Aston Martin is out testing an early prototype for what's believed to be a hardcore variant to top an updated Vantage range—and yes, there's likely to be a V-12 under the hood.

Aston Martin is expected to introduce a major update to the Vantage in late 2022 or early the following year. While the focus of the update will be on tech features for the cabin, there will also be this new hardcore variant which is tipped to revive the Vantage V12 RS name first used on a V-12-powered Vantage concept car unveiled in 2008.

Think of it as Aston Martin's version of the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT Black Series or Porsche 911 GT2 RS.

The prototype is still fitted with makeshift body panels but we can already spot the huge vents in the hood, air curtains in the front fascia, a widened track front and rear, an aggressive rear diffuser, and centrally mounted exhaust tips.

Under the hood is expected to be Aston Martin's own 5.2-liter twin-turbocharged V-12, which the sound in the spy video above points to. The engine has been tuned to deliver 760 hp in the DBS GT Zagato, though expect something closer to 700 hp in the Vantage.

What isn't clear is whether a V-12 will be a permanent option on the Vantage, or whether it will be reserved for hardcore specials like this car.

Sadly, there won't be a manual transmission on offer, as was the case for the previous V-12-powered Vantage. Aston Martin will phase out the manual transmission with the arrival of the updated Vantage range. This means there will likely be only the current 8-speed automatic going forward.

Pricing for the hardcore Vantage variant will likely lie close to the $200,000 mark. The current Vantage range already tops out at $162,000 with the Vantage F1 Edition introduced for 2021.