Originally, the new Zagato was intended to be an endurance racer, with one car called "Zig" built for racing and a second called "Zag" for car show duty. Zag was eventually retrofitted with racing equipment and brought in to compete with its sister car. Together, they raced during the 2011 season, taking second and third place finishes on the Nurburgring-based Reinoldus-Langstreckenrenne VLN race.
At this year's Geneva Auto Show, Aston Martin announced that the Zagato would become a production vehicle. Stories differ on how this came to be: Either a plan was moved forward for a road car after a resounding response from customers, or the company had planned a production car all along, using the racing experience to refine the design. In either case, the result is a car heavily based on the V12 Vantage.
What Changes Have Been Made To The Vantage?
Between Aston Martin and Zagato, constructing each car will take over 2,000 man-hours thanks to hand-built body panels and interior pieces. The paint job alone takes 100 hours to complete.
It takes seven cow hides to make the car's hand-sewn interior, although that doesn't mean the car will have the sort of stuffy design one would expect in such a high-end car: The seats' flame pattern stitching and "Z" logos on the headrests look like something one would find in a hot rod.
To save weight, the hood, roof and doors are made from hand-formed aluminum, while the rest of the body is carbon fiber. The end result is a 3,704 lb. curb weight, 46 lbs. lighter than a stock V12 Vantage. The overall shape adds curves to the traditional Aston Martin silhouette by employing a wider grill, more pronounced hood vents and massive rear fenders. The Vantage's small front fender vents have been replaced with tall, angled units similar to those on Nissan's GT-R. Window glass remains identical, but blacked-out A-pillars give the canopy a distinct wrap-around look.
How Does It Perform?
The car will get the same 6.0l V12 used in the Vantage, good for 510 brake horsepower and 420 lb-ft. of torque. Power is sent to the rear end through a traditional 6 speed manual transmission. Despite the weight savings and aerodynamic tweaks, acceleration and top speed are identical to the V12 Vantage: Going from 0 to 60 takes just over four seconds, while the car can reach a maximum speed of 190 mph. Nothing was said about the suspension at the show. While the company has sold cars with full race suspension in the past, the Zagato will probably get the Vantage's stock setup.
The V12 Zagato will cost about $520,000, with a planned production run of just over 150 cars. With no real performance advantage, buyers will have to decide if it's really worth paying nearly two times more for a version of the Vantage with unique styling.