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    a weekend with a V12 Vantage S Roadster

    Thanks to AM Sevenoaks, I had the pleasure of this last weekend

    What a car! 

    What an engine! What an engine! What an engine!

    What a colour (not in a good way)!

    The V12 is utterly magnificent. At any revs, in any gear and at any speed, there is music and joy for your ears. There is a distinct change at around 4k rpm from rumble, to howl, to race car scream right at the top; all the while accompanied by seamless, smooth, linear and unrelenting thrust. Sport mapping amplifies everything at lower rev ranges, and is, for me, too loud for town or city driving. The V12 is a masterpiece; there’s very little inertia, and it’s mighty responsive and free revving. Compared to my 997.2 GT3, it lacks nothing in responsiveness or revviness. 

    I thought SS III absolutely fine, and enjoyable. It’s mechanical, yet pleasant. It changes down quickly enough with auto blipping, while at the same time retaining your interest. I got it working very smoothly after an hour or so, even when seeing how quickly it accelerates. Best of all, you can use 2nd and 3rd on fast A and B roads to make the engine sing while retaining your licence (mostly). Low speed manoeuvring is excellent, except when you need super fine control when parking in tight spaces; when it can be a touch difficult to modulate. It’s an easy criticism to say that SSIII is ancient and not as good as dual clutch autos etc, but that’s missing the point. SSIII forces you to interact more intimately with the car, encourages you to have a conversation with the car, rather than shouting orders at it. For me, in this age of digital everything, and ease of use seemingly the be all and end all, SSIII is a superb antidote to the relentless march of “progress”.

    The ADS is well suited to the car in almost all conditions. It provides excellent damping in normal mode on fast A and B roads with bumps and terrible cambers, keeping the car keyed into the road surface, allowing you to push the car without being thrown off course. Track mode is too jittery for UK roads, and pretty much pointless (much like sport damping on my GT3). Unfortunately, during the weekend, after some time in crawling London traffic, the ADS warning light came on together with emissions service warning – this turned the car rock hard, as if the dampers had been turned off. Once restarted, it was OK, but this happened a few times. Not good for a 5 month old car with 4500 miles.

    Steering feel is not as fulsome as the V12VS coupe that I drove in Jul 14. It seems lighter, less connected and slightly more detached – I suspect that much of this is due the less rigid Roadster body and the 80kg of additional weight. It’s accurate enough though, with decent feel.

    The V12VSR does a good job of hiding its weight, providing really superb agility and handling until you hit mid corner ridges, holes and bumps at high speeds when you feel the chassis groan and flex, and the car saying ‘ahem’. Not that it can’t deal with it, more that it feels a bit harassed, and would much rather not have to behave like that! Drive it smoothly while taking advantage of opportunities to run up and down through the gears on open, winding and clear roads on a Sunday morning, and I understand why folks are captivated by this car. I certainly was.

    The interior was rattling and making all sorts of noises (especially noticeable with roof up) over London roads, which was very disconcerting for such a new car; this will no doubt drive me nuts over time. The infotainment is pretty fiddling and unintuitive, but nothing I couldn’t live it. I think the new Vanquish style console will improve things tremendously as information for non sat nav functions will at last be legible!

    Astons attract attention, bright yellow ones much more so. It’s almost too aggressive a colour for an Aston, too shouty and too loud. It wasn’t love from the public all the way. I had white vans and assorted other nutters cut me up, and many others overtake me for no real reason at all. There was of course the usual nice comments and thumbs up.

    After all this, you might ask, am I buying one? Yes, I probably would have. However, I could not get it into in the underground garage where I live as the expensive carbon fibre front splitter would not have survived its encounter with the flat concrete floor after the down ramp. I had to leave it overnight on East London streets which was a bit unnerving, with a £1000 insurance excess. Fortunately, nothing happened.

    All of this means that unless I move, I can’t have any V12 Vantage of any kind (or any Vantage with the V12 style front splitter) at all :(


    Re: a weekend with a V12 Vantage S Roadster

    Thanks for the write-up SFO - well done.  At some point these V12 cars will be remembered for exactly this engine; trouble is there are alternatives around which don't have rattling interiors etc. so a tough sell perhaps for Aston.

     Re. the splitter not working in your garage; was it even lower than your GT3 (which I always felt had the worst issue with front grinding due to low ride height and long nose).?  


    --

    2011 Range Rover Sport S/C,  2009 Porsche 911S


    Re: a weekend with a V12 Vantage S Roadster

    Great write up sfo, many thanks for taking the time to post it. I wish I had the knack of getting cars like that to try - maybe my luck will change when Dick Lovett (Porsche Centre Swindon) move in a couple of weeks next door to their Ferrari dealership, but I'm not holding my breath on that one! Smiley

     


    --

     

    Porsche Boxster GTS Carrara white / Skoda Octavia Mk.3 daily drive

     


    Re: a weekend with a V12 Vantage S Roadster

    4trac:

    Thanks for the write-up SFO - well done.  At some point these V12 cars will be remembered for exactly this engine; trouble is there are alternatives around which don't have rattling interiors etc. so a tough sell perhaps for Aston.

     Re. the splitter not working in your garage; was it even lower than your GT3 (which I always felt had the worst issue with front grinding due to low ride height and long nose).?  

    Aston build quality needs to improve, and their engineering depth also needs to improve. While it all looks great, the beauty of the interior is skin deep.

    my GT3 has front axle lift, without it, it wouldn't get in either.

    Aston lip is not as high but it sticks out further


    Re: a weekend with a V12 Vantage S Roadster

    dreamcar:

    I wish I had the knack of getting cars like that to try

     

    just ask Smiley


    Re: a weekend with a V12 Vantage S Roadster

    When I was at Dijon with the gang, there was a V12 Vantage S and V8 Vantage (both coupes).  They were reasonably quick and both sounded great.  Was nice to see these cars getting that kind of exercise (I rarely see them at track days in US).


    --

     

    73 Carrera RS 2.7 Carbon Fiber replica (1,890 lbs), 06 EVO9 with track mods. Former: 73 911S, Two 951S's, 996 C2, 993 C2, 98 Ferrari 550

     


    Re: a weekend with a V12 Vantage S Roadster

    Grant:

    When I was at Dijon with the gang, there was a V12 Vantage S and V8 Vantage (both coupes).  They were reasonably quick and both sounded great.  Was nice to see these cars getting that kind of exercise (I rarely see them at track days in US).


    --

     

    73 Carrera RS 2.7 Carbon Fiber replica (1,890 lbs), 06 EVO9 with track mods. Former: 73 911S, Two 951S's, 996 C2, 993 C2, 98 Ferrari 550

     

    Don't mention these idiots again! SmileySmiley

    Love the V12 Vantage sfo, would look brilliant in any collection but I doubt I'd ever be brave enough to make that jump. That said I applaud everyone who does. Thanks for the review!


    --

    2003 BMW M3 CSL (sold) / 2008 Porsche 911 GT3 RS / 2013 MINI John Cooper Works GP / 2014 BMW Alpina D3 biturbo Touring


    Re: a weekend with a V12 Vantage S Roadster

    I've always loved that car, ever since it was announced. Aston did a wonderful job with it and every review I've ever read of it ends on a very positive note. But I agree a car at that level shouldn't be plagued with rattles and squeaks in the interior. That color though, that's a tough sell. 


    Re: a weekend with a V12 Vantage S Roadster

    Got to love AM. I am excited about their future cars. Hope they get the funding to excel like they deserve.  


    --

    2013 BMW 750 xDrive & 2014 x5 & 2014 991 TTS Cab 2014 BMW i3 2017 Porsche Mission E on order


    Re: a weekend with a V12 Vantage S Roadster

    EnglishManInNY:

    Got to love AM. I am excited about their future cars. Hope they get the funding to excel like they deserve.  

    +1


    Re: a weekend with a V12 Vantage S Roadster

    Great review, thanks for sharing.


    --

    J.Seven

     

     


    Re: a weekend with a V12 Vantage S Roadster

    good insight, thank you.

    as or that engine, yes it is a masterpiece in characteristics and sound etc.

    and i have to certainly agree that the cars are far from perfect with many of its tech outdated. but they've got soul.

    my rapide s feels absolutely solid. actually one of the most solid cars i have ever driven. as if it is milled from one piece.

    when my brother drove it, that was his first remark as well and he is very experienced with cars.

    overall, the positives far outweigh the negatives and there is a certain cool factor to astons imo which is mirrored in the feedback one gets when driving it. never had a single negative reaction. on the contrary. then again mine is a 4 door sedan.

    and yes, that sound indecision

     


    --
    Speed has never killed anyone, suddenly becoming stationary... That's what gets you.

    Re: a weekend with a V12 Vantage S Roadster

    Thanks for sharing your experience, very interesting read! Smiley

    The V12 Vantage S Roadster is currently the only Aston Martin I would love to own. Despite it's lack in raw performance, this car is as sexy as it can get. The engine and engine sound alone are worth getting it, no doubt about it.

    I love this car but for 180k EUR (my local dealer is offering one), this is a lot of money, it is a bit too pricey for my taste. I doubt we will ever see this car under 100k EUR used but if it should happen, I would be very tempted to get one.


    --

    RC (Germany) - Rennteam Editor Porsche 991 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet, Porsche Macan Turbo, Ford Mustang GT500 Shelby SVT (2014), Mini JCW (2015), Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT (2014)


    Re: a weekend with a V12 Vantage S Roadster

    RC:

    The V12 Vantage S Roadster is currently the only Aston Martin I would love to own. Despite it's lack in raw performance, this car is as sexy as it can get. The engine and engine sound alone are worth getting it, no doubt about it.

    It's the only Aston I would buy too. It has the muffler from the One-77.

    Performance wise, it has 573PS, which is more than enough. Agreed it's not as torquey or ferocious as the newest bi turbo V8s, but a lot of that it down to the automated manual. It felt and probably is faster in the mid range than my 7.2 GT3.


     
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