Aston Martin is building the stunning V12 Vantage Roadster it said it wouldn’t make

  • Aston Martin showed off an open-hood powered V-12 Vantage at Pebble Beach.
  • The V12 Vantage roadster has 690 horsepower and a claimed top speed of 200 mph.
  • It will be limited to 249 units worldwide and all have already been sold.

    Aston Martin seems to have taken the advice of its most famous fictional brand ambassador – Britain’s leading not-so-secret agent, James Bond – and decided to never say never again. Although we were told at launch of the V12 Vantage coupe that there were no plans for a roadster version, this is very much a roadster version of the same car – the one that was just unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California.

    Anyone who bought a V12 Vantage coupe on the basis of the exclusivity guaranteed by the 333-unit series will probably not be pleased with the ragtop’s arrival. But the rest of us should be able to forgive Aston Martin for introducing something so good-looking. The regular V8 Vantage roadster is already an extremely handsome beast, and the V12 has increased the muscularity of the design without losing any of the grace of the base car.

    As with the coupe, fitting the big 12-cylinder engine was a challenge. Aston insiders say it was necessary to combine much of the underbody structure of the larger DBS with the Vantage’s bodywork. The bodywork of the V12 Roadster has been widened and includes heat vents in the fenders behind the front fender arches, plus a redesigned front hood needed to find room to pack the engine. The hood, fenders and door sill extensions are made of carbon fiber.

    Mechanically, the roadster is almost identical to the coupe. It uses a 690 hp version. on Aston’s 5.2-liter twin-turbocharged V-12, the same motor that powers the larger DB11 and DBS. This is accompanied by 555 pound-feet of torque and is sent to the rear axle via an eight-speed automatic transmission and mechanical limited-slip differential. A dual exhaust is located below the rear diffuser and is made of lightweight stainless steel. The entire exhaust system weighs a claimed 16 pounds less than the V8 Vantage Roadster’s exhaust system. Hopefully it sounds better without the roof than the disappointingly muffled coupe when we drove it earlier this year.

    Aston claims the V12 roadster will be one of the fastest front-engined roadsters in the world, capable of both a 3.5-second 60mph and a top speed of 200mph. These figures are slightly better than those the company claimed for the much more expensive V12 Speedster without a windscreen, which sat on the Vantage chassis and used the same engine.

    Although it doesn’t look like a natural track car to us, carbon-ceramic brakes will be standard on the V12 roadster and it will also be available with the option of a raised wing from the coupe. While official renderings suggest the roadster looks better without the tall spoiler, opting for it will also allow the car to produce a claimed peak of 475 pounds of downforce.

    Production of the V12 roadster will be limited to just 249 examples, making it even more exclusive than the coupe, with deliveries due to begin before the end of the year. There’s no official word on pricing, but Aston says it’s already sold out of the entire series, with buyers unlikely to see much change from $350,000. That’s a hefty sum to pay for the smallest Aston Martin, even in the ultra- exclusive shape, but we’ve been promised that this is indeed the last time the V-12 engine will be combined with the Vantage body.

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