When you think British sports cars, there’s a good chance that the first thing you’ll picture is an Aston Martin. Now, part of that may be because it’s James Bond’s car of choice, appearing in many of the British super spy’s most memorable movies. But Aston is more than some pretty star car. For over 100 years, the brand has consistently built some of the finest grand tourers in the world, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon.
It wasn’t always this way, because as high-profile as it is, there have been some dangerously lean times for the automaker. After World War II, it was infamously sold via a classified ad in the paper. Then after its high-flying success in endurance racing in the ’50s, and its big break in 1964’s Goldfinger, The company fell on hard times in the 1980s as it struggled to keep up with the rapidly changing industry. Ford ownership in the 1990s brought the brand back to the forefront of the performance car world, a trend that continues to this day. The small company is proudly independent again, though a development deal with Mercedes-AMG means that it doesn’t have to waste precious resources on developing things like infotainment systems and switchgear. Instead, it can focus on important things, like building fast and beautiful cars.
More than any automaker out there — yes, this includes Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Porsche — Aston arguably incorporates historic styling hallmarks into its current cars better than anyone in the world. An Aston owner from the 1950s would likely be able to pick a modern Aston out of a lineup, thanks to its trademark hexagonal grille, fastback profile, and winged hood badge. To see just how it’s evolved over the years, read on to see the 15 fastest Aston Martin cars to ever hit the road.
15. 2003 DB7 Zagato
One of Aston Martin’s more exclusive models, the DB7 Zagato was unleashed in 2003 with a strict limit of 99 models, none of which were ever sold in North America. While the car itself isn’t mechanically much different from the long-serving (1994-2004) DB7, the striking bodywork came courtesy of Italian coachbuilder Zagato, a company Aston has a seven-decade long relationship with. It was powered by a hand-built, 5.9 liter V12, spat out 435 horsepower, and had a top speed of 190 miles per hour. Zero to 60 came in a quick 4.9 seconds.
14. 2015 V8 Vantage S
The V8 Vantage really doesn’t look all that different from when it was introduced as a 2005 model, and if it didn’t look as good as it does, we might have a problem with that. As it is, the V8 Vantage S is able to hit a top speed of 190 miles per hour, thanks to a number of mechanical and aerodynamic improvements over the base V8 model. Available as a coupe and hardtop, the 4.7 liter engine cranks out 430 horsepower, and takes the car from a standstill to 60 in 4.8 seconds.
13. 2013 Vantage N430
Speaking of the Vantage and the fact that it’s, well, old, the N430 still ranks as one of the fastest Astons ever, despite being five years old now. Built to commemorate Aston’s 100th anniversary, the car combined visual and mechanical elements from the company’s endurance racing cars, and was considerably lighter than a stock Vantage. Known for their in-your-face paint schemes and five distinct versions, the N430 was also powered by the same 430 horse 4.7 liter V8 found in base cars. But with more aggressive aerodynamics and lighter curb weight, zero to 60 came in 4.8 seconds.
12. 1993 V8 Vantage
Regardless of boom or bust, Aston has continued to improve and innovate as its budged allows. Case in point is the 1993 V8 Vantage: A replacement for the 1977-’89 first-generation model, this second-gen car shared a number of parts with its predecessor, as well as lights and trim pieces from the Ford, Volkswagen, Jaguar, and Audi parts bins. As cobbled together as it may have been, its hand-built, 5.4 liter supercharged V8 put out a then-astonishing 550 horsepower. Zero to 60 came in a 4.6 seconds, making it still quick nearly 25 years after it debuted.
11. 2014 DB9
The DB9 was a great leap forward for Aston. Introduced in 2003 and carrying on until 2016, Aston called it “the world’s most timeless GT,” and we can’t come up with a good reason why it wouldn’t be. Built on the same architecture as the V8 Vantage, the DB9 was powered by a 6.0 liter V12 that cranked out 510 horsepower and rocketed the car from zero to 60 in 4.6 seconds.
10. 2012 Virage
The Virage was a blink-and you’ll-miss-it kind of car because it was only offered in 2011-’12. Also, because it was really fast. Slotting in between the DB9 and DBS, the Virage had a A 6.0-liter V12 that cranked out 490 horsepower and took the grand tourer from zero to 60 in 4.6 seconds. Unfortunately, Aston decided that there wasn’t enough difference between the two models to split the difference, and production ended after just over 1,000 Virages were built.
9. DB9 GT
DB9 production is winding down as Aston begins its DB11 rollout. But in its final iteration, the DB9 GT, it packs a serious punch. The 6.0 liter V12 remains, but here it cranks out a whopping 540 horsepower. Top speed is 183 miles per hour, and zero to 60 comes in 4.4. seconds. Even on its way out the door, it doesn’t look like the DB9 wants to give up that “World’s most timeless GT” title yet.
8. 2012 DBS
From 2007 to 2012, the DBS was Aston Martin’s range-topper, meaning that it wasn’t just beautiful, it was also incredibly fast. Powered by the 5.9-liter V12 found across the Aston range, the DBS cranked out 510 horsepower, which was good enough for a 190 mile per hour top speed and a zero to 60 time of 4.3 seconds. It was also good enough for James Bond in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.
7. Rapide S
When it was introduced in 2010, the Rapide was a dream come true for some: A true Aston Martin with seating for four adults. While a similar idea as the Porsche Panamera, the Rapide is rarer, sportier, and better looking. The current car will be replaced for 2018 with a new electric sedan. It remains to be seen whether or not the Rapide name will survive the jump to electric power. So in it’s final (for now) form, the Rapide S uses a 6.0 liter V12 to scramble from zero to 60 in just 4.2 seconds. Top speed for you and three guests is 203 miles per hour.
6. 2011 V12 Zagato
Unveiled to mark the 50th anniversary of the DB4 GT Zagato, one of the most iconic sports cars of the early 1960s, Aston and Zagato teamed up again to build a new English-Italian dream machine. Based on the V12 Vantage, with its 510 horse 5.9 liter V12, the V12 Zagato can reach a top speed of 190 miles per hour, and rocket to 60 miles per hour in 4.2 seconds. An extremely limited run of 150 models were built and released in 2011, making this one of the rarest Aston Martin models out there.
For those of us who were jealous of James Bond’s one-off DB10 in Spectre, the DB11 is more than enough to make us happy. An all-new replacement for the venerable DB9, the grand tourer has a twin-turbo 5.2 liter V12 which puts out 600 horsepower and 512 pound-feet of torque. Zero to 60 comes in just 3.9 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 200 miles per hour.
4. V12 Vantage S
As great as the V8 Vantage still is… it’s offered with four extra cylinders, and who doesn’t love more? With a 5.9 liter V12 under that long hood, the Vantage S is Aston Martin’s attempt at the classic muscle car formula: Cram the largest engine available into the lightest car and see what happens. The result? 565 horses going to the rear wheels, a zero to 60 sprint of just 3.7 seconds, and a top speed of 205 miles per hour.
In 2013, Aston Martin turned 100. And to celebrate, it ditched the DBS in favor of the Vanquish. Living up to its ferocious name, Aston’s flagship packs a 6.0 liter V12 that cranks out 568 horsepower and takes it to a top speed of 201 miles per hour. Ensconced in the opulent interior, put the pedal to the floor and go from zero to 60 in just 3.6 seconds.
2. 2011 One-77
Aston has long been known for building some of the best grand tourers in the world. But in 2010, Aston jumped into the supercar segment with the outrageously styled One-77. With a massive 7.3 liter V12 cranking out 750 horsepower, the ultra-limited (77 units) car could run from zero to 60 in just 3.5 second on its way to a 220 mile per hour top end. Six years ago, a One-77 would set you back over $1.1 million. Today, it would probably cost more.
It may not be street-legal (that will fall to the upcoming and equally bonkers Valkyrie), but the Vulcan represents Aston’s entry into the hypercar market, and for that, we couldn’t resist giving it the top slot. With an 800 horsepower 7.0 liter V12 mounted under the hood, this $2.3 million track-day special is limited to just 24 examples, and all of them have long since sold out. Aimed at the McLaren P1 GTR and Ferrari FXX K crowd, top speed is well over 200 miles per hour, and zero to 60 comes in under three seconds.