Aston Martin Valour: a brilliantly brutal 705bhp birthday present | CAR Magazine

Aston Martin Valour: a brilliantly brutal 705bhp birthday present

Published: 11 July 2023 Updated: 11 July 2023

► Twin-turbo V12 with manual gearbox
► 705bhp, 555lb ft, mechanical LSD
► Designed for the driving purist, £1m+

Remember that scene early in Casino Royale where Daniel Craig’s James Bond bursts through a wall in pursuit of a parkouring bomb maker? This new Aston Martin Valour is like that moment in automotive form – a brutal counterpunch to current expectations of supercar propriety.

At first sight of this thing we were already thinking: what an entrance.

Paying clear homage to the original V8 Vantage of the 1970s, as well as subsequent models such as ‘Muncher’ Le Mans car of 1980 and the mad, twin-supercharged V600 (briefly the world’s most powerful series production car), the new Aston Valour is also a balm to any well-healed punter who saw the one-off Aston Martin Victor and wished they’d thought of it first.

Aston Martin Valour - rear top, studio

For this is not a concept car, nor an individual commission. This is Aston’s 110th anniversary birthday present to itself, and it’s going into limited production. Powered by a 705bhp 5.2-litre V12 twin-turbo mated to a bespoke six-speed manual transmission.

Which – not coincidentally – makes the Aston Martin Valour the only front-engined V12 supercar you can buy with a manual gearbox in 2023.

Aston Martin Valour? Looks more like a murderous blackguard to me…

It’s not shy, is it. There’s existing Aston platform technology underneath, but every bit of this car has been modified to purpose, with the intention of delivering a purist driving experience in line with that roguish retro-classic appearance but supported by modern manufacturing techniques and technologies.

The custom body structure incorporates additional bracing to improve stiffness, and despite appearances, Aston promises it’s paid sound attention to aerodynamics. The front splitter and multitudinously vented clamshell bonnet balanced by ‘vortex generating exoblades’ on the rear screen panel, that pronounced Kamm tail and substantial diffuser.

Aston Martin Valour - bonnet

The bodywork is entirely formed from carbonfibre, and among the available Q options is an unpainted 2×2 carbon twill finish (tinted red, green or blue if you want) just in case you need to make that abundantly clear.

And while the throwback visuals are clear, there are also nods here to the One-77 and Valkyrie – the latter showing particularly in the six LED light blades at the rear.

The aluminium accent at the back is milled from billet, helping to split the visual drama of the upper bodywork from the functional drama of the diffuser and unusual triple tailpipe treatment. Made from lightweight stainless steel, this element of the exhaust has a wall thickness of less than 1mm, saving 7kg versus a conventional system.

What about mechanical changes?

The biggest revision here is the six-speed manual gearbox, the direct connection this is supposed to achieve between car and driver further emphasised by the exposed linkage in the cabin. Buyers can also choose from aluminium, carbonfibre, titanium or walnut for the gearknob.

Introduction of manual shifting has apparently allowed Aston off the leash with the engine calibration, with the 705bhp and 555lb ft now described as ‘unrestrained’ in any gear. A mechanical limited-slip differential completes this particular point of enjoyment, though modern electronic aids remain on hand to dial down the chances of a very expensive accident straight away.

Aston Martin Valour - gearlever

Beyond this there’s a bespoke suspension set-up, including revised adaptive dampers, springs and anti-rollbars plus specified geometry unique to the Valour – ensuring that it has its own distinct driving characteristics. Aston describes it as ‘a road car first and foremost’, with ‘the compliance to shine on great driving roads.’

By contrast, there’s also a new steering system that ‘removes unwanted sources of compliance’ – suggesting enhanced driver feedback. Helped by that body strengthening allowing the suspension to operate more effectively.

Carbon-ceramic brakes are standard, alongside 21-inch forged ‘Honeycomb’ alloy wheels and specific Pilot Sport S 5 tyres.

And the interior?

It’s described as ‘a timeless two-seater cockpit of uncommon simplicity and seductive tactility’ – and it needs to be described, as the official pictures (none of which are especially illuminating) are particular obscure in this area.

There’s inevitably a lot of exposed carbonfibre inside, but this is combined with more unusual materials such as woollen tweed (inspired by the seats of the 1959 DBR1 that won Le Mans). Go via Aston’s Q department and you can add cashmere or Mokome carbonfibre detailing if you like.

Aston Martin Valour - top, studio

Incidentally, the standard range of options includes ‘an extensive array of hand-painted stripes and graphic designs’ for the exterior in a choice of 21 paint finishes. Painted wheels, however, are the reserve of Q division.

The potential for bad taste here lurks in the darkness, but we’re sure someone at Aston will be helping to keep the clients right.

How many Aston Martin Valours are being built – and what does it cost?

It celebrates 110 years of Aston Martin, thus 110 examples of the Valour will be built. Production starts at the Gaydon HQ in quarter-three of 2023, with first deliveries expected in quarter-four.

Surprisingly, Aston hasn’t concurrently announced that production is sold out – but we’re told it is currently in the process of allocating each example. Which rather suggests those 110 slots are over-subscribed.

Pricing will be £1m-£1.5m, with the variation related to the unique nature of each one produced.

The Valour will be on static display inside the Aston Martin hospitality area at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

By CJ Hubbard

Head of the Bauer Digital Automotive Hub and former Associate Editor of CAR. Road tester, organiser, reporter and professional enthusiast, putting the driver first

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