Aston Martin’s second Monterey Speed Week debut, 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 copies were talked about before the car was officially unveiled.
If you’re familiar with the coupe version of the V12 Vantage Aston released earlier this year, you know the drill. Instead of the perfectly matched 503 hp (510 hp) 4.0-litre AMG-sourced twin-turbo V8 fitted to the regular Vantage convertible, the top-end Roadster gets a version of the 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12 Aston Martin engine, more commonly found in the brand’s larger cars, including the DB11 and DBS Superleggera.
Those 12 cylinders generate 690 hp (700 hp) and 555 lb-ft (753 Nm) of torque, sending it all to the rear wheels via a specially calibrated ZF eight-speed automatic transmission with a mechanical limited-slip differential. Performance doesn’t quite fall into the Bugatti Mistral’s category, but going from 0 to 60 mph (97 kph) in 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 322 kph is probably more than most people’s hairlines can handle, and Aston promises it comes with an “unfiltered howl” that only 12 cylinders can provide.
Related: Aston Martin Gives the V12 Vantage A 690 HP, 200 MPH Send
However, you don’t need to hear the V12 engine to know what’s under the hood of this Roadster. Like the V12 coupe, the flagship ragtop features a wider body with stretched front and rear fenders to accommodate a track up to 40mm wider than that of the standard car. Other identifying – as well as functional – features include a front splitter, a 25 percent larger front grille, a horseshoe-shaped hood vent, sculpted side sills and a rear diffuser.
The 1970s steering mustache that passes for a rear spoiler on the V12 Vantage coupe is optional on the Roadster, and Aston says managing airflow at the bottom means the car will be stable whether you pick the wing. Hmm, it sure works or it doesn’t? Buyers also have the option to order their 21-inch alloy wheels in satin black, diamond-turned satin black, or ditch them altogether and choose one of two forged alloy wheelsets that save 17.6 lbs (8 kg).
Other weight-saving measures include the use of carbon fiber for the front bumper, clamshell hood, fenders and side sills, while the rear bumper and deck lid are also made of composite material. Rounding out the effort to offset the extra weight of the V12 engine is a special lightweight battery, exhaust system made from 0.004-inch (1mm) stainless steel that saves 15.9 lbs (7.2 kg) compared to a V8 Vantage setup, and a standard carbon brake package that undercuts a conventional steel brake set by 50.7 lbs (23 kg). A carbon seat package is also available, saving an additional 16.1 lbs (7.3 kg) off curb weight and an unspecified amount off your wallet.
Despite all that dieting, the Roadster is a bit of a bigot. It comes in at 4,090 lbs (1,855 kg), compared to 3,957 (1,795 kg) for the V12 Coupe (not a butterfly itself) and 3,589 lbs (1,628 kg) for the V8 Roadster. Aston says the V12 Roadster’s steering calibration matches the coupe’s, but the roofless car’s adaptive dampers get their own custom tune, presumably to accommodate the open car’s extra weight, slight loss of structural rigidity and to reflect a subtly different owner profile.
Sports Plus seats, upholstered in semi-aniline leather and featuring a ‘wings’ quilt with a perforated pattern, elevate the interior ambience above that of the V8, even if you don’t opt for the fancy optional carbon seats. But rest assured that most of the 249 owners will ask Aston’s Q personalization department to make a few tweaks before delivery by the end of 2022. Q options include loud exterior graphics, textured leather trim and tinted paints that can change the look of the hand-laid carbon panels in different 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? Leave a comment below and let us know.