But this is all about to change, with Aston Martin set to debut its most potent production sports car ever at the Geneva motor show with the new V12 Vantage.
Originally debuting as the Vantage RS Concept at the opening of the Aston Martin Design Studio in December 2007, Aston Martin engineers have brought the V12 Vantage to market in an incredible 12 months true to form.
Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ulrich Bez said: “This is the ultimate performance interpretation of the Vantage range, combining our most agile model with our most powerful engine. It represents the definitive driving package; providing spectacular performance to ensure a dynamically thrilling and everyday useable driving experience."
The production model boasts a 6.0-litre V12 engine similar to the current flagship DBS, producing a staggering 380kW at 6500rpm and 570Nm.
Unique to the V12 Vantage is 'Sports' button which allows the driver to select from 'Normal' mode which provides a more progressive throttle response for everyday driving and a 'Sport' mode which delivers sharper throttle response together with a sportier exhaust note.
“The V12 Vantage has a unique character, unlike our other cars. This will appeal to different people with different tastes, allowing more people to enjoy the Aston Martin experience.
While the new V12 power plant is 100kg heaver than the standard car's engine, lightweight materials and components including carbon ceramic brakes, lighter forged aluminium wheels, lightweight inner rear quarter panels and optional lightweight seats mean it is only 50kg heavier than its V8-powered sibling.
From a standstill, the new V12 Vantage will hit 100km/h in just 4.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 305km/h - giving the new model the straight line performance it needs to best its main rivals.
Perhaps its most inviting asset is that despite its newfound racing pedigree it retains its original interior dimensions making it a genuinely practical everyday supercar with 300 litres of luggage space, a normal tailgate and ample stowage space behind the rear seats.
Reflecting its true driver's car status, the V12 Vantage is available exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission using a transaxle configuration to offset the weight of the heavier engine resulting in near perfect 51:49 weight distribution.
The rear suspension has been modified to incorporate a more compact dual-rate spring design, in order to accommodate a wider wheel and tyre combination, improving grip and traction.
Overall ride height has been reduced by 15mm with stiffer springs and anti-roll bars all round, lowering the cars centre of gravity and reducing body roll during hard cornering.
The 10-spoke diamond-turned 19-inch forged alloy wheels save 5kg in total, wrapped in wider Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres which have been specifically designed for the V12 Vantage enabling it to generate the highest cornering forces of any Aston Martin - up to a peak of 1.3g is possible.
A Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) brake package features as standard on the V12 Vantage with six-piston callipers up front and four-piston down the rear.
Cool air is fed directly onto the 398mm front rotors by air ducts integrated into the lower front grille, with the overall brake package saving 12.5kg, significantly reducing the car’s unsprung mass.
A revised Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system has also been implemented which gives the driver three modes of operation to manage challenging driving situations.
In default mode the system is automatically switched on, holding the button down for two seconds engages 'track mode' which increases the threshold at which the system intervenes which holding the button for four seconds turns the system off completely.
Being an Aston Martin, the new V12 Vantage has a certain aesthetic reputation to uphold - something which it does magnificently.
Proving the adaptability of the Aston Martin design formula, the exterior of the V12 Vantage is both functional and stunning, deriving much of its aerodynamic components through data obtained from the N24 race car programme.
A revised front splitter channels cooling air to the brakes and to the radiator while also producing increased down force, working in synchronous with bonnet louvers which allow heat to escape from the engine bay and help increase front-end down force by limiting built up air pressure under the bonnet.
The N24 race car has also inspired the new side sills which channel air towards the rear of the car rather than under it, reducing rear-end lift.
At the rear of the car, the aerodynamic process is completed with a more pronounced boot 'flip', new carbon fibre diffuser and redesigned rear under floor working in harmony to create down force and channel air through the new high-capacity oil cooler.
Inside, the carbon fibre door-pulls have been fastidiously prepared to ensure the weave has been perfectly aligned, with lightweight Alcantara featuring prominently throughout the cabin.
Optional hand-crafted carbon fibre and Kevlar composite seats are both comfortable and practical, saving a total of 17kg.
Aston Martin V12 Vantage: Specification
Two door, two seat coupe body
Bonded aluminium structure
Aluminium, magnesium alloy, composite and steel body
Extruded aluminium door side impact beams
High Intensity Discharge Headlamps (dipped beam)
Halogen projector headlamps (main beam)
LED rear lamps
All alloy quad overhead cam 48 valve 5935cc V12
Compression ratio 10.9:1
Front mid-mounted engine, rear wheel drive
Fully catalysed stainless steel exhaust system with active bypass valves
510 bhp (380 kW / 517 PS) at 6500 rpm
570 Nm (420 lb.ft) at 5750 rpm
0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.2 seconds
0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds
190 mph (305 km/h)
Urban 11.64 mpg 24.26 l/100km
Extra Urban 24.05 mpg 11.74 l/100km
Combined 17.28 mpg 16.35 l/100km
CO2 388 g/km
Rear mid-mounted six speed manual gearbox. Alloy torque tube with carbon fibre propeller shaft
Limited slip differential
Final Drive Ratio 3.71:1
Rack and pinion
Column tilt and reach adjustment
Front: Independent double wishbone incorporating anti-dive geometry, coil springs, anti-roll bar and monotube dampers
Rear: Independent double wishbones with anti-squat and anti-lift geometry, dual-rate coil springs, anti-roll bar and monotube dampers
Front: 9” x 19”
Rear: 11” x 19”
Front: Pirelli P Zero Corsa 255/35 ZR19
Rear: Pirelli P Zero Corsa 295/30 ZR19
Front: Ventilated Carbon Ceramic discs 398 mm diameter with six piston callipers
Rear: Ventilated Carbon Ceramic discs 360 mm diameter with four piston callipers
Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with Track mode
Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
Length: 4380 mm (172.5”)
Width: 1865 mm (73.5”) (excluding door mirrors)
2025 mm (80”) (including door mirrors)
Height: 1241 mm (49“)
Wheelbase: 2600 mm (107.9”)
Fuel tank capacity: 80 litres (17.6 Imp. Gal. / 21.1 US Gal)
Weight: 1680 kgs (3704 lb)