Thank God For The British (And By British I Mean Aston Martin And Bentley) – Forbes

24 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Thank God For The British (And By British I Mean Aston Martin And Bentley) – Forbes
Aston Martin V12 Vantage

Thank God For The British (And By British I Mean Aston Martin And Bentley)

see photos Forbes Images

I’ve been driving a lot of eco-minded cars lately.

Chevy Volt. Nissan Leaf. solar car. French fry car –all done and done.

And while I appreciate the need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels, I must admit a sense of relief as I eased back into something more thrilling. Namely, new offerings from Aston Martin and Bentley.

Days after I had tooled around in the Leaf, Aston loaned me a V12 Vantage for the weekend. As their pricing and fuel economy might attest, the differences between the two couldn’t have been more pronounced. The V12 goes from zero to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, has a 510 bhp 6-liter engine, and pulls 570 Nm of torque with a top speed of 190 mph.

Don’t drive it unless you want to make a statement.

Forbes Images

The V12 Vantage is different in several ways from the Vantage V8 that came out in 2005. It rides lower (so low I had to take some garage inclines at an angle to avoid scraping the bottom) and the pronounced trunk flip and rear carbon fiber diffuser give it major attitude. The special edition carbon black paint job, sneering hood vents and chrome-clad console also add to its unique persona.

I would call this coupe beautiful, but it’s much too masculine for that. Dangerously handsome is a better descriptor.

Vantage has a thick, small steering wheel, heavy knobs and shifter, and optional carbon fiber and Kevlar composite seats. It’s all very no-nonsense inside. Aston Martin calls it “the ideal environment for the focused driver to extract the very best from every element of the car.”

This is Aston’s largest production engine on its smallest chassis, and you can feel it when you drive. The car has two drive modes, “sport” and “normal,” which allow drivers to choose between throttle responses and exhaust notes, though in both modes the voracious V12 instantly bounds to the slightest press of the gas pedal.

The handling is agile, the response of the carbon ceramic brakes refined. A six-speed manual gearbox comes standard.

Bottom line: In spite of luxurious trimming inside and comfortable, spacious seating arrangements, this is a weekend fling, not a daily driver. It demands all of your attention, every time you drive. You walk away very hyped up.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage

Essentials

Engine: Mid-mounted 48 valve 5935cc V12

Transmission: 6-speed manual rear-wheel drive

Horsepower: 510 bhp

Torque: 570 Nm

Weight: 3,704 pounds

Length: 172.5 inches

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