Aston Martin’s entry-level V8 Vantage, (Coupe as well as the Roadster) gets some tweaks for its Geneva Motor Show debut. The engine is of course the 4.7-litre 420bhp unit. In addition to the six speed manual that is standard on the V8 Vantage, the optional Seven-speed Sportshift™ II transmission, previously available only on the more expensive Vantage S,replaces the six-speed Sportshift™ unit. With an additional gear, closer ratios, lower final drive and a quicker, refined shift quality, this new gearbox provides faster, precise shifts and optimises acceleration, says Aston.
The steering ratio, now at 15: 1 from the previous 17: 1 provides quicker steering response, also thanks to a new steering column installation and re-valved power-steering pump. This also has improved steering feedback and improved handling.
Stopping power and pedal feel have been significantly increased thanks to new 380mm two-piece ventilated cast-iron front discs and six piston callipers. Aston Martin also points out that this new braking system also includes Hill Start Assist (HSA) for more precise control on steep inclines.
The V8 Vantage also comes with tyres that are 10mm wider than the outgoing model. This increases the contact area of rubber on the road, and in turn improves road-holding and allows the more responsive steering and stronger brakes to be fully exploited.
Taking cues from the V8 Vantage S and the N400, the 2012 V8 Vantage has received a number of styling changes. At the front a new and lower bumper, with an aerodynamic splitter houses a larger air intake that feeds the engine and front brakes. At the rear there’s a new diffuser and on the sides, sculpted race-derived side sills, all of which complete the V8 Vantage’s more muscular look.
The interiors have not been subjected to the scalpel, and are as always, stunning, classy and so on.
So what sets apart the Vantage S now, apart from the price tag? For starters, you get the powerplant developing 430bhp at 7300rpm and 490Nm of torque at 5000rpm, the Sportshift™ II close-ratio seven speed automated manual transmission is standard and a sports exhaust system unique to the ‘S’ .
Carbon fibre detailing of the Vantage S’s motorsport-derived aerodynamic package makes a discreet and highly appealing visual distinction from the V8 Vantage. Fully integrated satellite navigation system developed in conjunction with Garmin is now fitted as standard along with Bluetooth and cruise control.
V12 Zagato production begins
The V12 Zagato features hand crafted aluminium panels, formed using an ‘English wheel’. Aston Martin says each front wing comprises of seven separate pieces of aluminium combined and hand finished to give the ‘flowing’ form. The double bubble roof is another Zagato trait.
The V12 Zagato is based on the V12 Vantage and combines Aston Martin’s most dynamic bonded aluminium platform with the power of the 6.0-litre V12 engine producing 510 bhp (380 kW / 517 PS), and 570 Nm (420 lb ft) of torque. While Zagato worked on the design of the V12, it was engineered by a team led by Aston’s Chief Engineer Chris Porritt.