Posts Tagged ‘V12’


It took three years but the V12 Vantage Coupe has a new sibling as Aston Martin presented the convertible version of its the V12 powered car that joins the Vantage and Vantage S V8 models.
Under the hood of the new Vantage Roadster we find the same naturally aspirated 5.9-litre V12 engine as the coupe that generates 510hp at 6,500 rpm and 420 lb-ft of torque at 5,750 rpm.  The engine is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox that directs power to the rear wheels.  Aston Martin claims the V12 Vantage Roadster hits 100km/h (62mph) in 4.5 seconds, which makes it 0.3 seconds slower than the coupe. It’s top speed is the same at 305km/h (190mph). And like its fixed roof sibling, the V12 roadster model features a “Sport” mode button that offers a sharper throttle response and a throatier sound from the engine.

The V12 Vantage Roadster features a redesigned rear boot lid and lower front air intake to maintain a level of dynamic performance that’s in line with the V12 Coupe, while there are also a number of unique chassis revisions. These include a modified rear damper set-up, front and rear damper valve tuning and a new rear spring design.  These changes, in conjunction with Aston Martin’s use of Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres, ensure the sports car delivers dramatic straight-line performance as well as outstanding handling.

The new Roadster boasts a number of eye-catching additions : carbon fibre side strakes, a carbon fibre front splitter and rear diffuser, carbon fibre mirror caps and carbon fibre rear lamp infills as well as the new forged alloy wheel design. At the rear, the boot lid on the V12 Vantage Roadster incorporates a more pronounced ‘flip’ to reduce rear lift and improve stability at high speeds. The V12’s diffuser houses a large, centre-mounted oil cooler and two large tail-pipe finishers. The carbon fibre rear diffuser is hand-made to ensure the direction and consistency of the weave and ensure the best possible finish.

Inside, there are other distinguishing features that make the new car stand out from its siblings in the Vantage line-up such as the use of glass switches in the lower centre stack. For those seeking the ultimate in V12 Vantage Roadster personalisation, a package of interior trim comprising carbon fibre facia and carbon fibre gearshift surround is available.

 Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer Dr Ulrich Bez said: “The V12 Vantage models are, first and foremost, driver’s cars – inviting and fully rewarding the driver’s full involvement. The addition to our range of this exceptionalnew Roadster allows the driver and passenger to experience full ‘sensory overload’ thanks to its outstanding performance.” He added: “I believe no other car in this class offers the combination of the V12 Vantage Roadster’s prestige, six-speed manual gearbox and the unique enjoyment that driving a high performance convertible can deliver.”


Aston Martin has unveiled the successor to the beautiful DBS and resurrected the Vanquish nameplate to grace it’s survey rear end. The new Vanquish is an evolution and while the name may have changed, the rest of the car is closely related to the DBS. Aston Martin has made a few important changes to the Vanquish with a stiffer, fourth generation VH bonded aluminium monocoque chassis. According to the company the updated platform’s torsional rigidity is improved by more than 25 percent over the DBS’s, while its also lighter as a result of the use of carbon fiber in the rear structure and hollow-cast aluminum instead of solid cast aluminum at the front end.  Aston says that the front chassis structure is a full 13 percent lighter than that of the DBS.

Furthermore, most of the new Vanquish’s body panels are constructed from carbon fiber. At 4,720mm long (185.8”), 2067mm wide and 1,294mm tall, the Vanquish has the same length (and 2,740mm wheelbase) as the DBS, but is 5mm wider and 14mm taller than the car it replaces. The new construction has the Vanquish at around 55 kg or 120 pounds lighter than the DBS, weighing in at 1,739kg or 3,834 pounds. Aston Martin also states that the car has a 50/50 weight distribution.

The Vanquish is fitted with a revised version of the DBS’ mill, a naturally aspirated 6.0-litre V12 gasoline engine mated to a Touchtronic 2 six-speed automatic gearbox. The new car offers upgraded performance figures with a power peak of 565 bhp, making it Aston Martin’s most potent production model yet, outmuscled only by the strictly limited edition £1.2m One-77 supercar.

The raw statistics speak for themselves: 565 hp at 6,750 rpm, 457 pound feet of torque at 5,500 rpm, 0-100 kph in 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 183 mph are impressive.  However, many cars provide similar or better numbers at a much lower price these days so it leaves us wondering when Aston Martin will invest some R&D dollars into real next generation architectures and engines? The car’s braking system features third generation Brembo Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) brakes. The front brakes use 398 mm x 36 mm CCM discs with larger front brake pads and six-piston brake callipers from the One-77, while the rear brakes use 360 mm x 32 mm CCM brake discs with a four-piston calliper.

The Vanquish gets the latest iteration of Aston Martin’s Adaptive Damping System (ADS) that allows the driver to switch between three distinct damping modes: Normal, Sport and Track, which instantly adjust the car’s ride and handling characteristics. It also boasts a plethora of dynamic aids including Dynamic Stability Control and Positive Torque Control.

The exterior design of the Vanquish is an evolution of the DBS which itself is an evolution of a previous design and it clearly has some inspiration from the One-77 super car. The Vanquish also keeps the same basic interior design and layout as the DBS, but with a more futuristic look. For example, the controls are all-new and include touch-sensitive pads on the center console.

The Vanquish will be offered with either 2+0 or 2+2 seating configurations. According to Aston Martin, the new car has more space both for passengers and their belongings in the cabin. Legroom is up 37 mm, shoulder room grows 25 mm, elbow room extends by 87 mm while knee room is boosted by 50 mm. And all this, as the dash surface is moved forward 20 mm, too. Trunk space has been significantly improved as 368 litres, it’s more than 60 percent larger than that of the DBS.

The new Vanquish will reach European dealerships in late 2012 with UK prices starting from £189,995, while first deliveries in the U.S. will begin in early 2013 with prices to start from US$279,995 MSRP.



This past weekend at the Vancouver International Auto Show, Ferrari presented the new Ferrari FF, which is a four-wheel drive GT, wrapped in a controversial design. The FF made its European debut in Geneva earlier this month after the huge build-up of expectation and interest created by the client premiere at Maranello that was broadcast on the internet. Judging the response of show goers here in Vancouver, they too were eagerly anticipating the opportunity to view the new Ferrari.


The FF offers a unique take on the sporting Grand Tourer theme. It is the first Ferrari with four-wheel drive and the first Ferrari to meld extreme sporting performance wrapped in a useable, versatile GT that hails a major break from previous Ferrari’s.
The FF brims with innovation, first with its engine, the first GDI V12 to be coupled with the seven-speed F1 dual-clutch gearbox. The V12 unleashes a massive 651hp at 8,000 rpm, and maximum torque of 504lb-ft at 6000rpm. The performance figures are what we would expect from an extreme sports car, with the 0-100 km/h sprint covered in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 335 km/h. Efficiency has been significantly boosted too, with fuel consumption now standing at just 15.4 litres per 100 km, and CO2 emissions at 360 g/km, a 25 per cent reduction compared to the previous V12s, thanks in part to the HELE (High Emotions- Low Emissions) System which incorporates Stop & Start technology.

The four-wheel drive system is unique. The patented 4RM four-wheel drive system delivers torque to the rear wheels but a PTU, more commonly called a transfer case, is mounted ahead of the front axle and distributes up to 20% of the engine’s power to the front wheels when required. The CPU intelligently distributes torque to each of the four wheels individually as well as control over the dynamic vehicle controls, E-Diff, F1-Trac, and PTU. We asked some of the people attending the show about the drive system and one individual mentioned that the thought of a Ferrari with four-wheel drive broke with tradition. I feel very similar. If I want an all-wheel drive sports car, there are many to choose from, but if I want a Ferrari, I would want it to be rear wheel drive, a pure GT.

That said, sporty driving is guaranteed by the FF’s drivetrain which places the V12 mid-front engine with the gearbox over the rear axle. This positions 53% of the weight to the rear of the car allowing for great weight balance. Extreme measures have been taken to lighten the car, with a new engine casting, bodyshell, and the use of new aluminum alloys. The weight saving continues inside through the use of high-tech materials such as magnesium for the seats. The third generation Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes are now lighter and due to the weight reductions, wear will be reduced. This all adds up to support the numbers and should deliver a spectacular driving experience.

The styling of the car is in my opinion, very controversial. Pininfarina is responsible for the styling including the unique shooting brake styled cabin and rear panels. The beautiful flowing lines we are accustomed to on Pininfarina models seem to have been overlooked on this car. It’s as if they decided to let someone else style the car. It is underwhelming and for the life of me, I cannot like what I see. I am not alone, 80% of the people we polled at the show were in agreement. The overall opinion is that the car fails to impress visually, and when we come to supercars, that is one of thier most important assets.

There is however, utility in this design as the cabin can comfortably accommodate four in its bodyhugging seats and spacious cabin. Its boot is similar to the size and shape of say, a Ford Focus and with the rear seats folded down, you can easily fit a golf bag or skies. This means that the FF offers more luggage space not only than any other car in its category, but also many four-door sedans, too. You can then check the box for day-to-day utility, which may be a new market niche not yet explored by Ferrari’s competitors.

After all of the analyzing, and scrutiny, the Ferrari FF is still a Ferrari and I am sure the car delivers an experience like no other. The utility and versatility built into this car is something of an anomaly in the supercar ranks but may very well be the next frontier. That said, I can’t help but feel empty looking at the car. It looks ordinary, odd, something I could pass by in a parking lot and nearly miss it. For supercar fans that is a major disappointment. Supercars are supposed to excite, supposed to drive our passion for cars, and ultimately drive the hope that one day when we win the lottery, we can go and buy that forbidden fruit, a car that we mere mortals will never be able to afford. For me then, when I get to the promised land and have the means to purchase my dream-car, it will have to be another Ferrari, one with rear wheel drive and a beautiful Italian body.

RonK:  I wanted to add my two bits here too.  I have to say that I have never been a fan of the shooting brake style rear ends.  Didn’t work for me on the MGB GT.  I didn’t like the BMW Z3 M Coupe.  I don’t like this Ferrari.  The front end is pretty but not as beautiful and exciting as it’s Ferrari stablemates.  And I just can’t get past that rear end.  It makes a Porsche Panamera look sleek and beautiful.  And for a list price of about USD $359,000 (although this Canadian model was priced at $425,000!) I would far rather spend my money on a 458 and an Audi RS6 for the times I need room for 4 passengers and luggage.  At the price of the FF there are so many super cars that look stunning and feel special why would someone really want one of these?


Ferrari today unleashed the latest in a long proud line of front engined V12 GT cars with the introduction of the F12 Berlinetta, the successor to the 599 GTB Fiorano. The F12 Berlinetta, according to Ferrari, is the fastest and most powerful regular production Ferrari in history, with 6.3-liter naturally-aspirated V12 engine that produces 730HP ( an impressive 116HP per litter). It also delivers a peak torque of 508.9 lb-ft, 80 percent of which is available at just 2,500 rpm, while with a redline at a lofty 8,700 rpm. The 12-cylinder unit is coupled to an F1 style dual-clutch transmission with close gear ratios that drives the rear wheels.

Ferrari says that the F12 Berlinetta accelerates from 0-100 km/h (62mph) in 3.1 seconds and from zero to 200 km/h (124mph) in 8.5 seconds en route to a top speed in excess of 340km/h (211mph+) adding that it also completes a lap of the Fiorano circuit in 1.23″, faster than any other Ferrari road car. Fuel consumption is said to be reduced by 30 percent compared to the 599′s 16.7lt/100km and a significant cut in CO2 emissions, from 415g/km to 350g/km despite having 118 more horses under the long low hood.

Measuring in at 4,618mm long, 1,942mm wide and 1,273mm tall, the new top Ferrari is 47mm shorter, 19mm narrower and 63mm lower than the model it replaces, while the Maranello based company said it rides on a shorter wheelbase (although the exact figure hasn’t been released). The company said it has repackaged the rear suspension and gearbox to make the rear volume of the car smaller. Ferrari’s partner Scaglietti, assisted the company in designing the an all-new spaceframe chassis and bodyshell using 12 different kinds of alloys, which helps keep the car’s weight down to 1525kg (3,362 pounds). That’s 70kg (154 pounds) less than the 599 despite a 20 per cent increase in structural rigidity. The weight distribution is 46:54 (front:rear).

The F12 will be offered with the latest generations of carbon-ceramic brakes and magnetorheological suspension control system as well as the usual array of electronic wizardry (E-Diff, ESP Premium, F1-Trac, and a high-performance ABS). The design of the latest Italian beauty is the result of a collaboration between the Ferrari Styling Centre and Pininfarina. The company claims that downforce has been improved by 76 percent (123 kg at 200 km/h or 124mph) while drag has been reduced to Cd 0.299, thanks in part to the active aero parts such as the Aero Bridge that uses the hood to generate downforce at the front by channeling air away and the Active Brake Cooling ducts. As for the interior, Ferrari says it has optimized the cabin to ensure maximum usability of the interior space with additional luggage capacity behind the seats. The new front-engined supercar from Ferrari will receive its world premiere at next week’s Geneva International Motor Show.



Aston Martin has revealed the first images of the new V12 Zagato (road car) scheduled for production later this year.  Aston has a history of having Zagato design coachwork for its cars adding a bit of Italian flair and styling to its old world elegance.  The V12 Zagato, the latest addition to the Vantage range, is also the latest expression of a successful creative collaboration that has given rise to a series of striking GT cars over the last half-century, beginning with the iconic DB4GT Zagato in 1960 and continuing in the late 1980s with the V8 Zagato in both coupe and convertible form. Zagato joined Aston again in 2002 with the DB7 Vantage Zagato and in 2003 with the DB AR1 Roadster.  The new V12 Zagato is a celebration of the the 50th anniversary of the collaboration.

For Aston Martin’s CEO, Dr Ulrich Bez, the V12 Zagato is “a celebration of both Aston Martin’s heritage and its future”. He continues: “Our relationship with Zagato stretches back more than 50 years. Together in that time we have created a series of very special cars. The first – the DB4GT Zagato – is a true icon: fast, beautiful and incredibly desirable. In the V12 Zagato I believe we have captured the spirit of that car and combined it with a confident twist of modernity to give it a character all of its own.”

Initial design concepts for the V12 Zagato were explored in early 2010. Inspired by Zagato’s bold and individual styling signatures Aston Martin’s Director of Design, Marek Reichman, and his Gaydon-based design team accepted the challenge of shaping the V12 Zagato, creating a car that pushes the boundaries of Aston Martin’s design language, yet pays tribute to the DB4GT Zagato. Demonstrating Aston Martin’s ability to rapidly bring ideas to fruition the Zagato programme quickly gained momentum, the design team working hand-in-hand with engineers and artisans to complete the build of a pair of concept cars in the spring of 2011.

May 2011 saw the V12 Zagato make its world debut at the prestigious Villa d’Este concours. Entered in the Concept Cars and Prototypes class, the V12 Zagato wowed the judges and the crowd, taking first place against impressive opposition. In June the Villa d’Este winner – along with the second prototype car – made the V12 Zagato’s world racing debut at the gruelling 24 hour endurance race held at the Nürburgring. Both cars completed the ultimate durability test, continuing Aston Martin’s 100 per cent finishing record in this notoriously tough race.

After an overwhelmingly positive response from customers, the decision was made in July 2011 to build a strictly limited run of V12 Zagatos. Since then, Aston Martin’s design team have worked to refine the sports car’s detailing and aerodynamic performance while staying faithful to the original design concept. At the same time engineers based at Gaydon have been putting prototypes through the company’s rigorous development programme to ensure the V12 Zagato performs as well as it looks. Production of the V12 Zagato will be limited to 150 examples.

Creating each V12 Zagato is a painstaking process that takes approximately 2,000 man-hours to complete. Just like the One-77, the V12 Zagato is constructed from a combination of hand crafted aluminium and carbon fiber. The bonnet, signature ‘double-bubble’ roof and doors are hand-crafted aluminium, while the front and rear fenders, door sills and boot lid surround are made from carbon fiber.

Four unique colours have been created for the V12 Zagato: Scintilla Silver, Alloro Green, Alba Blue and Diavolo Red. The painting process alone takes some 100 hours to complete and is followed by the marriage of the body and the drivetrain within the sports car production area. From there the V12 Zagato is transferred to the standalone facility originally built to house One-77 production, where the build is completed. It is there that the fitment and installation of an array of bespoke components is completed, including the side glass and the distinctive rear window, which features a curved surface that continues the sculptural lines of the ‘double-bubble’ roof. All the exterior brightwork around the windows has a contemporary black finish to compliment the exposed carbon fibre components. Fitment of the hand-crafted interior and upholstery is also completed in this dedicated build area.

The V12 Zagato is a bewitching combination of powerful lines and muscular proportions which, when viewed in more detail reveals sophisticated sculpted surfaces and jewel-like details. The exposed elements of carbon fiber on the front splitter, A-pillars, rear lamp pods, diffuser, door mirror housings and rear wing all display the same perfectly symmetrical weave and smooth finish. The bold new grille is formed in a unique three-dimensional composite material mesh that echoes Zagato’s famous ‘Z’ moniker.

The interior features seven Bridge of Weir hides in a semi-aniline finish to offer durability while preserving the natural texture of the leather. A unique hand-stitched quilting design creates a flowing pattern that evokes a dynamic sense of movement across the seats and headliner, while ‘Z’ embroidery in the headrests and rear parcel shelf add a bother distinctive touch. Satin-finish carbon fiber on the dashboard and centre stack is complimented by piano black accents and satin black rotary switchgear. Carbon fiber sill plaques with ’V12 Zagato’ inlaid metal script provide a finishing touch.

A work of art built by skilled craftsmen, the V12 Zagato is a fitting tribute to its illustrious ancestors. On-sale now priced at USD $525,000, the production specification V12 Zagato will be showcased at the Geneva Salon International in March 2012. First deliveries are scheduled for Autumn 2012.