Aston Martin’s second Monterey Speed Week debut, coming hot on the heels of the stunning DBR22 Concept, is the V12 Vantage Roadster. Unlike the DBR22, the Vantage is actually destined for the street, but if you want one you’re out of luck. The car was such a poorly kept secret that all 249 units were spoken for before the car had been officially unveiled.
If you’re familiar with the coupe version of the V12 Vantage Aston released earlier this year, you’ll know the drill. Instead of the perfectly adequate 503 hp (510 PS) 4.0-liter AMG-sourced twin-turbo V8 fitted to the regular Vantage convertible, the range-topping Roadster gets a version of the 5.2-liter twin-turbo V12 Aston Martin engine more usually found in the brand’s bigger cars, including the DB11 and DBS Superleggera.
Those 12 cylinders generate 690 hp (700 PS) and 555 lb-ft (753 Nm) of torque, sending it all to the rear wheels via a specially-calibrated eight-speed ZF automatic and mechanical limited slip differential. Performance isn’t quite in the Bugatti Mistral category, but zero to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 200 mph (322 km/h) is probably more than most people’s hairlines can handle, and Aston promises it’s delivered with an “unfiltered howl” that only 12 cylinders can provide.
Related: Aston Martin Gives The V12 Vantage A 690 HP, 200 MPH Send Off
You won’t need to hear the V12 motor to know what’s under this Roadster’s hood though. Like the V12 coupe, the flagship ragtop is marked out by a wider body with stretched front and rear fenders design to accommodate a track that’s up to 1.6-inches (40 mm) wider than the standard car’s. Other identifying – and also functional – features includes a full with front splitter, a front grille that’s 25 percent bigger, a horse-shoe vent in the hood, sculpted side sills and a rear diffuser.
The 1970s handlebar moustache that passes for a rear spoiler on the V12 Vantage coupe is optional on the Roadster, and Aston says management of the underbody airflow means the car will be stable regardless of whether you choose the wing. Hmm, surely it either works or it doesn’t? Buyers also have the option of ordering their 21-inch alloy wheels in satin black, diamond-turned satin black, or junking them altogether and selecting one of two forged alloy wheel sets that saves 17.6 lbs (8 kg).
Other weight saving measures include the use of carbon fiber for the front bumper, clamshell hood, fenders and sill extensions, while the rear bumper and deck lid are also made from a composite material. Rounding out the efforts to offset the extra heft of the V12 motor are a special lightweight battery, an exhaust system made from 0.004-inch (1 mm) stainless steel that saves 15.9 lbs (7.2 kg) versus a V8 Vantage’s setup, and a standard carbon brake package that undercuts a conventional steel brake kit by 50.7 lbs (23 kg). A carbon seat package is also available: that cleaves a further 16.1 lbs (7.3 kg) from the curb weight, and an unspecified amount from your wallet.
Despite all that dieting, the Roadster is a bit a lard-ass. It comes in at 4,090 lbs (1,855 kg), compared with 3,957 (1,795 kg) for the V12 Coupe (itself no butterfly), and 3,589 lbs (1,628 kg) for the V8 Roadster. Aston says the V12 Roadster’s steering calibration matches the coupe’s but that the roofless car’s adaptive dampers get their own bespoke tune, presumably to reflect the open car’s extra heft, slight loss of structural rigidity, and subtly different owner profile.
Sports Plus seats trimmed in semi-aniline leather and featuring “wings” quilt and a perforated pattern lift the interior ambience above the V8’s even if you don’t go for the fancy optional carbon chairs. But you can bet most of the 249 owners will be asking Aston’s Q personalization division to make a few tweaks before they take delivery at the back end of 2022. Q options include loud exterior graphics, woven leather upholstery and tinted lacquers that can change the appearance of the hand-laid carbon panels in differing lighting conditions.
What do you think of the V12 Vantage Roadster? Is it fast enough, and would you take the rear wing or leave it off? Drop a comment below and let us know.