Pros: Classic Aston styling; big-time horsepower; ultimate iteration of Vantage lineup

Cons: Very expensive for Aston's "entry level" model; only two seats

What's new: The 2014 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S boasts more power and better performance than the outgoing V12 Vantage.

Aston Martin has officially pulled the cover off its ultimate Vantage high-performance coupe. The V12 Vantage S replaces last year's V12 Vantage and boasts a huge power hike, along with several other enhancements.

The Vantage S's biggest difference over the V12 Vantage is power. While the Vantage S retains last year's 6.0-liter V12, it's now up to 565 hp. That's a 50-hp bump over the outgoing model. Also, at 475 lb-ft of torque, it's up by 37 lb-ft. Aston says the changes came from various subtle engine upgrades, such as hollow camshafts.

With the horsepower bump comes improved performance. According to Aston Martin, the V12 Vantage S boasts a top speed of 205 miles per hour. That's up from 190 mph, which places the new V12 Vantage S among the fastest road cars in Aston's history. Of course, the brand says 0-to-60 times will fall, as well. The coupe will now hit 60 mph in four seconds or less, down from last year's official figure of 4.2 seconds.

The V12 Vantage S also marks the debut of Aston's new 7-speed automatic. Dubbed Sportshift, the transmission replaces last year's 6-speed manual. It shaves 55 pounds off the Aston's curb weight, and the extra gear helps to improve the coupe's acceleration. Also new is the Vantage's exhaust, which is derived from the high-dollar One-77 supercar.

On the outside, not much has changed. One major upgrade is the coupe's new 19-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels. The Vantage S also features a black roof and a front grille available in carbon fiber or titanium silver mesh.

Pricing is not yet available for the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S, though we expect a healthy bump over the V12 Vantage's $181,500 base price with shipping. For shoppers on a smaller budget, standard V8 Vantage is likely to continue through the 2014 model year.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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