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    Test drove the V12 Vantage

    The V12 Vantage and DBS Volante was launched for the first time in the world by a dealer on Thursday evening at a function in Sandton.

    I was itching to drive the new V12, so I popped by the dealer to get my few minutes motoring bliss behind the wheel. Take note, South Africa (out of all places) has the first dealer demo in world!

    I must say in person this car really has a presence, it is probably the wildest Aston Martin to be released for the road in our time. The bonnet in itself is a work of art. The giant buldge, those carbon fibre vents - just absolutely beautiful. The other cosmetic changes such as the extended lip on the bootlid (CSL style), front and rear bumpers made basically out of carbon fibre. I wasn't particularly fond of the wheels when I saw them in the photographs from the media, but I must say in person, I have changed my mind, they are magnificent!

    The new updated interior looks great, the center console (as busy as it is) really looks the part for me. This model had the lightweight seats which looks great, they also hold you firming in place behind the wheel.

    Now for the actual drive! I think one of the best moments it just before the engine is about to start, the anticipation of the sounds that are just about to be released - it does not disappoint! It has a truely angry and menacing growl. I must say it has one of the loudest startups from a OEM exhaust system out there. The visibility is good in general, but the cabin does feel a little small albeit the Vantage is not a very large car to begin with.

    Onto the road. The car's suspension is ultra stiff, but it does absorb most of the bumps moderately. With the lightweight seats on our roads I think this could become quite painful to your back and rear end over long distances, or durations in the car. The clutch engages very clean and smooth - the pedal itself is very light, so the car is quite easy to drive. The thick alcantara steering wheel tempts you want to throw the car around turns even more. Feedback from the steering wheel is excellent! The carbon ceramic brakes took a little while to warm up, but after the first 15 minutes they worked like a charm. Now to feel the power at your disposal... The torque is gut wrenching, I wish I could feel what this car must go like at the coast! The traction control lights are flickering away and I was not even at the redline. I think due to the car with it's rather short wheelbase and the RWD setup, the car feels far more verocious than other vehicles in the similar category. The last car to make me that nervous behind the wheel was my old Noble. The V12 wailing and echoing off the building facades in Sandton was fantastic!

    All in all, I think the V12 has filled all the checkboxes the V8 was missing for me. Aston Martin have truely outdone themselves with this latest edition to their line up. Well done!

    Hope you enjoyed the read, now for the photos.


    Re: Test drove the V12 Vantage

    congrats.

     

    any more pics??

     

    its certainly the most exciting Aston in recent times.

    why bother with a DBS seriously?!?

     

    one thing i would like to see is a more aggressive body kit to set it apart from a V8.  maybe a CF rear diffuser and retractable wing??! 


    Re: Test drove the V12 Vantage

    thanks for the write-up. Sounds great. I don't know if i like all those hood vents.

    wide, low, and curvy is the magic combo. 

    You should have had a james bond theme music cd with you for the start-up and drive.

    http://www.rennteam.com/page/content/image.png?documentId=25173

    http://www.rennteam.com/page/content/image.png?documentId=25170

    http://www.rennteam.com/page/content/image.png?documentId=25172


    Re: Test drove the V12 Vantage

     i think that car is a fantastic achievement from Aston. Mike you must be going crazy with impatience now, and your color combo is much more impresive.

    @ derder: the front and rear diffusers and spliter are in carbon fibre and really stand out, they are almost entirely visible carbon. its just that this car in the pictures being gray really hide it.


    Re: Test drove the V12 Vantage

    Enmanuel:

    @ derder: the front and rear diffusers and spliter are in carbon fibre and really stand out, they are almost entirely visible carbon. its just that this car in the pictures being gray really hide it.


    Nah, that's only because of Mike and his bad mobile phone quality. Smiley
     


    --

    The secret of life is to admire without desiring.


    Re: Test drove the V12 Vantage

    Rossi:
    Enmanuel:

    @ derder: the front and rear diffusers and spliter are in carbon fibre and really stand out, they are almost entirely visible carbon. its just that this car in the pictures being gray really hide it.


    Nah, that's only because of Mike and his bad mobile phone quality. Smiley
     

    Blame Blackberry Smiley


    Re: Test drove the V12 Vantage

    That engine bay is packed!! Thanks for the writeup!

    Is this new Vantage the smallest V12 car currently available?


    --
    Cash, gas or ass... no one rides for free!

    Re: Test drove the V12 Vantage

    WOW Mike - you have the right feeling for the cars! I would never had imagined that the V12 Vantage will become that kind of special. To be honest, I also was wondering a little bit why you put an order. But reading your comments now and seeing the first shots the car seems to be just mind blowing!


    Re: Test drove the V12 Vantage

    Mike S:

    Take note, South Africa (out of all places) has the first dealer demo in world!
     


    Interesting - maybe if you would move to Alaska they would have the first dealer demo over there Smiley

    Actually a friend of mine will testdrive the V12 today - not a dealer demo, but a car from the AM test center at the 'Ring. From what I understood from your very positive report it might become an expensive afternoon for him Smiley

    Thanks for the report Mike Smiley Do you know already the build day of your V12 ? Smiley


    --
    public roads: Porsche 987 S Seal/Cocoa, toll road Smiley : Porsche 997 GT3 Arctic/Black

    Re: Test drove the V12 Vantage

    Hi Lars, I always knew a big V12 in a tiny car would be a winning recipe

    Haha, thanks Porsche Jeck. I don' t know the exact date yet, but I could find out.


    Re: Test drove the V12 Vantage

    I understand they will only produce 1000 V12's. So it will be a very exclusive car. 


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    Re: Test drove the V12 Vantage

     Mike,

    thanks for the report. Sounds very promising!

    Looking forward, when you report back from your own AM V12!


    Re: Test drove the V12 Vantage

    Mike S:

    ...  I wasn't particularly fond of the wheels when I saw them in the photographs from the media, but I must say in person, I have changed my mind, they are magnificent!

     

     Maybe you could get the DBS Volante wheels if you're not entirely convinced with the other ones. this wheels are way better looking than the ones on the Vantage...IMHO


    Re: Test drove the V12 Vantage

    I had my test drive today.  Not a bad car, but I think a lot of people (based on my circle of friends) are going to sit back and see what the 458 Italia is going to be like first.  Here is my impression:

    + The sound, oh the sound!
    + Rides much harder than the V8 Vantage, but surprisingly over big humps and bad roads it isn't that bad. Much better than say a LP560-4.
    + Steering feels much better than the V8. It has lost the loose connection feel. Also much more precise in turn in. I think the ratio could be more direct.
    + The optional 1 piece carbon seat is so damn comfortble! I want one on my track car. Got to find out who makes it.
    + The alcantara on the steering
    + The power especially at higher revs.
    + Like the V8, traction is a strong point despite the power. Slides very easily but so easy to control. I felt like a rally driver on a freeway on ramp when I slid the tail out just about 25 degrees and held it with ease.
    + The feel of the carbon ceramic brakes after it warms up.
    + Much improved gearbox compared to the V8. Buttery smooth.
    + "Good value" for money. This is obviously a relative measure, but with that V12 engine, carbon ceramic brakes and carbon fibre everywhere, around $430k driveaway is not too bad. (over here the LP560-4 for example would be another $100k)

    - The carbon fibre air vents on the bonnet is way too contrive. Ricey and utterly unsuitable to this car.
    - Wheels are not very nice. 
    - Interior doesn't feel that special, and some switch gear such as stalks remains Ford focus (Volvo actually) items and looks and feel very cheap. Very very cheap actually. Also the centre console has lost the special touch of the first generation Vantage in my opinion (not bias here!).
    - This is the big one - Gearing is far too long! Are they creating a sports car or tourer? Put your foot down in third, and it doesn't go anywhere fast until it hits 4500rpm. To be honest it lost me right there. I had a friend's 599 for an afternoon this week, and everytime I put my foot down, it is wrap speed. V12 Vantage doesn't have that and you really have to be in the right gear and right rev range.


    Re: Test drove the V12 Vantage

    Some interesting insights, I've heard that gearing comment before, maybe Prodrive will come up with a solution in the future?

     


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    Re: Test drove the V12 Vantage

    Nice car. It's a shame we're never getting it here in America because the hood to engine space doesn't conform to our NHTSA crash standards.


    --

    ...the only thing stopping you in all likelihood, is you!


    Re: Test drove the V12 Vantage

    Thanks for the write up WAY! I agree with some of your views and obviously some of mine are biased The purpose of this car for me, was a sporty GT - so the longer gearing suits me perfectly.

    As for the aesthetics, I still love the hood vents - I just think it is so out of the ordinary! Reminds me of the DBR9!


    Re: Test drove the V12 Vantage

    Really interesting, thanks Mike. I'm with you I dig the hood.

    What do you think, are the CF hood vents needed because of the size of the V12 in such a small engine compartment, they look functional but are they out of necessity based on stuffing the engine or are were they created more for stylistic purposes?  - Are they 100% necessary based on heat, etc?

    --

    08 PORSCHE Turbo Cabriolet, 06 Ferrari F430,  04 Durango HEMI,  04 Harley Davidson Screamin Eagle,  93 Harley Davidson Nostalgia


    Re: Test drove the V12 Vantage

     Mike, the CF vents look pretty good on the dark grey colour you drove, but on the car I drove, I stuck out like a sore thumb!  Didn't suit it at all.  See the picture below!  I am biased too in all my comments btw so don't take it too seriously haha.  Stradale, I think the hood vents are more stylistic than necessity.  The V8 Vantage race car has exactly the same vent eventhough that has completely different engine, which makes me conclude that they are just trying to make this car look like the race item.


    Re: Test drove the V12 Vantage

    Hi WAY. I know they are going to stick out and that why I love it My car is frost white, it will stick out even more than the colour you displayed below.


    Re: Test drove the V12 Vantage

     Mike, white and carbon fibre looks good though!  Once again I am biased as my track car is half white half carbon fibre. 


    Re: Test drove the V12 Vantage

    Mike S:

    Hi WAY. I know they are going to stick out and that why I love it My car is frost white, it will stick out even more than the colour you displayed below.


    I think white and black or CF go together quite well, much better than silver and CF. Smiley

    EDIT: Hmm, just saw that WAY thinks the same way by the way. Smiley


    --
     

    The secret of life is to admire without desiring.


     
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