Brash, James Brash
Perhaps it’s because of Aston Martin’s inextricable association with super-suave super-spy James Bond that the British carmaker has earned a reputation for making grand tourers.
The V12 Vantage isn’t one of those cars. It’s living proof that Gaydon has a distinctly quirky sense of humour, because it takes the biggest engine Aston Martin makes and crams it forcefully into its smallest car. The results are, as one might expect, borderline lunatic, and it’s something our judges picked up on immediately.
Arjunan Kulasegaram said the V12 Vantage would be “James Bond’s car of choice if he was slightly more uncouth”, had a “very soulful engine” and that it was “English opera”.
Taha Bouqdib and Geoffrey Eu also appreciated the Aston’s rasping engine note. In fact, nobody we asked disliked the V12 Vantage’s motor. “I have a Vanquish, which has the same engine as this, but the Vantage is a much lighter car and more focused,” said Geeson Lawadinata.
Unfortunately, the assembled judges found other aspects of the V12 Vantage much more difficult to love.
Hoh Han wasn’t all too impressed with suspension. “James Bond wouldn’t drive this,” he remarked. Bouqdib said its acoustic refinement was lacking. “It’s definitely not the car for me!” he quipped. Not helping its cause is its single-clutch automated manual gearbox, with Michael Soo, Marcus Soo and Quah Ban Huat describing it as clunky and outdated.
The V12 Vantage was a bit of a hit and miss for most of our judges, but for Dato Sri Ong, it was most definitely a hit, and he enjoyed its power and handling ability.