If you’ve been eyeing the Aston Martin Vantage, but find the regular V8 too pedestrian and the V12 too dear (perhaps not a likely situation), Aston Martin has finally rectified this problematic situation. The British supercar maker announced a new member of the small Vantage line today, which is poised to sit in between the V8 and V12 for performance and price. Called the V8 Vantage S, it’s a little bit harder, faster, sharper, and prettier than a V8 – but not quite as much as the spectacular V12.

The changes are mostly mechanical, which is good – the Vantage is arguably one of the most gorgeous cars money can buy, so avoiding the whole gilding-the-lily syndrome is for the best. The Vantage’s 4.7L 32v V8 gets a bump in output to 430 horsepower and 361 lb-ft of torque- an inrease of 10bhp and 15lb-ft. Aston doesn’t say where the gains stem from, but they do mention the S gets a unique exhaust system with an electronic noise flap, so increased exhaust flow could account for it. More significant is the new Sportshift II gearbox, which has 7 ratios compared to the original’s 6. Aston claims the new cog changer is capable of swapping gears 20% faster than the 6-speed. In addition, the ratio gaps are smaller letting the naturally-aspirated V8 stay closer to it’s power peaks, so performance should be improved. There’s a sport mode as well, which allows faster shifts and sharper throttle response.

The S has a revised chassis, as well. The steering rack ratio is shorter for quicker responses, spring and damping rates are both harder, and the rear wheels increase in width and are shod with special Michelin performance rubber. In addition, the front brakes are larger to compensate for the extra power.

Exterior changes are minimal. There’s a new bumper up front with larger air intakes, chunky side sills, a new rear bumper, and some very pretty 19″ “V-Spoke” alloy wheels to differentiate the S from the normal Vantage. This is a pretty normal patter for Aston: the DB7 GT and the Vanquish S both followed the “slightly faster, slightly harder, slightly prettier” formula. The real question is – if you’ve got the money for a freakin’ Aston Martin, who exactly is going to buy the base model? The Vantage S is available for order from your friend Aston dealer now.