Aston Martin Debuts the Breezy, 510 hp V12 Vantage Roadster

Aston Martin isn’t an automaker that maintains a huge portfolio of models, but it certainly makes the most of what it has. Witness the V8 Vantage Coupe, which since its auspicious 2005 introduction has begotten a succession of ever-more-dazzling offspring, including the V8 Vantage Roadster, the Prodrive V8 Vantage, the N400, the V8 Vantage S, the V12 Vantage Coupe, and the V12 Zagato. Now, missing no opportunity for overachievement, Aston Martin reveals the V12 Vantage Roadster.

Like the vaunted V12 Vantage Coupe, the Roadster employs Aston Martin’s normally aspirated 12-cylinder engine, good for 510 hp and 470 ft lbs of torque—more than sufficient to deliver what the company CEO calls “sensory overload.” With its prodigious power delivered to the rear wheels through a traditional 6-speed manual transmission, the drop-top V12 Vantage will blast to 60 mph in about 4.4 seconds and press on to a top speed of 190 mph.

Apart from the obvious, the Roadster differs from the Coupe in a host of small but meaningful ways—tweaks intended to give the two cars identical driving dynamics. There’s a new lower front air intake and a reshaped trunk lid with a “flip” that aims to reduce rear-end lift and improve directional stability at speed. Below that, there’s a carbon fiber composite diffuser (one of the car’s many handcrafted carbon fiber pieces) that frames dual tailpipes and a big center-mounted oil cooler. The Roadster sports some chassis tweaks, as well, including modified dampers front and rear and redesigned rear springs, and new forged alloy wheels reveal enormous carbon ceramic disc brakes.

Aston Martin states that its top-dog Vantage will have “limited availability around the world”—which equates to a very scant 101 units. In its homeland, the Roadster will command a cool £150,000 (about $237,000). Get ’em while they’re hot. (www.astonmartin.com)

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