The Aston Martin V12 Zagato is getting closer to appearing on Australian roads after a static launch on the Gold Coast last weekend.
The new Aston is the road car version of the kidney-battering V12 Zagato endurance racer that Caradvice track tested in 2011 at the Nurburgring Grand Prix circuit in Germany.
It may be one down on the pecking order from Aston’s ultra-exclusive One-77 supercar, but the V12 Zagato is still the most exclusive Aston money can buy now that all 77 examples of the One-77 are already in the hands of ardent collectors.
And it will still set you back about a million dollars.
The car marks the pinnacle of the Vantage range, but will be built as a series of no more than 150 cars, ensuring its position as one of the most coveted models in Aston Martin’s 98-year history. More than a third of those have already been accounted for.
Named in homage to Aston Martin’s first collaboration with the Carrozzeria Zagato in Milan, which resulted in the creation of the iconic DB4GT Zagato some 50 years ago, Zagato models have always been incredibly rare cars.
The much-prized DB4GT project resulted in a total of just 19 cars, which today can fetch as much as $6 million each, if you can find one.
In 2003, Aston Martin again collaborated with Zagato to produce the DB7 V12 Zagato in a series run of 99 cars (another was produced for Aston Martin) manufactured in Italy, but trimmed by Aston Martin in England.
Passionate Zagato fans petitioning a new design gave Andrea Zagato the initial push to consider creating a new model. It didn’t take much convincing – Zagato himself had been privately lamenting the decade-long hiatus since the DB7 V12 Zagato.
Arguably even easier to convince was Aston’s CEO, Dr Ulrich Bez. When Zagato told Bez at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show that individual customers were looking for new custom bodies, Bez threw out the idea of doing just a few one-offs and instead suggested they should collaborate on a whole new series.
The V12 Zagato was born.
Aston Martin design director Marek Reichman worked with Andrea Zagato on preliminary sketches, but in the end it was a theme by Aston Martin’s design studio that was chosen following a sketch review.
In an exclusive interview with CarAdvice this week, Reichman said the new Zagato needed to be “a celebratory car that looked at the next 50 years of Zagato rather than any retrospective design”.
He added the Zagato “is very much about being a forward looking, forward thinking car; something that pushes the boundaries of design”.
The end product obviously works - the first time the car was shown in Italy at the famed Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este in 2011, it won the concept class against a host of competitors including Ferrari.
The V12 Zagato is based on Aston Martin’s VH architecture, and in that sense is a shortened wheelbase V12 Vantage in the same way that the DB4GT Zagato was itself a short-wheelbase DB4.
While parts of the drivetrain are common to both cars, there are no shared panels on the V12 Zagato, which uses a combination of hand-beaten aluminium and carbonfibre for the exterior.
There are several Zagato elements that enhance the exterior body including the larger, more aggressive front grille, the double-bubble roof, the criss-cross motif on the side and rear windows, and the round lights (front and rear).
In typical Zagato/Aston Martin style, the interior is a re-trim of the existing V12 Vantage interior, but with a more dramatic quilted pattern, given that Zagato is essentially a coachbuilder.
That means seven Bridge of Weir hides in semi-aniline finish are used, along with satin-finish carbonfibre on the dash and centre stack.
It’s a painstaking process to build each V12 Zagato; in total there are between 800-900 man-hours that go into each car. To put that into some perspective, a standard V12 vantage takes 250 man-hours to complete. The One-77, however, requires a staggering 2500 such hours.
The paint work for the V12 Zagato alone uses up 100 of those hours, and there’s a choice of only four unique colours: Scintilla Silver, Alloro Green, Alba Blue and Diavolo Red.
Under the bonnet is the same 6.0-litre 12-cylinder engine from the V12 Vantage, producing 380kW and 570Nm to move an estimated kerb weight of 1680kg.
Performance figures are also identical to the V12 Vantage, with 4.2 seconds required for the 0-100km/h sprint and a top speed of 305km/h.
Transmission is a six-speed manual with no automatic option, and brakes are massive 398mm carbon ceramic discs with six-pot calipers up front and four-pot calipers at the rear.
The V12 Zagato is quoted at £330,000 (globally) plus any options and all local taxes and duties, which is then converted into the local currency.
Marek Reichman said the V12 Zagato is a brilliant follow-up to the One-77, but on what we could expect next from Aston Martin, he was tight lipped, except to say that something exciting would be revealed in about three weeks’ time.