Hinted, teased and now finally revealed this is Aston Martin’s new Vantage. Powered by an AMG sourced, 4-litre hot-vee twin-turbocharged V8 the new coupe will go on sale next year priced from $158,990, meaning entry to the world of Aston Martin now requires a six-figure buy in.
The first Aston Martin that Andy Palmer has overseen from its inception, the new Vantage shares next to nothing with its predecessor and uses over seventy per cent of new components over a DB11. The big GT only shares the latter’s platform architecture, which has been thoroughly re-worked and also features new front and rear subframes, the latter solid mounted. While we’re talking chassis, the adaptive Skyhook dampers are new, the springs and bushes upgraded accordingly and the geometry is far more driver focussed than that of a DB11. “The Vantage is a proper sports car, it’s the Aston Martin for our customers who put driving first”. With a 503bhp, twin-turbocharged AMG V8 replacing the glorious naturally aspirated eight of the previous car, we’d say the new Vantage is closer to a supercar than a sports car.
Turning it from a 911 Carrera rival to a 911 Turbo competitor is the switch to that AMG sourced engine. Positioned as far back in the chassis as possible, the V8 arrives from Affalterbach with a new induction and exhaust system and new engine management software, the rest is as AMG designed it, which is no bad thing in our book.
An eight-speed ZF gearbox is mounted on the rear axle and there’s also an electronic rear-diff, which is a first for Aston Martin and can go from fully open to 100 per cent locked in the twitch of your big toe. Undoubtedly it will entertain those of us who enjoy looking out of the side window while driving, but Aston Martin also claims it aids high-speed stability, too.
Talking of speed, the new Vantage will crack the 0-100kph sprint in 3.6-seconds and top 314kph. Which considering it’s expected to weigh over 1600kg (Aston claims a dry weight with lightweight options fitted of 1530kg) these are figures not to be sniffed at. Although they fire the Vantage at some fierce competition from Audi, AMG, McLaren and Porsche.
Designed by Marek Reichman the new Vantage is an evolution of Aston Martin’s new design language that was introduced with the DB11 and will culminate with the new Vanquish in 2019. “The design is very functional, with a strong emphasis on aerodynamics” explains Reichman. “It has much stronger athletic lines than the DB11. It’s more aggressive.”
It certainly stops you in your tracks. It’s low and wide at the front, tapers inwards along the flanks before reaching the rolling rear hips. “The surface details are all there to do a job, I didn’t want an design details for the sake of it.” That low front end incorporates a front splitter to direct air under the car that’s fitted with a floor incorporating a number of individual air channels to direct the flow accordingly through to the rear diffuser. Just aft of the front wheels are a pair of outlets to allow air pressure to escape from the wheel arch; “We didn’t want any aerodynamic devices on the surfaces so had to work much harder incorporating the car’s aero needs onto and under the car’s body.” The result is an aggressive design that manages to blend a sense of uncompromised purpose while retaining an element of Aston’s svelte design cues.
If the exterior of the new Vantage strikes you as being too 21st Century for an Aston Martin, you might want to be sitting down when you see the interior. Actually, if you can sit in one we urge you to do so before passing judgement. Aside from the trick of offering more space than first appearances suggests, the driving position feels resolutely spot on, located right on the rear axle, legs out front, steering wheel up to your chest, bonnet rising ahead of you. It feels more sports car than GT, and a very good place to be.
There’s a new cabin architecture, too, with some switchgear recognisable from Mercedes AMG models the rest bespoke to the Vantage. Rotary and toggle switches for the auxiliary controls “so the driver doesn’t have to look down to see what they are switching on or off” says Reichman. The only area that doesn’t quite work for us is the instrument binnacle, which features three individual housing for the dials set within. It’s the least cohesive part of the interior.
|2018 Aston Martin Vantage|
|Engine:||4-litre V8, twin-turbo|
|Power:||503bhp @ 6000rpm|
|Torque:||505lb ft @ 2000-5000rpm|
|Weight (kerb)||1530kg (dry)|
|Power-to-weight||334bhp/ton (based on dry)|
This article originally appeared at evo.co.uk