Aston Martin V8 Vantage S 2012 – The Aston Martin V8 Vantage S epitomizes every attribute of the V8 Vantage and pushes the driver experience. It combines dynamic exhilaration with all the charming finesse, beauty and practicality already associated with the Vantage range. The Aston Martin Vantage range comes of age with the new Aston Martin V8 Vantage S characterized by a host of new driver-focused features all designed to push the honed dynamics of the standard Vantage to a new benchmark level. See the previous 2011 Aston Martin V8 Vantage N420 for your comparison.
Aston Martin’s own 4.7 litre V8 engine has been engineered to deliver peak power of 430 bhp (436 PS / 321 kW) at 7300 rpm and torque of 490 Nm (361 lb.ft) at 5000 rpm and is coupled with a new ground-up developed Sportshift™ II transmission specifically designed for the Aston Martin V8 Vantage S with seven short ratio gears to deliver the most engaging and intense driver involvement.
Dynamic revisions are central to the Vantage S, with a quickened steering rack ratio of 15:1 compared to 17:1 on the standard car and a larger diameter front brake disc with new six-piston front brake calipers. New springs and dampers, and wider rear wheels also contribute to chassis revisions.
A new dynamic stability control (DSC) system specifically tuned to the Aston Martin V8 Vantage S along with a new brake module providing features such as Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA) which provides assistance in emergency braking situations, and Hill Start Assist (HSA). Bespoke tyres have been developed with Bridgestone to optimise road holding enhancing dynamic feel.
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage S is instantly recognizable as a true Aston Martin, characterized by its purposeful stance conveying its agility and performance capability. From the front, a new lower front bumper finished in perfectly-aligned carbon fiber houses a larger air intake feeding the engine and front brakes.
The splitter combined with the extended deck lid ‘flip’ work in harmony to provide increased down force at speed. New 19 inch ‘V’ spoke wheel styles are available as standard, while an optional 10-spoke lightweight forged wheel option, reduces unsprung mass further. A new rear bumper and side sills optically widen the car.
At the core of the Aston Martin V8 Vantage S is the new seven speed Sportshift™ II automated manual transmission, offered as standard and delivers exceedingly rapid gear changes, twenty per cent quicker than Sportshift™. The extra gear permits shorter well-spaced ratios taking advantage of the optimum torque, which combined with a shorter final drive ratio of 4.182:1 delivers quicker acceleration and an enhanced sporting feel.
The inherent benefits of a single clutch system reduces complexity and significant weight over a dual clutch solution. Sportshift™ II allows the driver to take an increased level of control, modulating the throttle pedal to achieve the desired type of gear change.
The Vantage S features a ‘Sport’ button which quickens the gear changes and gives the driver a more aggressive throttle response while also opening the exhaust bypass valves across most of the engine speed range perfectly characterising the ‘S’ variant.
Bridging the gap between road car and race car, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage S is heavily influenced by the 2011 vantage GT4 race car. The GT4 takes advantage of the Vantage’s immensely rigid bonded aluminium chassis, providing the ideal platform for a race car. Minor racing safety modifications including an FIA approved roll cage and racing ‘bag’ petrol tank along with weight saving measures are made to the standard road car to convert it into a class winning race car.
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage S’ styling largely follows form to provide a shape that caters for the additional needs of the ‘S’ performance variant. From the front, the hand-laid carbon fibre front splitter creates a ground hugging stance hinting at its agility while also providing an increased area to provide the engine and brakes with more air.
The splitter works in conjunction with the more pronounced rear deck lid ‘flip’ to create increased down force at speed. From the side, the wider profile sills which are derived from the GT4 race-car programme, contribute to reduced rear lift, and therefore improved high speed stability, by preventing the air which flows along the side of the car from spilling underneath the car.
The new 19-inch standard wheels are unique to the Aston Martin V8 Vantage S and feature a ‘V’ spoke design with a diamond turned finish providing a further clear differentiation to the standard car.
The Vantage has established itself as one of the world’s most beautiful cars; distinctively Aston Martin, elegant yet with controlled aggression and perfectly proportioned with a low purposeful stance. The Aston Martin V8 Vantage S capitalizes on the beauty of the Vantage and fuses it with the taut design cues from the V12 Vantage which hint at the car’s heightened performance potential.
The rear bumper accentuates the powerful attitude and rear proportions of the car. On the coupe, the deck lid incorporates a more pronounced ‘flip’ which contributes to high speed stability by reducing rear lift. The rear bumper features a hand-made carbon fibre diffuser aiding the flow of air exiting from the underside of the car to maintain an area of low pressure at the rear of the car which helps to reduce lift and improve high speed stability.
Complimenting the taut exterior, the tailored Vantage S’ interior hints at the car’s dynamic capabilities, defined by a distinctive three-track stitch detail on the inside of the doors and on the seats. A new folded leather design runs along the new stitched tracks echoing the gills of a shark hinting at the power and agility of the Vantage S.
Customers are able to specify an Obsidian Black full leather or Alcantara trimmed steering wheel with a contrasting (leather only) or matching stitch. Unique to the Aston Martin V8 Vantage S is the option to specify the Piano Black Interior Pack option which includes a Piano Black facia, centre console and surround door grabs and handles.
Both the Vantage S coupe and Roadster are hand built at Aston Martin’s global headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire alongside the V8 Vantage and V12 Vantage. Each Aston Martin V8 Vantage S takes in excess of 185 man-hours to build including 50 man-hours to paint and 70 man-hours to hand trim the interior. Each car undergoes meticulous attention to detail in not only the build phase but quality control and handover processes too.
The 4.7 litre V8 engine has been modified to deliver peak power of 430 bhp (436 PS / 321 kW) at 7200 rpm and torque of 490 Nm (361 lb.ft) at 5000 rpm representing an increase of 10 bhp and 20 Nm respectively and is signified with a black engine plenum. The increase has been achieved through a valved air intake system and an aggressive spark strategy.
The air intake system valve opens above 3500 rpm to allow more air to flow into the engine, which helps optimise performance at precisely the right part of the torque curve. Aggressive spark strategy uses sophisticated electronics to ignite the fuel in the engine at precisely the right time allowing it to run at its most powerful. It can also recognise higher octane fuel and extract the optimum performance from the increased rating.
The power and torque delivery on the Aston Martin V8 Vantage S is delivered at the most frequently used mid range engine speeds which creates tractable and effortless acceleration. Most demand for power and torque is in the mid-range which on the Aston Martin V8 Vantage S is where the greatest torque is delivered at 5000 rpm.
Electro-hydraulic controls are actuated via two steering column mounted magnesium paddles allowing the driver to shift up or down. Quicker than a conventional manual system, and at least 50kg lighter than a dual clutch system, Sportshift™ II offers the inherent benefits of being able to drive in automatic mode as well as shifting manually. Sportshift™ II is 24kg lighter than Sportshift™ featured on the standard Vantage.
Driver interaction with SportshiftTM II is made as simple as possible to allow the driver to concentrate on the road ahead. Two magnesium paddles allow an up or a down shift through the gears. The controls are column-mounted so that the driver can always locate them with ease no matter what position the steering wheel is in.
Sportshift™ II is an automated manual transmission featuring a new seven speed Graziano gearbox which is positioned at the back of the Aston Martin Vantage S on the transaxle contributing to 49:51 near perfect weight balance. The system benefits from a single manual clutch mated with electronic switching gear to change ratios and was designed from the ground-up exclusively for the Aston Martin V8 Vantage S.
Aston Martin specifically chose to develop the SportshiftTM system owing to its inherent sporting benefits including mass saving, low complexity of moving parts, and real tangible gear changes. This contributes, along with other weight saving parts, to a total vehicle weight reduction of 30 kg.
Sportshift™ II features seven ratios allowing the first six gears to sit closer together taking advantage of the engine’s torque characteristic; this enhances the acceleration feel and gives the driver increased control. The seventh gear is a longer ratio delivering a quieter, more refined cruising gear for motorway stretches and also delivers increased fuel economy.
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage S’ sporting character really comes into its own when the ‘Sport’ button on the facia is depressed giving the driver faster gear changes in both manual and automatic (a decrease of 60 milliseconds) and prevents the car changing up to the next gear when the revolution limit is reached. The default ‘normal’ provides a more progressive, throttle response, suited to more everyday situations, such as driving in urban areas, heavy traffic, or in challenging weather conditions. Selecting ‘Sport’ mode delivers a sharper throttle response together with a sportier exhaust note. This mode is designed for use in more dynamic driving situations where sharper responses are required, extracting the maximum performance from the car.
The S variant features a unique exhaust muffler specifically tuned to aurally define its sporting intent. A revised map opens the bypass valves earlier in the rev range at 3500 rpm and even earlier in ‘Sport’ mode producing more crackle on the overrun.
The Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system has been specifically tuned for the Aston Martin V8 Vantage S with emphasis on its sporting characteristics. A three-stage DSC system allows the driver to tailor the level of electronic intervention according to the type of driving. In default mode, the system is set to ‘on’ which will limit any tyre slip in difficult conditions, and provide the maximum amount of security possible without being intrusive.
Holding the DSC button for four seconds will engage ‘Track Mode’ which delays the electronic intervention further, creating a safe yet purer experience. Depressing the button for a further five seconds will disengage the system completely.
Aston Martin V8 Vantage S sees the first introduction of the Hill Start Assist (HSA)function on an Aston Martin. If the driver applies the brakes to bring the car to a stop on a gradient, Hill Start Assist will hold the car stationary for up to two seconds to allow a smooth pull-away when the driver transfers their foot from brake to accelerator. HSA perfectly complements automated manual transmissions.
The system features a new braking module delivering more discreet interventions and provides improved functionality for existing features such as ABS, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Traction Control (TC) and Positive Torque Control (PTC) as well as the new Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA), which provides assistance in emergency braking situations.
The Hydraulic Brake Assist function identifies when the driver requires maximum braking performance, from the speed at which the brake pedal is depressed, and automatically boosts the brake pressure up to the ABS control threshold for as long as the driver keeps the brake pedal pressed down. As a result, stopping distances can be substantially reduced.
The Aston Martin engineers worked closely with Bridgestone during the development programme to create a bespoke tyre which has been optimised for the Aston Martin V8 Vantage S. The Bridgestone Potenza RE050s are 10mm wider at the front and rear than the standard Vantage to ensure supreme levels of grip.
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