Aston Martin V8 Vantage S Roadster review
The V8 Vantage S Roadster is a sportier version of Aston Martin's stunning entry-level drop-top, aimed at driving enthusiasts
With an extra 10bhp from the 4.7-litre V8, for a total of 430bhp, stiffer suspension and other chassis tweaks, the V8 Vantage S Roadster is designed to take the fight to the Porsche 911 by extracting the Vantage's full dynamic potential. Fitted with a seven-speed automated manual gearbox as standard and a sports exhausts the 'S' sharpens up the driving experience in all areas, but is far from a trackday special - it still retains the elegance and sense of occasion that comes with all Aston Martins.
Our choice: Aston Martin V8 Vantage S Roadster
The V8 Vantage Roadster is already a superb piece of design, but the S adds an extra dose of aggression with a lower front splitter, new rear diffuser and chunkier side sills. The taught fabric hood is integrated well so it still looks the part with the roof up or down. Inside the sumptuous cabin little has changed, although an Alcantara trimmed steering wheel and carbon sports seats are offered as an option.
The 4.7-litre V8 engine has been tweaked to produce 430bhp - 10bhp more than the standard car. As a result 0-62mph takes 4.5 seconds - three tenths less - while the top speed is 189mph. Firmer spring and dampers, a quicker steering rack and wider tyres mean there's more grip and the car car reacts quicker to your inputs - there's barely any difference between the way the Roadster and Coupe behave either, despite the Roadster weighing around 80kg more.
Reliability of Aston Martins has improved significantly in recent years. There has only ever been one recall for cars built in a six-month period during 2007 - it concerned a bolt in the front suspension which was at risk of cracking. A set of tyres is likely to last 20,000 miles and a clutch should last for 40,000 miles without needing to be replaced.
On a smooth road with the roof up refinement isn't as bad as you might think - so this is a car you can use for long trips. There's no rear seats and only 144-litres of luggage space though - less than half that of the Coupe, so you'll need to pack light.
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are identical to the standard Roadster, so 21.9mpg and 299g/km respectively. Use it how Aston's engineers intended though and you can expect to burn more fuel than that. Servicing is expensive too, around £800 for a 10,000 check, which is worth bearing in mind.