2023 Aston Martin V12 Vantage: A Final Thrilling Throwback

2023 Aston Martin V12 Vantage article highlights:

  • The 2023 V12 Vantage is the last ‘small’ 12-cylinder Aston Martin ever
  • It doesn’t feel quite as nimble or edgy as the regular car, but the V12 Vantage is a more refined and unique sports car experience
  • If you can’t afford or find one of the limited-edition twin-turbo cars, the last-gen version is significantly cheaper and offered a manual

Not even supercars are immune to environmental concerns, which is why most exotic brands are downsizing and hybridizing their engines. That is if they’re not removing them altogether in favor of electric power. But though their time is short, a few big-engine dinosaurs still prowl the pavement. And the 2023 Aston Martin V12 Vantage faces the incoming asteroid with a sonorous, stylish roar.

The 2023 Aston Martin V12 Vantage lets those 12 cylinders sing one last time

2023 Aston Martin V12 Vantage
Engine5.2-liter twin-turbocharged V12
Horsepower690 hp
Torque555 lb-ft
TransmissionEight-speed automatic
Curb weight3950 lbs
0-60 mph time3.4 seconds (claimed)

V12s are dying out. Admittedly, Lamborghini and Ferrari aren’t done with them, and neither is Gordon Murray Automotive. But BMW just killed its V12, and soon, Aston Martin will do the same in its sports cars. But it’s sending that formula off with a limited-edition bang, the 2023 V12 Vantage.

As befits the end of an automotive line, Aston Martin didn’t just shove its twin-turbo V12 into a regular Vantage and call it a day. The 12-cylinder car has new adaptive shocks, different bushings, stiffer front strut top mounts, fuel tank bracing, extra front and rear shear panels, and a rear strut-tower brace. Furthermore, Aston Martin stiffened the springs and front stabilizer bar but softened the rear bar and added additional helper springs. Also, the 2023 V12 Vantage has a wider track than the V8-powered model.

The extra bracing and suspension changes are partially there to counteract the extra weight of that 5.2-liter engine. That engine also puts out more heat than the V8, hence why the V12 version has extra hood and fender vents and a bigger grille. But despite this, the V12 Vantage is only slightly more nose-heavy than the regular model, MotorTrend says.

In addition to those bodywork changes, the 2023 Aston Martin V12 Vantage has a new rear diffuser, front splitter, rear wing, side skirts, and center twin exhausts. Speaking of the exhaust, it’s a stainless-steel setup that’s roughly 16 pounds lighter than the regular version. Plus, the V12 car gets standard carbon-ceramic brakes as well as a carbon-fiber hood, bumpers, rear decklid, and front fenders. And if you want to remove even more weight, Aston Martin offers optional lighter-weight alloy wheels and carbon bucket seats.

The 2023 Aston Martin V12 Vantage isn’t a track car…

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Even with all those weight-saving measures, the 2023 Aston Martin V12 Vantage is still 476 pounds heavier than the Vantage F1 Edition. However, the 12-cylinder car has noticeably less unsprung weight. And even with the weight disadvantage, the V12 Vantage has a better power-to-weight ratio. So, coupled with the suspension and chassis upgrades, you’d likely expect it to be a sharper sports car.

Well, the reality is more nuanced. For one, the V12 Vantage has a mechanical limited-slip differential rather than an electronically-controlled one. As a result, the “lesser” Vantage delivers “an entertaining sense of impending oversteer” before grip runs out, but the 12-cylinder car doesn’t, Car and Driver says. Secondly, its eight-speed automatic isn’t as fast as the latest dual-clutch transmissions, even in its sportiest setting. Also, the various chassis, body, and suspension changes can’t disguise the fact that the 2023 V12 Vantage is heavier than the V8-powered car.

But arguably the biggest problem is the relative lack of 12-cylinder sound and fury. The regular Aston Martin Vantage has an edgy growl that the V12-powered car can’t match. For a V12 send-off, that sounds (pardon the pun) like a misstep.

…but it is “a gran turismo on steroids,” MotorTrend says

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However, although the big wing might say otherwise, you shouldn’t treat the 2023 Aston Martin V12 Vantage as a track weapon. And once you start chasing experiences rather than lap times, it all starts to shine.

It might be heavier, but the V12 Vantage communicates effortlessly with you through its chassis, MT says. Its steering is also sharper and more precise, despite the extra front-axle weight. Add in grippy Pilot Sport 4S tires and you have a 690-hp, RWD supercar that won’t bite you even if you turn off the traction and stability control. Yet even in their stiffest settings, the adaptive shocks never beat you up, Car and Driver notes.

Also, that engine. No, it’s not as raucous as the V8, but the twin-turbo V12’s languid burble that rises to a velvety shriek has its own appeal. And not only is the V12 torquier, but it makes more torque lower in the rev range. Plus, this rev-happy engine has broader power and torque curves, so the V12 Vantage feels faster than its 0-60 time suggests, MT reports. It might not have the V12 Speedster’s open-top rawness, but it has the same explosive acceleration.

The Speedster is also an interesting parallel to the 12-cylinder Vantage. Although they’re very different cars, the Speedster is about sensations rather than outright speed. It’s the same story with the V12 Vantage. Yes, the V8 version is almost as fast and arguably a better track car. But MT says the V12 version “is destined to be a classic Aston Martin” because it feels more special.

You can’t buy a 2023 Aston Martin V12 Vantage, but you might find an old manual one

A light-blue 2014 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S with an orange grille at the 2014 Geneva International Motor Show
2014 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S | Gerlach Delissen/Corbis via Getty Images

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The 2023 Aston Martin V12 Vantage will also likely become a classic because of its rarity. Aston Martin is only making 333 examples. And even though prices start at roughly $300K, every single one is already sold.

But there are other V12 Vantages out there, just not brand-new ones. Aston also made a V12-powered version of the last-gen car, as well as a more powerful S version. Only instead of a 5.2-liter twin-turbo V12, this one has a 6.0-liter naturally-aspirated V12 with up to 565 hp. And while Aston offered a seven-speed single-clutch automated manual, it was also available with a stick. A dogleg seven-speed stick in the V12 Vantage S, no less.

Because a manual, V12-powered, RWD sports car is special, these cars cost more than the average used V8 Vantage. Although you can find automatic examples for around $100K, the stick-shift ones are more like $150K.

Regardless, the 2023 V12 Vantage is the small 12-cylinder Aston Martin’s swan song. But you can’t say that this dinosaur isn’t going down swinging.

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