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Aston isn't RS-ing about. Image by Aston Martin.

Aston isn't RS-ing about
Aston Martin accompanied the opening of a dedicated design studio in Britain with an outrageous new concept.
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| Concept Car Unveiling | Aston Martin V12 Vantage RS concept |

Dr Ulrich Bez, CEO of Aston Martin, surprised the crowd gathered in Gaydon to witness the unveiling of Aston's first dedicated design studio with a new concept sports car based on the V8 Vantage coupé. The concept may appear to be a regular V8 Vantage with a fancy race-ready aero-kit, but the V12 Vantage RS name gives more than a clue to what lies beneath the newly styled bonnet.

That's right, Aston Martin has taken its smallest, most affordable model and shoehorned not just any V12 engine under the bonnet, but a version of the 6.0-litre unit developed for the DBSR9 racecar. It therefore features dry sump lubrication, forged pistons and a host of other internal modifications designed to endure long distance racing at the same time as boost output. Figures of 600bhp at 6,250rpm and 509lb.ft of torque at 5,000rpm are breathtaking by any standards, but in the compact frame of the Vantage performance should be scintillating.

Not content with increasing performance, Aston's engineers also managed to keep the kerb weight of the Vantage to less than 1,600kg, despite the heavier engine. Extensive use of carbon-fibre (the bonnet and boot lid are all carbon) contributes to a power-to-weight ratio of 375bhp per ton, which enables the V12 Vantage RS to cover the 0-62mph sprint in four seconds dead, on the way to 100mph just 4.5 seconds later. That apparently makes it the fastest accelerating road car ever built by Aston Martin.

The concept is not all about straight line performance either, as hinted by the jutting chin splitter. That, along with an automatic rear spoiler, aims to endow the Vantage with excellent high-speed stability, while carbon ceramic brakes will ensure that stopping power is as impressive as the shove in the back. Although the V12 is a bigger and heavier unit than the V8 usually found under the bonnet, Aston's engineers have managed to mount it further back in the chassis, so weight distribution is said to be nigh on perfect.

Some might wonder what Aston Martin is doing with this concept, putting one of its biggest engines into its smallest car and in the process creating a special edition that would be likely to cost even more than the exclusive DBS model. Aston openly admits that the V12 Vantage RS could make production if there are enough interested parties, but also hints that it would come at a price. The question is: is that what Aston Martin customers want?

Shane O' Donoghue - 12 Dec 2007

2007 Aston Martin V12 Vantage RS. Image by Aston Martin.2007 Aston Martin V12 Vantage RS. Image by Aston Martin.      - Aston Martin road tests
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2007 Aston Martin V12 Vantage RS. Image by Aston Martin.

2007 Aston Martin V12 Vantage RS. Image by Aston Martin.

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