Cool? Yes. Fashionable? Undoubtedly. Good-looking? For sure. Fast? Well, not so much.
Aston Martin is lauded for producing the best-looking cars on sale, and their desirability—thanks to supreme aesthetics—is backed up by the company topping the UK’s Cool Brands list in the automotive category for many years. Speed, however, has usually been a by-product.

Convention dictates that a sports car is fitted with a powerful engine, and Aston Martins are fitted with a smooth V8 or V12; that base is thus covered, more or less. But if you wanted a seriously fast machine, it was the stables of Ferrari, Lambo, or Porsche you’d be peering into.

A few years ago, however, a decision was made at Aston to up the ante. Its smallest car, the Vantage, normally comes with a 4.7-litre V8. It’s a nice enough engine and makes a wonderful, crackling din, but when the decision was made to shoehorn in the V12 engine from the much larger DB9, there were standing ovations all round. The extra power, the lung-collapsing howl, and even the chassis balance (with a much bigger engine, mind you) were all superb. For a time, that was enough to keep Aston Martin in the game. But as its competitors moved forward, the company had to follow suit.