The launch of Aston Martin’s latest project should have stunned the world at the Geneva Motor Show, which has been cancelled due to the coronavirus.
Despite the setback, the British brand that recently joined the SUV ranks with its new DBX, went ahead and used its Gaydon, UK headquarters to launch the V12 Speedster, of which only 88 examples will be produced.
There are no Jekyll-and-Hyde character changes here; this roofless Aston is puristic and created with a focus on high performance, using styling elements borrowed from the DBS Superleggera and Vantage to create a unique car.
The body is constructed almost entirely from carbon fibre to create a past link to the 1959 Le Mans-winning DBR1.
“There is also a bit of 1953 DB3S in the midsection,” says Miles Nurnberger, director of design at Aston Martin Lagonda.
“It’s also inspired by fighter jets as much as it is by our history, hence why it is a V12, rather than a V8.”
The interior, or at least what’s left of it, features structural satin carbon fibre, handcrafted saddle leather, chrome, aluminium and even 3D-printed rubber. For some practicality there’s a removable leather bag in place of a traditional glove box, while there’s additional storage space under the rear bumps for luggage.
The car houses a 522kW and 753Nm engine inside that long bonnet. It’s a 5.2l twin-turbo V12 engine paired to ZF 8-Speed automatic transmission and the rear wheels are driven via a limited-slip differential.
The removal of the windscreen adds to the engagement, and considering the wind-cheating credentials and lightweight construction, it’s not surprising that Aston says the Speedster is able to accelerate to 100km/h from standstill in 3.5 seconds and reach a top speed limited to 300km/h.
There’s independent double wishbone in front and a multilink rear suspension with coil springs and adaptive damping offering Sport, Sport+ and Track modes. The Speedster also rides on standard 21-inch forged centre-lock alloy wheels that house 410mm carbon ceramic brakes in front and 360mm at the rear.
Matt Becker, Aston Martin’s chief engineer, said: “For raw, driving thrills, the V12 Speedster is unparalleled. Driving doesn’t get any purer than this.”
Aston’s new open-cockpit projectile competes with similarly zany but exclusive cars from Ferrari, with its 499 unit Monza SP1/SP2, and UK company McLaren, with its 500 units Elva.
The V12 Speedster costs about R15m and deliveries are expected to begin during the first quarter of 2021.