- Responsive, powerful, characterful V8
- Agile rear-wheel drive chassis
- Head-turning looks
- Comfortable and sporty driving position
- High price
- Two-seater only
- Interior quality disappoints in places
- Firm ride, road noise
Parkers drove a prototype of the new Aston Martin Vantage on snow earlier this year, but now we’ve driven the final production car on the road.
The Aston Martin Vantage counts the Porsche 911 Carrera GTS and Turbo as rivals, plus the Jaguar F-Type SVR and Mercedes-AMG GT. Like the AMG, the Vantage is rear-wheel drive and features a front/mid-mounted engine, meaning the engine is positioned ahead of the driver but behind the front axle for better weight distribution and more agile handling.
In fact, the two cars use the same twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine, which produces 510hp and 685Nm of torque. According to official figures, the Vantage accelerates from 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds, has a 195mph top speed and achieves 26.8mpg and 245g/km CO2 on the combined cycle.
The gorgeous exterior bodywork is made from steel, but underneath there’s an aluminium chassis with double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension developed from the larger DB11.
Despite the use of aluminium, the Vantage is quite heavy at 1,630kg – similar to the AMG GT, and 160kg more than a comparable Porsche 911.
The interior is generally finished to a high standard, with some very luxurious leather and Alcantara setting off a suitably dramatic and sporty feeling cockpit. The driving position is also superb, putting the driver low-down in a seat that offers good levels of both comfort and support.
Its Mercedes-supplied Comand infotainment system represents a big step on from the previous Aston sat-nav system, though the climate control dials and paddleshifters do look a little cheap, especially in silver, as does the shroud for the sat-nav screen.
Measuring 4,465mm, the Vantage is 80mm longer than its predecessor, but it remains strictly a two-seater. There is, however, 350 litres of luggage space under the rear hatch, and space behind the seats too.
On the road, the Vantage immediately feels more aggressive than the mechanically similar DB11 V8. The suspension is much firmer, there’s significantly more road noise, and the engine sounds more raucous too.
It’s a sportier, less soothing companion than a DB11, if still perfectly usable, but the Vantage’s sharper focus also makes it a more enthralling drive. The steering is superbly responsive, bodyroll is quickly controlled, the brake and throttle fizz with feedback and the Vantage rapidly builds driver confidence thanks to a combination of huge front-end grip and fleet-footed agility.
Considering the generous performance and rear-wheel-drive layout, the Vantage puts its power down with impressive composure – get a little over-eager and the stability control system quickly quells unruly wheelspin. More feelsome steering would be welcome, but overall this is an incredibly engaging car to drive over a challenging road.
The Vantage uses the same engine and eight-speed automatic gearbox as the DB11 V8 and produces almost identical performance, but it feels much faster. This is partly due to a 129kg reduction in weight versus the larger car, and also shorter gearing.
As a result the Vantage feels keen to gather speed almost anywhere in the rev range, giving it both easy flexibility for lower-speed overtaking and a thrilling run to peak revs at 7,000rpm. The gearbox, similarly, feels more energetic, with more positive engagement from each shift, even if it can still feel smooth during relaxed driving, just like the engine.
The Parkers Verdict
The new Aston Martin Vantage is an impressive package, with its design, chassis and powertrain all striking a great balance between outright aggression and luxurious refinement.
Though mechanically similar to the DB11 V8, the Vantage has a significantly more sporting character, so it does trade some of the DB11’s comfort for extra driver involvement.
The Vantage is still a sports car to be enjoyed on a daily basis, but it’s at its best when driven for fun on a great road.