2008 Aston Martin V8 Vantage N400

Like the DB9 LM, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage N400 celebrates achievements in motor sports. Although the Nurburgring 24-hour race has less prestige than LeMans and Aston did not win the German endurance race, it does look like the British carmaker is producing a more impressive package with the V8 Vantage N400 than the LeMans-celebrating DB9 LM.

The N400 is available in either coupe and roadster form and gets a good mix of performance improvements. Aston claims the tweaked V8 Vantage can dance around the legendary Nordshleife circuit in under eight-minutes, an impressive time for a road car. Power is bumped from 380 to 400 hp and maximum torque is up slightly to 310 lb-ft. The N400 also is fitted with a unique sports package that includes stiffer springs and upgraded dampers. The coupe also gets a new anti-roll bar in the rear. Transmission choices are the same as the standard car, either six-speed manual or automated manual. Aston plans to build 240 examples of each body style worldwide.

On the exterior, different side sills, silver hood and side mesh grills, clear rear taillights, and a bright finish front grill are fitted to this hotter V8 Vantage. The Aston is available in three exclusive exterior colors including black, silver, and, we aren't lying here, orange. At the press conference, Dr. Ulrich Bez, CEO of Aston Martin, told the gathered crowd that the orange exterior is his recommended hue but buyers can specify one of the other two colors if they feel they have to. Inside, perforated black leather seats and a unique spun alloy trim are both new. Surprisingly, most of the optional equipment available on a regular V8 Vantage is fitted as standard to the N400 including: navigation, premium audio, Bluetooth, Xenon headlights, and heated seats. Given this, the focus of N400 is obviously not to battle with the minimalist Porsche 911 GT3. While the relatively small power bump and large list of (heavy) standard features is not too exciting for the purist, we do look forward to feeling the chassis changes given Aston's impressive history of fine-tuning their cars throughout the model cycle. Plus, running the V8 Vantage's glorious engine through the gears is still one of the best aural pleasures around.

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