Aston Martin reveals 323km/h drop-top
By: IOL Motoring Staff
Gaydon, Warwickshire - Aston Martin is already using the tag-line "an open invitation", so we can't; we'll just confirm that the V12 Vantage S Roadster - due in dealerships around the world before Christmas - is the most powerful, fastest and hardest-accelerating topless chariot yet unleashed by the world's coolest brand.
Armed with the latest version of the all-alloy, quad overhead camshaft, 48-valve, 421kW AM28 5935cc V12 featuring state-of-the-art Bosch engine management, it'll hit 100km/h off a standing start in 4.1 seconds and go on to reach 323km/h flat out.
But that's not what this luxurious English muscle-car is all about; it's not about 620Nm at a howling 5750rpm, it's about 510Nm just off idle at 1000rpm - more than a BMW M235i can muster at full chat - for "exceptional driveability and strong pick-up through the gears".
Just as in its coupé sibling, GT3 racing technology is the key to the Roadster's performance with, for instance, CNC machined combustion chambers and hollow camshafts just two examples of track technology feeding through to the road.
As is its seven-speed, hydraulically actuated, Sportshift III automated manual transmission with paddle shift - developed in conjunction with transmission specialist Oerlikon Graziano - which is 20kg lighter than the six-speed manual 'box in the previous Vantage.
POWER IS NOTHING WITHOUT CONTROL
The Vantage Roadster comes with three-stage adaptive damping, to three-stage dynamic stability control and two-stage ABS, allowing the driver to tailor the car's dynamic character - and its ZF Servotronic power steering - to the road, the day and the mood, in either 'Normal', 'Sport' or 'Track' modes.
Braking is entrusted to special carbon-ceramic discs, almost identical to those on the range-topping Vanquish, while a whole new lightweight exhaust system, developed from the set-up used on the One-77 supercar delivers the appropriate sound track.
As on the V12 Vantage S Coupé, the signature aluminium vanes in the grille give way to carbon fibre with black or titanium silver mesh, inspired by the C100 Speedster concept and the Vantage race cars - as are the optional, 10-spoked lightweight forged-alloy rims
New seat and door trims - with sports and carbon-fibre lightweight seat options - include the interior carbon pack, which adds carbon fibre to the fascia and door pulls, as well as black pedals.
Q BY ASTON MARTIN
The name, of course, was inspired by the 007 series; Gaydon's Q Branch will be offering a catalogue of bespoke features that'll make your Vantage Roadster as individual as Commander Bond's original DB5, including body coloured carbon-fibre bonnet louvers, a red tint or satin finish on the carbon-fibre elements on the exterior and interior of the car, a carbon-fibre centre console, black anodised and machined rotary controls and a steering wheel with a leather on-centre stripe in the chosen interior accent colour.
Even without a visit to Q Branch, don't expect any change from R3.2 million.