An old dog relies on a very old trick: a big engine in a little car.
Although the 5.9-liter V-12 lacks the latest tricks—there’s no direct fuel injection or even variable valve timing—those deficiencies won’t be on your mind when you shift out of fifth gear at the 6800-rpm redline and find the V-12 still pulling with an alarming surge past 170 mph in sixth gear, toward a top speed of 190 mph. That you’re operating a manual shift with a real clutch pedal is a bit unusual in the current world of roboticized supercars, but it’s a very welcome throwback; the shifter has well-weighted action and a satisfying mechanical feel.
We expect a 0-to-60 time of 4.2 seconds, a number that may seem slow to the figures-obsessed. Those same folks may balk at a torque peak of 420 pound-feet that comes in at a high 5750 rpm, but the 5.9-liter’s rev-happy nature and omnipresent large-displacement whack will turn doubters into believers.
The 2011 GT4 is closely based on the V8 Vantage road car, with which it is shares the same aluminium chassis, base engine and suspension designs.
The aerodynamic changes up front that include a new splitter, help increase downforce and direct cooling air to the brakes and radiator. At the back, Aston Martin added the V12's larger boot 'flip'. The 2011 car also gets a new carbon fibre diffuser and rear underfloor, which according to Aston Martin, create an area of low pressure under the rear of the GT4, thus increasing downforce while also channeling more air through a new rear-mounted high capacity transmission oil cooler.
Along with the aero upgrades and engine tweaks, Aston Martin is also offering as a first the option of a race-developed Bosch ABS and traction control system that has been specifically calibrated by Bosch Motorsport for the Vantage GT4.
.The new model, inspired by the GT4 racer car, is designed to slot between the regular V8 Vantage and the range-topping V12 Vantage model. The S gets a retuned version of the V8’s 4.7-litre powerplant, now producing 430bhp (a gain of 10bhp) and 361lb ft (15lb ft more).