Aston Martin appears to have taken the advice of its most famous fictional brand ambassador, Britain's top secret agent James Bond, and decided never to say never again. Although we were told when the V12 Vantage coupe was launched that there were no plans to build a roadster version, this is very much a drop-top variant of the same car, one that has seen the light of day at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in California.
Anyone who has bought a V12 Vantage for the guaranteed exclusivity due to its 333-unit production run will probably not be satisfied with the arrival of the convertible. But the rest of us should be able to forgive Aston Martin for coming up with something so cool. The V8-powered Vantage Convertible is already an exceptionally handsome beast, and the V12 has added muscle to the design without losing any of the grace of the base car.
As with the coupe, installing the sizable 12-cylinder engine has been a challenge. Aston insiders say it has been necessary to combine much of the DBS's underbody structure with the Vantage's bodywork. The V12 Roadster's body has been widened and incorporates fender vents behind the front wheel arches, plus a modified bonnet needed to make room for the engine. The bonnet, wheel arches, and skirt extensions are made of carbon fiber.
Mechanically, the roadster is virtually identical to the coupe. It uses a 700bhp version of Aston's twin-turbocharged 5.2-liter V12 engine, the same block that powers the DB11 and DBS. This figure is accompanied by 753 Nm of maximum torque, sent to the rear axle through an eight-speed automatic gearbox and a mechanical limited-slip differential. A dual exhaust sits below the rear diffuser and is made of stainless steel, making it 15 pounds lighter than that used on the Vantage V8 convertible.
According to Aston's claims, the V12 roadster will be one of the fastest front-engine convertibles in the world, capable of reaching 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 322 km/h. Those numbers are a bit better than what the company claimed for the much more expensive windshield-less V12 Speedster that sat on the Vantage's chassis and used the same engine.
Although it doesn't strike us as a natural track car, carbon-ceramic brakes will be standard on the V12, and it will also be offered with the coupe's rear wing option. While official images suggest the roadster looks better without this item, choosing it will also allow the car to produce a claimed 215kg peak downforce.
Production of the V12 Roadster will be limited to just 249 examples, making it even more exclusive than the coupe, with deliveries beginning before the end of this year. There is no official word on the price, although the British firm says that they have already been completely sold. It's expected to be around €300,000, a huge amount to pay for the smallest Aston Martin, even in ultra-exclusive form, but we're promised this is really the last time the V12 will be paired with the Vantage bodywork.