- It's starting to look like a trend: The Aston Martin V12 Speedster has no roof, no windscreen, and a high price (in this case, $815,000), like the Ferrari Monza, Bentley Bacalar, and McLaren Elva.
- The Speedster was inspired by Aston Martin's own DBR1 race car and its CC100 concept from 2013.
- The Speedster will be limited to 88 globally, and it's limited to track use only in the United States.
Pay more, get less. That seems to be the logic at the very top of the auto industry, where luxury makers are competing to launch minimalist hypercars with prices in stark contrast to their modest tally of creature comforts, or even basic weather protection. In the case of the new Aston Martin V12 Speedster, that means the equivalent of $815,000 at current exchange rates for a car without a roof or a windscreen.
The V12 Speedster was one of the cars scheduled to make its debut at the canceled Geneva auto show, meaning that we have only seen these images rather than a concept vehicle. Yet they make clear that the finished version is not going to be short on road presence. Design takes inspiration from the DBR1 race car that won the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans, but also the CC100 one-off that Aston built to celebrate its centenary in 2013. It also gains what is being termed a "bonnet nostril"—the enlarged gap at the leading edge—which has enabled the front of the car to be lowered slightly while still allowing room for the V-12.
Another design influence for the V12 Speedster cited by Aston's design director Miles Nurnberger is jet fighters, a connection made explicit by the concept wearing a livery inspired by the Boeing F/A 18 Super Hornet, featuring both Skyfall Silver paintwork with red internal trim seemingly inspired by those natty "Remove before Flight" tags. It also has "Do Not Step" written on the underside of the central carbon-fiber blade that divides the two sides of the cockpit, although it's hard to imagine quite why somebody would be strolling down the middle of an Aston Martin.
The concept's interior features a predictable abundance of carbon trim and has seats trimmed with both leather and cloth. There is also a removable leather bag in the dashboard in front of the passenger seat instead of a conventional glovebox.
Sitting on the same bonded aluminum platform as the DB11 and DBS Superleggera, the V12 Speedster also shares the same powerplant. Aston's 5.2-liter twin-turbo V-12 will deliver around 700 horsepower and 555 lb-ft of torque; those figures represent a decrease from the 715 horsepower and 663 lb-ft of the DBS. Drive is through the same eight-speed automatic gearbox that is fitted to this engine's other applications. Adaptive dampers and carbon-ceramic brakes will be standard.
Aston hasn't finalized weight numbers yet but predicts the Speedster will be about 308 pounds lighter than the DBS Superleggera Volante. Acceleration will be similarly brisk—the company is estimating a 3.5-second zero-to-62-mph time—but top speed will be limited to 186 mph. Don't worry, we suspect that the lack of any protection from approaching airflow will make that figure feel considerably more exciting than in the company's faster but better-insulated models. Unlike the Ferrari Monza and the forthcoming McLaren Elva, it doesn't have a ducting system to divert airflow to create a virtual windshield; we suspect that anything other than the gentlest use will involve either goggles or a full-face helmet.
The lack of protection also means that the Speedster is being sold as a track-only car in the U.S., according to the company, although we suspect that many potential buyers will have other houses in more permissive territories. Aston says that production will be limited to just 88 cars, with deliveries beginning in the first quarter of next year.