Used 2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Review
Edmunds expert review
Although it boasts an abundance of exotic styling, performance and sound, the 2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S is ultimately outmatched not only by competing sports cars from rivals but even other Aston Martins.
What's new for 2015
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.
Trim levels & features
The 2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S is available as either a two-seat coupe or soft-top convertible roadster.
Standard features include 19-inch wheels, an adaptive (three-mode) suspension, carbon-ceramic brakes, a limited-slip differential, a carbon-fiber front splitter and rear diffuser, xenon headlights, power-folding heated mirrors, rear parking sensors, keyless remote entry, cruise control, automatic climate control, a full leather-trimmed interior, power-adjustable seats (eight-way driver, four-way passenger), memory functions for both front seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a navigation system, a six-CD changer, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod audio interface.
In addition to a dizzying array of exterior and interior color schemes to make the car one's own, options include a rearview camera, an upgraded alarm and heated seats. There are also a number of dealer-added accessories, such as custom luggage, a parcel shelf, carpeted mats and both indoor and outdoor car covers.
Performance & mpg
Powering the 2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S is a 6.0-liter V12 that produces 565 hp and 457 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automated clutch manual transmission with paddle shifters is standard.
Aston Martin estimates a 0-60-mph time of 3.7 seconds. Getting the convertible adds 0.2 second to that time. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 14 mpg combined (12 city/18 highway)
Standard safety features on the V12 Vantage S include antilock disc brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control, hill start assist, rear parking sensors and side airbags that provide head and torso protection. The Roadster adds pop-up roll bars.
The V12 Vantage S is about as hard-core as an Aston Martin gets, and yet this sports car isn't the monster that you might expect. Shoehorned into a car and engine bay that were originally intended to have only eight cylinders is a massive V12 that pumps out nearly as much power as the range-topping Vanquish S. The result is eye-bulging acceleration accompanied by an intoxicating exhaust soundtrack.
Unfortunately, the seven-speed, single-clutch automated manual transmission is a relic of another, happily forgotten time. In automatic mode, shifts and responses are overly slow, especially at slower speeds, to the point where first-timers may think there's something wrong with the car. Other shifts, at times, can feel jerky or clunky. Aston Martin insists that it's intended to be used in Manual mode with the accompanying paddle shifters, but responses are still laughable compared to the more modern dual-clutch transmissions found in such cars as the Porsche 911. The traditional manual and automatic transmissions found in other Aston Martins are also superior.
Another element of the V12 Vantage S is its altered three-mode adaptive suspension, which is the firmly tuned setup in the Vantage line. This is done to improve handling, although we can't say that we like the motoring experience any more than in the V8 Vantage. The V12 model isn't as comfortable, and with less weight over its front wheels, the V8 has a lighter, more playful nature to be enjoyed and an even greater amount of communication and feedback transmitted through the truly sublime steering. In the case of the Aston Martin Vantage, less is, in fact, more.
For the most part, the 2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S interior makes occupants feel special. Wide swaths of supple leather adorn most surfaces, accented by contrasting stitching. Even starting the engine has a sense of occasion about it as you insert the heavy glass key fob (the "Emotion Control Unit" as Aston Martin calls it) into a slot atop the dash and hold it down to awaken the motor. In terms of design, it's almost identical to the cockpits found in the more expensive DB9 and Rapide.
Sadly, it also suffers from some of the same missteps as those models. The quality of its switchgear is disappointing to say the least, with the turn signal stalk and seat controls in particular being made of such flimsy plastic we'd find them objectionable in almost any car at any price. The infotainment system is also behind the times, especially the Garmin-based navigation system, but at least the separate audio controls are fairly easy to use.
In terms of space, there is sufficient leg- and headroom for even those of above-average height, though those of longer leg will be more comfortable in the DB9. The coupe's trunk can hold a decent 10.6 cubic feet of cargo, while the Roadster drops to a still serviceable 5 cubic feet. Deploying or stowing the soft-top convertible top takes about 18 seconds.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.