Aston Martin builds Vantage GT12 Roadster for one demanding customer

The Vantage GT12 is Aston Martin’s answer to the Porsche 911 GT3. In fact, it was called the Vantage GT3 until Porsche complained. It’s a more-focused version of the V12 Vantage, with fewer luxuries and more power, that’s meant for track driving.

But how does that hardcore mission work with frivolous top-down driving? Several carmakers make track-focused versions of their performance cars, but the Aston Martin Vantage GT12 Roadster debuting at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed is probably the first attempt to turn one into a convertible. The GT12 Roadster is a one-off custom job built by Aston Martin’s Q personalization division.

Since many racetracks don’t allow convertibles, it’s a somewhat odd request, but the customer is always right apparently. The GT12 Roadster shares most of the GT12 coupe’s carbon fiber body panels, which puff out the body to make room for a wider track, plus dramatic vents in the front fenders and ahead of the rear wheels. The Roadster is missing the coupe’s rear wing spoiler, but appears to retain its other aerodynamic aids, including a big front chin spoiler.

Like the coupe, the Vantage GT12 Roadster uses an upgraded version of Aston’s ubiquitous 6.0-liter V12. This engine is used in virtually every other Aston Martin, but in the GT12, it produces 592 horsepower. It’s mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, and breathes through a titanium exhaust system.

The one-off GT12 Roadster’s interior appears to be bit more luxurious than the GT12’s coupe. Whereas the coupe’s interior is a sea of carbon fiber and Alcantara, much of that has been replaced with leather in the convertible.

The Vantage GT12 Roadster was commissioned by a specific customer, so there are no plans for a full production run. Aston says this is the first time a customer has commissioned a full car build, and hopes it won’t be the last. Like other high-end carmakers, Aston Martin sees customization as a promising new market, owing to the seemingly inexhaustible wealth of the one percent.

Product Review

2019 Lamborghini Urus first drive review

Twenty five years after the demise of the V12-powered LM002, Lamborghini rejoins the sport-utility segment with the Urus, a veritable tour de force of technology, luxury, and speed.
Mobile

The Lenovo Z5 Pro GT packs the most RAM ever seen in a smartphone

The next generation of smartphones has begun, and it's begun with a bang. The Lenovo Z5 Pro GT comes with the next generation Snapdragon 855 processor, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage.
Cars

Aston Martin’s 1,000-hp Valkyrie will boast the Mona Lisa of the engine world

Aston Martin has released new details about its F1-inspired Valkyrie hypercar. Co-developed with Red Bull Racing, the Valkyrie will be one of the most aerodynamic production cars ever made.
Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.
Cars

What’s next for in-car entertainment? Audi believes it knows

Audi is bringing two technologies to CES 2019. The first turns a car -- a luxury sedan, in this case -- into a drive-in movie theater. The second is presented as a new entertainment format that turns the journey into the destination.
Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

California wants all-electric public bus fleet on its roads by 2040

California approved a regulation that targets an all-electric public bus fleet for the whole state by 2040. The effect of the full implementation of the regulation is equivalent to taking 4 million cars off the road.
Cars

1,000-mph Bloodhound supersonic car project finds a last-minute savior

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has found a buyer. The project was going to be disbanded after running out of funds, but its assets were purchased by British businessman Ian Warhurst.
Cars

Ford’s prototype Quiet Kennel uses noise-canceling tech to keep dogs stress-free

Ford is ending 2018 by venturing into the doghouse market. The company's European division has built a kennel equipped with active noise-canceling technology and soundproof walls that help dogs sleep through fireworks.
Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.
Cars

The best compact cars pack full-size features in fun-size packages

The best compact cars on the market rival their counterparts in many ways, proving that bigger isn’t always better. Here, we've rounded up some of the better options available, including an SUV and an electric alternative.
Cars

Lincoln revives its coolest-ever design feature for limited-edition Continental

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.