Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1

The cabin of the Aston Martin is a pleasant place to spend time in, but it’s not without its flaws. That said, we won’t doubt how much of an improvement this one is over the previous model. Aston Martin’s collaboration with Mercedes extends to the electronic systems – the rotary dial that controls the infotainment functions may be a reminder of the Mercedes hardware under the bonnet, but this also means the sat-nav system is a big improvement over the previous Vantage – even if it’s still not quite up to scratch with the latest systems.

The interior appears to be well laid out, well-built and offers a certain visual excitement, but not everything lives up to expectations – the 8.0-inch infotainment screen, climate control buttons and door release handles do look a little cheap, especially with the firm’s choice of silver paint.

Start using some of the buttons and it’ll be hard to ignore the cheap-sounding click that comes with every push, but at least the buttons are easier to read compared with the old one. And while plenty of them are the same size, they’re not all bunched up together like they used to be, so it should be easier to press the right one.

Some control difficulties

Aston Martin V8 Vantage 2018 gear selector

One decision that may have been a backward step is the location of the gear selector buttons. They’re not positioned so high up in view this time and the migration to have them lower down the dash has resulted in them looking rather lost, being masked by the surrounding buttons above and below.

The Mercedes-supplied Comand infotainment system itself represents a big step on from the previous Aston sat-nav system, but it is not without its foibles. You do get DAB radio, Bluetooth and a USB port but we couldn’t get the latter two to work.

It’s also slow to respond to inputs when using the steering wheel controls, requiring a heavy prod and a dose of patience. This might be better than the old Volvo-based system, but remains a sizeable chunk of loading time away from being as good as the latest Mercedes MBUX software. Electrical hardware aside, 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.

Satisfying touch points

Aston Martin V8 Vantage 2018 interior

The paddle shifts for the gearbox mounted on the steering column are large and satisfying to change gear with, but the steering wheel itself is slightly square and a little odd to use. The shape also means the top of the wheel cuts into the dials if you’re sat too low.

Still, the speedometer and neighbouring screens for the driver instrumentation screen on either side are clear, bright and easy to read.

Otherwise, the cabin of the Vantage does feel special enough and it won’t take much to make it more personalised with the choice of colour schemes available. You can choose from a subtle black and red interior to one that’s vivid with lime yellow highlights, resulting in something akin to the firm’s AMR treatment.

Is it comfortable?

  • Fabulous seats and interior trim
  • Ride comfort is acceptable for one so sporting
  • It’s quieter than most of its rivals

The driving position in the Vantage is suitably racy, placing the driver low down in the cockpit in a seat that offers both good support for spirited driving and high levels of comfort on long motorway trips. You can option to have heated and ventilated seats, too, with touch-sensitive switches located beside the climate control switches.

The electric seat buttons are in easy view, but they can get in the way of your leg as well. The padding just ahead of it designed to rest your knees on will be useful for drivers over 6ft tall, but those smaller and wanting to sit low enough will find these redundant and out of reach anyway.

On the road, the Vantage is expectedly firm, given its sport suspension setup and 20-inch wheels, but the adaptive suspension does an admiral job of not shaking the occupants to pieces on rough road surfaces. Road noise is high, but again, isn’t the worst compared to rivals. The turbo whistle on our test car however, was forever prominent and quickly became annoying at cruising speeds, although we suspect this was just down to this particular example.. 

Aston Martin V8 Vantage 2018 heated seats

Refinement could be better, with just as much road noise as the Mercedes-AMG GT, but it’s loud exhaust is still quieter and less antisocial than both the AMG and Jaguar F-Type SVR.

AMR version offers similar comfort levels

We’ll have to wait for a full test on crusty UK asphalt to know what it feels like here, but on this showing the AMR’s lost little of the standard car’s composure. This might be a more focused Vantage, but it’s barely less comfortable and the generous boot means you needn’t think twice about jumping in and taking off for the weekend.