One might think of the 2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S as the dashing Pierce Brosnan version of James Bond mixed with the raw power and athleticism of Jason Statham's character in The Transporter series. This V12 version of Aston's smallest and lightest sports car, the V8 Vantage, bristles with no less than 565 horsepower. Indeed, with the factory claiming a 0-60-mph time of just 3.7 seconds, a top end of 205 mph and highly communicative handling, this jock in a tuxedo is a legitimate supercar.
As eye-catching and thrilling as this Aston Martin is, though, there are significant faults. Inside, among the beautifully stitched and sumptuous leather are cheap, plasticky switches, knobs and stalks that would feel out of place in a $30,000 car, let alone one that costs more than six times that. Also, the audio and navigation systems are similarly subpar for a luxury car of any ilk. Lastly, the automated clutch transmission's clunky and slow shifts greatly diminish the car's sporting credentials.
Frankly, that transmission could amount to a deal-breaker, as the V12 Vantage S isn't especially superior to or more desirable than its brand mates. In fact, we've found the less powerful V8 Vantage to be a more engaging car when equipped with the traditional manual transmission. It's still plenty fast, still plenty loud and handles better with less weight over its nose. Oh, and in case you care, its as-new MSRP is about $80,000 less.
And then there are the great many worthy alternatives in this seductive segment. The Aston's countryman and rival, the 2015 Jaguar F-Type R, offers similarly sexy styling and performance along with outright bargain status with a price tag about half of the Aston's. The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 provides even more outrageous performance, yet costs even less than the Jag. The ever-evolving and exceptional 2015 Porsche 911 is also a strong choice, as is the 2015 Audi R8. So, while we doubt that you would regret the purchase of a 2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S, your money could be more wisely spent elsewhere.