Aston Martin V12 Zagato review

Our Rating: 
4
4.0/5.0
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

Aston Martin and design studio Zagato have joined forces to create an exclusive sports car based on the V12 Vantage

For: 
Dramatic styling, great performance, beautiful exhaust note
Against: 
Expensive, no faster than a V12 Vantage, dated chassis

Every time Aston Martin and Italian design house Zagato come together, they manage to create something really quite special. This is their most recent construction and it celebrates the 50th anniversary of their first project, the DB4 GT Zagato. Essentially, it's a lightweight race-spec version of the V12 Vantage with a hand-crafted aluminium and carbon-fibre body, but the same 510bhp 6.0-litre V12 engine as the standard car. For Aston Martin, this remains a celebration of history and teamwork, rather than a revolutionary step up in performance and dynamics. Production is strictly limited to 101 cars but, with a price tag of £396,000, buyers certainly pay for the privilege of owning one.

Our choice: V12 Zagato

Styling

4.5

The Aston Martin V12 Zagato maintains the V12 Vantage’s imposing front end, albeit with a more aggressive and wider mouth and a 'Z' themed grille. Towards the rear there's a raised back end, which is a familiar Zagato styling cue similar to that seen on the 2002 DB7 Zagato. It also has another familiar cue in the shape of its double-bubble roof and circular rear light clusters. The body is made from lightweight, hand-rolled aluminium and carbon-fibre – all of which helps to slash 100kg from the standard V12 Vantage’s kerbweight. Inside, the set-up is standard Vantage but with swathes of carbon fibre, as well as bespoke leather seats and intricate red stitching.

Driving

4.5

The 510bhp 6.0-litre V12 is the same engine used in the V12 Vantage, so performance and driving dynamics are largely unchanged. That’s no bad thing, though, and the V12 Zagato is extremely capable and thrilling to drive. The exhaust note alone is enough to get the hairs on the back of your neck up, while the steering, throttle response and braking performance are all razor sharp. The Zagato does 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds, making it no faster than the £135,000 V12 Vantage, but positively sluggish compared to the £171,468 Porsche 911 GT2 RS. The ride is firm but not unbearable – better than you’d expect for a stripped out supercar spawned from a successful Nurburgring 24 Hours racer.

Reliability

4

The V12 Zagato gets all of the important extras from the V12 Vantage. This includes carbon ceramic brakes and sophisticated traction control systems as standard, while the only-gearbox option is the simpler six-speed manual. Considering it's based on the relatively mass-produced V12 Vantage, we expect it to attain the same reliability record - although V12 Zagato owners are more likely to keep their cars as works of art than to actually drive them very often.

Practicality

2.5

Practicality is never going to be an important factor in a car with this type of performance and price. That said, thanks to the V12 Zagato’s front engine set-up, it does offer reasonable luggage space at the rear. Inside, driver and passenger are treated to the same cabin as in the V12 Vantage; so don’t expect acres of room. The interior is something quite special, though. And thanks to a mesmerising wave stitch pattern on the seats and headlining, the V12 Zagato has a sense of occasion that even the Vantage can’t match.

Running Costs

2.7

With a massive V12 engine under the bonnet, the V12 Zagato is clearly going to be expensive to run. Running costs will be no worse than for the V12 Vantage, but at 17.3mpg, it won’t break any records for the most miles to a tank. Insurance, maintenance and repair costs will be sky-high, too. But unlike the V12 Vantage it's based on, the Zagato isn’t likely to drop in value - and in years to come it should be worth more than the original £396,000 purchase price, too.

Last updated: 29 Jan, 2013

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