The V8 Vantage performs incredibly well, but that’s not why I adore it so much. The Aston’s appeal is an emotional one. It makes you feel like a rock star, it inspires you to love life.
Not just because of the way it turns heads. Granted, the gorgeous shape is a big factor in my affection, but the body is also an integral aspect of the car’s aggressive stance, which, thanks to its engine placement behind the front axle and the rear transaxle, contributes so much to the Aston’s nimble, well-balanced (but ultimately not class-leading) handling.
The interior is downright sensual. The cabin has so many luscious details: the leather-covered forward door frames curling up from the wide aluminum-covered rocker panels; the incredibly well-wrought sun visors, cupholders, and center console (all of which are too delicately small to be very useful, but who cares?); the thick white stitching in the supple black leather, which is everywhere you look, not just in the form-fitting chairs; the awesome Alcantara headliner that’s thickly padded and feels great.
The paddle-shifted, automated manual transmission loves to bang off hard, crisp upshifts when you’re working it hard, but the gearbox seems to protest with sluggish shifts when you put it in “D” and try to drive like a sane person. The best way to maneuver smoothly around town is to work the paddles as you would a stick shift, lifting your foot off the gas between shifts.
I’ll even forgive the Volvo window switches, because they open the cabin to the gentlemanly roar of the 420-hp, 4.7-liter V-8. Exercising this engine, and this car, is truly invigorating. I really, really want one. If I were to win the lottery tomorrow, the first car I’d buy would definitely be an Aston Martin coupe. The most difficult question would be which one?
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
I am in love with the color of this test car. In fact, I left it parked outside Sunday afternoon because I figured the neighbors would appreciate this beautiful piece of sculpture sitting in my driveway. The inside isn’t too bad, either – I couldn’t find a rough edge anywhwere or a piece of material that didn’t feel well-made and expensive. Just a lovely car.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
The Vantage is a beautifully bespoke piece of art. It’s rare, voluptuous, and a fine piece of engineering. You can’t help but admire every button, the beautiful gauges, the leather and Alcantara, and – wait, I’m repeating everything Rusty Blackwell just wrote! Nothing to add there, except I also spent a weekend with our Audi R8 (which has 44,000 on the odometer) and I had a lot more fun.
Jean Jennings, President & Editor-in-Chief
The only car I can really compare this Vantage to is another Aston Martin. Perhaps Aston is stealing a few potential Porsche 911 or Audi R8 buyers with the V8 Vantage, but I’d be worried about losing DB9 sales to the slightly smaller, slightly cheaper Vantage. Inside, the cars are virtually identical and, though the Vantage is much cheaper, Aston Martin’s own web site lists it as just .3 second slower to the 60 mph mark. The DB9 will theoretically do 190 mph to the Vantage’s 180 mph, but that’s not good for much more than bragging rights.
Any Aston is a novelty on the roads around Michigan, so those with the means to purchase a $100k+ coupe could be justified in wanting one for the rareness alone. As Rusty Blackwell points out, the Vantage isn’t best-in-class when you want to hit a twisty road, but it’s very competent. The exclusivity and aura surrounding the brand makes each encounter with an Aston Martin a very special occasion. Having sampled the DB9 coupe and convertible earlier this year, I was still very excited to have a night with the V8 Vantage. Buying an Aston is clearly a decision based on emotion and a visceral reaction to the shape and sound of the car. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor
Base price (with destination): $123,150
Price as tested: $141,015
High spec alarm $295
Premium audio $1595
Battery conditioner $150
Brake calipers painted black $450
HID headlamps with washers and levelers $795
Heated front seats $450
Cruise control $450
Powerfold mirror assembly $450
Memory seats and mirrors $450
Exterior paint $1895
Front parking sensors $450
Garage door opener $295
Satellite radio $1250
Sport pack with 5-spoke wheels $3785
Satellite navigation $2655
Gas guzzler tax $1700
13 / 19 / 14 mpg
Size: 4.7L V-8
Horsepower: 420 hp @ 7,300 rpm
Torque: 346 lb-ft @ 5,750 rpm
6-speed automated manual
Weight: 3595 lb
19 x 8.5-in aluminum wheels front; 19 x 9.5-in aluminum wheels rear
Bridgestone Potenza 235/40YR tires front; 275/35YR19 tires rear