Aston Martin looks to raise the roof at Pebble Beach

AFP
First Published: 11:04 IST(5/8/2014)
Last Updated: 11:16 IST(5/8/2014)
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The V12 Vantage S Roadster is the fastest convertible in Aston Martin's history and it will be making its global debut in Monterey, California as part of the Pebble Beach Automotive Week, which gets underway on August 14.

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The platform it's built on and the engine block powering it may be starting to show their age, but the new V12 Vantage S Roadster proves that it is possible to teach an automotive old dog new tricks.

Thanks to Aston Martin's engineering knowhow and a new Bosch engine management system, the diminutive drop top is the fastest roadster in the company's 101-year history.

The 565bhp naturally aspirated 6-liter engine is capable of catapulting the car from a standstill to 100kph (62mph) in just 3.9 seconds and on to a pretty impressive top speed of 201mph (323kph).

That makes it just 0.5 seconds slower off the mark than the Ferrari 458 Italia Spider but with a marginally (2mph/3kph) higher top speed.

And to ensure that all of that power and performance leaves owners stirred, rather than shaken, the car has a new adaptive damper set up to keep it firmly planted but not so much that a weekend drive ends with a visit to the chiropractor.

However, it's a shame to let all of that potential go to waste and so the car, like its hardtop counterpart, will come with a special track mode setting that will throw all creature comforts to the wind in search of the optimum flying lap.

And, when the car makes its official public debut at Pebble Beach on August 14, it will do so alongside the company's latest virtual car, the Design Prototype 100, which was created specifically for the "Gran Turismo 6" Playstation driving game.

At the moment, the only way to see the car in action or to put it through its potential paces is to wait until it becomes available as a download within the game later this month.

However, invited guests at Pebble Beach will get the chance to see the car for real.

Aston Martin can still turn heads and win hearts, such is the strength of its brand, and the Design Prototype 100 is a very exciting concept car.

And, considering the company's comparatively small size, especially when one considers the resources at Ferrari, Lamborghini or Porsche's disposal, the V12 Vantage S Roadster is equally impressive. However, a gap is starting to appear between Aston and its rivals that only further investment and access to cutting edge technology and research and development will close again.

Despite the company's current limitations, the future still looks bright for Aston. Thanks to a newly formed partnership with Mercedes-Benz, its cars will soon be as competitive as they are attractive once more.

However, this competition could be short-lived if these Mercedes-powered cars feel too much like Mercedes and not enough like Aston Martins.


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