The classic recipe for an old-school muscle car is to take a budget-friendly, rear-wheel-drive family car and shove a rip-snorting engine with no less than eight cylinders underhood. When your starting point is a high-end sports car like the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, things get interesting. The Vantage is an exotic coupe with killer good looks that will satisfy anybody looking to unleash their inner Bond, but, and let's keep this between us, Moneypenny: It isn't very quick. Its specs sheet is nearly identical to that of a Ford Mustang GT (which retails for a quarter of the price), and the two will go neck and neck in a drag race. To solve the deficiency of breakneck speed, Aston has taken its uplevel V12 and stuffed it into the engine bay to create the 2017 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S.
Aside from the bigger engine the V12 Vantage S is very similar to its baby brother. There's also an increased use of exotic carbon fiber, an available seven-speed manual transmission and a Sport Plus package that boosts power output. But it retains some of the Vantage's inherent flaws, namely some ergonomic goofiness and behind-the-times technology that doesn't quite meet segment standards. Overall, we think an American take on a British sports car is a neat idea, but there are others in this price range that are more exciting to own and drive than the 2017 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S is what happens when a manufacturer takes a gorgeous but underpowered sports car and shoves a tire-smoking, fuel-gulping V12 under the hood. It's the stuff of dreams for car enthusiasts, Pirelli accountants and ExxonMobil executives. Available in a single trim configuration, the V12 Vantage S boasts a wonderfully detailed cabin, heart-pounding performance and a customization program that allows you to tailor it to your exact specification. The options list is mostly limited to cosmetic enhancements, but some functional upgrades are available.
At the heart of the V12 Vantage S is a 5.9-liter V12 (563 horsepower, 457 pound-feet of torque). This rear-wheel-drive coupe or convertible is available with a seven-speed manual or a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. Standard features include 19-inch wheels, a driver-selectable three-mode adaptive suspension, carbon-ceramic brakes, a limited-slip differential, a carbon-fiber front splitter and rear diffuser, xenon headlights, LED taillights, power-folding heated mirrors, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera and keyless entry. Inside you'll find a full leather-trimmed interior, cruise control, automatic climate control, power-adjustable heated front seats, memory functions for both front seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel wrapped in simulated suede, column-mounted shift paddles, Bluetooth, a navigation system, satellite radio, a USB port and Apple CarPlay functionality.
A large proportion of the Vantage's customization options are appearance-related. In addition to a wide array of exterior colors to choose from (affecting everything from the body to the grille surround), you can also select carbon-fiber mirror caps and side vent strakes for a custom look. Buyers can also specify the colors for interior leather upholstery, stitching and carpeting. Further options are available through the "Q by Aston Martin" bespoke program.
Extras include the Sport Plus package, which increases engine output to 568 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque and adds unique gray wheels and simulated suede accents in the cabin. A few stand-alone options are available, including front parking sensors, a raised or low-profile center armrest, carbon-fiber paddle shifters, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an upgraded audio system. 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.
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.