There’s an unexpected trend spreading across the sports car world: automakers are getting rid of windshields. Granted, it’s a trend limited to super-expensive, super-exclusive speed machines, but still — a trend is a trend. Ferrari came first, with the 812 Superfast-based SP1 and SP2 Monza; McLaren was close behind with the Elva, which upped the ante by serving up a “force field” of directed air to serve as a de facto windshield. Now, Aston Martin is jumping on the bandwagon with the forthcoming V12 Speedster — and even in a year with the arrival of the Le Mans-worthy Valkyrie and all-road-conquering DBX, it could be the coolest ride the company reveals.
A bold statement to make about a car we haven’t seen yet, you say? Sure. But let’s look at the facts. Based on the concept drawing, it appears that not only will the Aston Martin V12 Speedster look stunning, it’ll be based on the spectacular new Vantage — the smallest, most nimble (and most entertaining) car in the lineup. Where that car has to make do with a paltry 503 horsepower from an AMG-sourced twin-turbo V8, however, the V12 Speedster packs — you guessed it — a V12 engine; specifically, the twin-turbo 5.2-liter unit in the Aston Martin DBS and DB11 AMR, tuned here to spit out around 690 hp and 516 pound-feet of torque.
That power flows through the ubiquitous ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission to the rear tires, providing the sort of grunt that would likely terrify drivers of the 1959 DBR1 race car that inspired the V12 Speedster. Whether or not they’d be as shocked by the engine sounds flowing into the open-air cockpit remains to be seen; Aston says “the engine note and sound quality [play] an important part in the undeniably invigorating driving experience,” but whether a 21st Century-regulated twin-turbo 12-pot sounds better than a racing-bred straight-six from the ’50s is the sort of question that can only be resolved through firsthand experience. (Yes, Aston, that’s our way of saying we want to drive this thing.)
Now, if you’re dreaming about what one of these would look like parked in your driveway, a) why aren’t you daydreaming about driving the thing instead, and b) we have some unfortunate news. The car won’t officially land in owners’ hands until early next year; only 88 examples will be whipped up by the company’s Bondian bespoke division, Q by Aston Martin; and while they haven’t specified how much each costs, Aston Martin’s fellow Brits at Top Gear guesstimate it’ll land in the ballpark (or cricket field, we suppose) of £750,000–£800,000 ($979,000–$1,044,000). Oh, plus a few hundred bucks for a good helmet.
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