Aston Martin has unveiled an all-new, almost production-ready, 600bhp Vantage RS concept.
Powered by a 6.0-litre V12 developed for the DBR9 race car, the new concept has also taken the racer's ceramic composite brake discs and aerodynamics aids such as a deep front splitter and mechanical rear spoiler that help to improve road-holding at high speed.
Thanks to weight-saving materials and features such as an aggressive slatted bonnet and carbon-fibre rear bootlid, the RS weighs less than 1,600kg, 30kg lighter than the V8 Vantage it's based on.
The performance promises to be on a par with some of the fastest supercars: 0-62mph in less than 4 seconds and 0-100mph in just 8.5 seconds. Testing on the car is said to be 90% complete, with mules already covering a significant proportion of the 100,000 development miles Astons usually undertake.
Despite the work already carried out, Aston boss Ulrich Bez has as not yet given the green light for RS production, instead saying: 'If there is sufficient demand then we will seriously consider a low-volume production run in the near future, with a price that will reflect the exclusivity of the car.' The price of exclusivity? In excess of ?160,000, we reckon.
Aston is updating the DB9 for '09: the 6.0-litre V12 gets an extra 20bhp (now 470bhp and 420lb ft) from tweaks to the ECU, exhaust system and gearbox software. New Bilstein shock absorbers, suspension arms and bushes are fitted, and overall rigidity enhanced. New 19-inch alloys, door mirrors, grille, starter button and centre console also make their debut.
The company has also announced that the upcoming Rapide four-door will be built by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria. Aston's existing production facility at Gaydon has capacity to build only 8000 cars a year, mostly now accounted for by the V8 Vantage, DB9 and DBS, and the company plans to make around 2000 Rapides a year.
Magna Steyr will set up a dedicated Aston Martin facility, based on the set-up at Gaydon and the Aston engine factory in Cologne, where the employees will even wear Aston Martin-branded workwear. Production will start in late 2009.