Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster hits the ‘Ring

The convertible version of what’s arguably one of the world’s most beautiful and exciting cars has been spotted again in prototype form, ahead of a market launch planned for early next year. The new car is the V12 Vantage Roadster, but sadly, just like its recently revealed hard-top cousin, U.S. customers are likely to miss out due to legal issues stemming from its engine and crash safety.

The V12 Vantage Roadster will be almost identical to the hard-top except for its three-layer fabric roof, which can be opened or closed in just 18 seconds by pressing a button on the center console. Obvious signs that this prototype is the high-performance V12 variant are the unique carbon-fiber body parts both at the front and rear, as well as the lower and more agressive front spoiler.

Under the hood is the now familiar 6.0L V12 engine, the same unit from the DBS flagship. Output has been left untouched, which means the engine churns out 510hp (380kW) and 420lb-ft (570Nm) of torque. Performance will be slightly down on the hard-top, however, due to the extra weight brought on by strengthening of the roofless chassis.

Drive will be sent to the rear wheels via a six speed manual gearbox, and Aston Martin’s new Touchtronic automatic may also be offered as an option. Other goodies will include a new limited slip differential, a final drive ratio of 3.71:1, and an alloy torque tube with a lightweight carbon-fiber propeller shaft.

Production of the hard-top is scheduled to start at Aston Martin’s global headquarters in Gaydon, UK, in the third quarter of the year, while the new Roadster roll off the line early next year.

2010 Aston Martin V12 Vantage

2011 Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster spy shots

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