Sport mode selected and manual shifts from the paddles it becomes a much more serious proposition too but, with such recent memories of the coupe, it's impossible to escape the sense the Roadster is just a little more compromised as a driving tool.

A £9K saving at this price point probably won't be a deal breaker when it comes to choosing between the coupe and the Roadster but for the former's more undiluted taste of the V12 Vantage madness it's the one we'd pick every time. Operatic noise is all well and good but in this case we'd rather be the one holding the baton than up in the stalls.


ASTON MARTIN V12 VANTAGE S ROADSTER
Engine:
5,935cc V12
Transmission: 7-speed automated manual (Sportshift III), rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 573@6,750rpm
Torque (lb ft): 457@5,500rpm
0-62mph: 4.1sec
Top speed: 201mph
Weight: 1,820kg (with driver)
MPG: 19.2mpg (NEDC combined)
CO2: 343g/km
Price: £147,000 (£171,05 as tested comprising carbon fibre seats £2,495, Mako Blue paint £995, Dark Knight leather £995, Californian Poppy carpet binding £395, carbon facia trim £995, B&O BeoSound £5,495, carbon shifter paddles £1,995, black brake calipers £995, exterior carbon trim £2,995, carbon grille £695, front parking sensors £395, black grille mesh £495, reversing camera £995, black tailpipe finisher £395 and forged wheels with Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tyres £3,745.)

 

 

 

 

 

   
   
Author
Discussion

HeMightBeBanned

Original Poster:

508 posts

112 months

Wednesday 24th September 2014
quotequote all
Cool car. Even cooler £24k of options!

bubney72

522 posts

87 months

Wednesday 24th September 2014
quotequote all
Oh look, an Aston that looks identical to all other Astons of the last 20 years!

LA167

897 posts

120 months

Wednesday 24th September 2014
quotequote all
bubney72 said:
Oh look, an Aston that looks identical to all other Astons of the last 20 years!
Who gives a fk!? If it ain't broke (and Aston looks definately aren't!) don't fix it!! The car looks phenomenal!!!

timmeh2k

80 posts

86 months

Wednesday 24th September 2014
quotequote all
LA167 said:
Who gives a fk!? If it ain't broke (and Aston looks definately aren't!) don't fix it!! The car looks phenomenal!!!
Have to agree, Oh no another beautiful car that looks like the others in a line of beautiful cars made by Aston Martin. Awwwww Shucks I wish they had made it ugly....

unpc

2,014 posts

147 months

Wednesday 24th September 2014
quotequote all
timmeh2k said:
LA167 said:
Who gives a fk!? If it ain't broke (and Aston looks definately aren't!) don't fix it!! The car looks phenomenal!!!
Have to agree, Oh no another beautiful car that looks like the others in a line of beautiful cars made by Aston Martin. Awwwww Shucks I wish they had made it ugly....
Quite. Why change a stunner? Porsche don't change the 911 that much and that was ugly to start with.

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996jim

110 posts

86 months

Wednesday 24th September 2014
quotequote all
Looks identical ? Go to Specsavers mate !
I must say though, for a car costing this much, front parking sensors are extra, really ? £2000 for carbon fibre paddle controls and how much for a fussy B&O sound system ? You've just paid the best part of £150,000.00 for the V12 sound system. IMHO, the Mako blue paint does nothing for the car, it may look better in the flesh but I'm just not getting it, may be I'm just a bit too conservative. Mariana blue with Madagascar orange interior please.
bubney72 said:
Oh look, an Aston that looks identical to all other Astons of the last 20 years!

krisdelta

3,710 posts

135 months

Wednesday 24th September 2014
quotequote all
I'm amazed that people still roll out the Top Gear style comments around "styling not changed for 20 years". I think you'll find that 20 years ago Aston's looked rather different to just 10 years ago.

1994 Vantage - compare that with the car in the article!

Is the 911 still a beetle?

rolleyes

Phenomenal car in an era of FI and downsizing. Only let down for me is the gearbox - get the 8speed ZF from the Vanquish II in it.

Long live large displacement V8/12 cars (although they wont - so enjoy them while you can!)


daytona365

1,773 posts

98 months

Wednesday 24th September 2014
quotequote all
I'm sorry, but to me it looks as bloated & gauche as any of those awful Mustang GT500's only twice or three times the price. What happened to true style in the manner of the DB4 to DB6 or the wonderful Vantage of the late eighties ?

F1GTRUeno

3,822 posts

152 months

Wednesday 24th September 2014
quotequote all
The dynamic shortcomings of this (and really, the coupe as well) won't really matter when they're solely used for cruising to the shops in Alderley Edge/California/Monaco/etc.

mikEsprit

702 posts

120 months

Wednesday 24th September 2014
quotequote all
I'm not a fan of the blacked-out look and I think it looks out of place on an Aston. I think most of this car looks out of place as an Aston. It's still very pretty, though.

Why tf would anyone spend that kind of money on carbon paddle shifters? How much weight can they save--6 grams? Are they made out of razor blades if you don't get the carbon ones?

booner

118 posts

126 months

Wednesday 24th September 2014
quotequote all
Carbon shifter paddles £1,995.

  • chokes*

daytona365

1,773 posts

98 months

Wednesday 24th September 2014
quotequote all
I think maybe 'Californian Poppy carpet binding' gives a clue to the likely customers.

996jim

110 posts

86 months

Wednesday 24th September 2014
quotequote all
Bloated and gauche - ooh get her. The wonderful Vantage of the late '80s, blimey with a POW kit on it I rather think that was a little more bloated - stunning looking car all the same, certainly not a streamlined svelte little thing though.
daytona365 said:
I'm sorry, but to me it looks as bloated & gauche as any of those awful Mustang GT500's only twice or three times the price. What happened to true style in the manner of the DB4 to DB6 or the wonderful Vantage of the late eighties ?

Zod

35,150 posts

192 months

Wednesday 24th September 2014
quotequote all
F1GTRUeno said:
The dynamic shortcomings of this (and really, the coupe as well) won't really matter when they're solely used for cruising to the shops in Alderley Edge/California/Monaco/etc.
Could you take us through its dynamic shortcomings, please?

av185

6,814 posts

61 months

Wednesday 24th September 2014
quotequote all
Wow......£170 k to live with an achaic single clutcher....err no thanks. Although cheaper than an Aventador I guess.....yes

May as well stick with an e46 M3 and save yourself £155k.......biggrin:

mikey k

11,922 posts

150 months

Wednesday 24th September 2014
quotequote all
F1GTRUeno said:
The dynamic shortcomings of this (and really, the coupe as well) won't really matter when they're solely used for cruising to the shops in Alderley Edge/California/Monaco/etc.
hehe driven one then hehe

K2iss

81 posts

169 months

Wednesday 24th September 2014
quotequote all
booner said:
Carbon shifter paddles £1,995.

  • chokes*
reversing camera £995.

At this price, they must have taped a canon or nikon dslr to the boot lid. cool

Edited by K2iss on Wednesday 24th September 19:18

mikey k

11,922 posts

150 months

Wednesday 24th September 2014
quotequote all
996jim said:
I must say though, for a car costing this much, front parking sensors are extra, really ? £2000 for carbon fibre paddle controls and how much for a fussy B&O sound system ? You've just paid the best part of £150,000.00 for the V12 sound system. IMHO, the Mako blue paint does nothing for the car, it may look better in the flesh but I'm just not getting it, may be I'm just a bit too conservative.
That's Astons options list for you frown
£5.5k for the B&O which is no better IME than the £700 Premium system and doesn't take up boot space like the B&O (which is at a premium in a roadster wink )
Mako is like Lightning Silver, a really nice pearl effect to the lacquer that just doesn't photography well
I contemplated chaning my 3yr old V8S Roadster for one of these but at £105k to change I think I'd soon look at a used 650S or California T next year.



mikey k

11,922 posts

150 months

Wednesday 24th September 2014
quotequote all
av185 said:
Wow......£170 k to live with an achaic single clutcher....err no thanks. Although cheaper than an Aventador I guess.....yes
hehe driven one then hehe

I've done 14k miles in mine (ASM2) and it is a great gear change, better than my DSG Rocco was
Most don't understand it is actually a robotic manual and not a true auto
Interesting how the single clutch ZF 8 speed seems to be in favour over the dual clutches as well wink


daytona365

1,773 posts

98 months

Wednesday 24th September 2014
quotequote all
''Could you take us through its dynamic shortcomings, please?''............Yes, it ain't German or Italian.