2009 Aston Martin Vantage V8

Andrew Trahan

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

To me this is the best Aston Martin. If the DB9 is the elegant sports GT, this is the compact sport CAR. The compactness gives it a more purposeful look. This is the "if I can only have one car" for me.

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