In-depth reviews

Aston Martin V8 Vantage review

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage is one of the best-looking cars on the road, and it's a treat to drive as well

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

Price
£114,850 to £164,995
  • Performance, V8 soundtrack, gorgeous looks
  • Steering feel, jerky Sportshift auto, running costs

Instantly recognisable and still one of the most beautiful cars on the road, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage is an industry pin-up. 

Aside from the Cygnet city car, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage is the entry point to Aston's luxury sports car range. It's been on sale since 2006, but it still looks great, and constant revisions and updates mean the V8 Vantage is still able to compete against rivals such as the Jaguar F-Type Coupe and Porsche 911.

The latest model has a 4.7-litre V8 that makes 420bhp, and it's offered with a six-speed manual or Sportshift automatic, although the latter takes the edge off the driving experience. If you want a luxury GT for two that makes you feel a million dollars every time you drive it, then the British-built V8 Vantage is an excellent choice.

Keeping the nine-year-old Vantage on the radar of buyers has been no easy task for Aston Martin, but a succession of special-edition ‘N’ models has helped. The latest N430 takes the tried and tested approach of adding more power and a few exclusive extras to give the Vantage added allure. The N430 commands a premium over the standard V8 Vantage, but offers the same 430bhp output as the more expensive Vantage S – making it something of a bargain in Aston terms. 

Engines, performance and drive

The V8 Vantage is powered by a thunderous 4.7-litre V8. Although relatively old when compared to newer engines now offered by the likes of Porsche, Mercedes and Audi, it still has a healthy slug of power and loves to be put to be work. The Aston really wants you to push it to get your entertainment’s worth: peak power is locked away at the top of the rev range, and it's a similar story with the maximum torque figure.

While driving purists rightly celebrate the fact that you can still buy a supercar with a manual transmission in 2014, the box feels increasingly cumbersome in an era of near-perfect semi-automatics. Unless you crave the ultimate control of a three-pedal set-up, you’ll find the heavy shift and ponderous clutch a real burden – especially when driving in traffic.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430 - rear

The downside is a slightly firm ride, but despite this the Aston is a car that inspires confidence and delivers plenty of feedback through the controls.

MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

No surprises here: keeping an Aston Martin on the road is not a cheap business. Thanks to around 20mpg economy and a £500-a-year road tax bill, you’ll need deep pockets to keep the wheels of your V8 Vantage turning. Add in group 50 insurance and thumping tax liabilities for business users, and you can begin to understand why cars like this are fairly exclusive.

Nevertheless, Aston Martin has made great strides over recent years to make aftercare as affordable as possible, and has introduced a fixed-price servicing scheme as part of this. However, owners will pay £651 for the first 10,000-mile check-up, and £680 for the second, 20,000-mile service.

Interior, design and technology

It’s hard to believe that nearly a decade has passed since the Vantage burst on to the scenes. It’s testament to the original Henrik Fisker design that it still turns heads wherever it goes.

Key to the Vantage’s timeless appeal has been its simplicity. The profile is constructed with clean, precise lines that perfectly intersect where they cause the least visual clutter. The proportions are millimetre perfect, whichever angle you view the car from, while details such as the distinctive tailgate spoiler and front wing air vents are effortlessly integrated into the design.

The passage of time, however, has not been as kind to the interior. Where the rival Jaguar F-Type excites with its bespoke switchgear and attention to detail, the Vantage looks and feels like a car from another generation.

Aston quite rightly emphasises the fact that every Vantage is hand-made – and it’s a tribute to the assembly team that it all works as it should. But look beyond mere functionality, and this car starts to lose its appeal. Such has been the advance in cabin quality over the past five years that the Aston’s hand-me-down switchgear and controls are starting to look fairly ancient.

Practicality, comfort and boot space

Simply opening the door is an experience to savour – it swings out and up on gas struts, revealing expensive materials, gorgeous lighting and an excellent seating position.

The clunky flyaway handbrake by the driver’s door feels like an anachronism in the current era of electric parking brakes, while the steering column could do with more adjustability. 

There's a DBS-style centre console, and the last set of revisions got rid of most of the Ford switchgear, although what's left doesn't detract from the air of sophistication. The Vantage is a strict two-seater, but the hatchback rear end ensures it’s almost as practical as more mainstream models.

Reliability and Safety

Having been around for nearly 10 years, the Vantage is a very well sorted car. Any early problems and niggles have long since been resolved and it enjoys a healthy reliability record. Like the rest of the car, the engine is an established design and isn’t particularly stressed in day-to-day motoring.

As with all hand-built cars, there’s always a margin for human error, but the staff at Aston Martin’s state-of-the-art Gaydon factory in Warwickshire certainly know how to put a car together, with problems few and far between.

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    2dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £114,850

Most Economical

  • Name
    2dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £114,850

Fastest

  • Name
    2dr ZF 8 Speed Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £120,900

More on V8 Vantage

Aston Martin up the ante with new AMR Vantage specials
Aston Martin Vantage AMR specials - front
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
13 Jun 2017

Aston Martin up the ante with new AMR Vantage specials

Aston Martin Vantage V8 and V12 AMR special editions revealed to celebrate the brand’s racing success
Aston Martin V8 Vantage S Great Britain Edition hits Shanghai
Aston Martin V8 Vantage Great Britain Edition - front
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
19 Apr 2017

Aston Martin V8 Vantage S Great Britain Edition hits Shanghai

Limited-run Great Britain Edition on show in Shanghai is the latest bespoke creation from Aston Martin's Q division
Aston Martin V8 and V12 Vantage S Red Bull Racing Editions revealed
Aston Martin V8 and V12 Vantage S Red Bull Racing Editions 1
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
21 Feb 2017

Aston Martin V8 and V12 Vantage S Red Bull Racing Editions revealed

Aston Martin announces new special edition versions of V8 and V12 Vantage S with Red Bull F1 theme
Aston Martin Vantage GT8: details on all new £165k track car
Aston Martin Vantage GT8 - rear quarter
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
28 Jun 2016

Aston Martin Vantage GT8: details on all new £165k track car

The fastest V8 Vantage ever arrives in the shape of the Aston Martin Vantage GT8. Only 150 will be built and the price is £165k
Used Aston Martin Vantage review
Aston Martin Vantage (used) - front
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
25 Apr 2016

Used Aston Martin Vantage review

A full used buyer’s guide on the Aston Martin Vantage (2005-date)
Limited edition Aston Martin V8 Vantage S Blades Edition flies in
Aston Martin V8 Vantage Blades Edition
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
27 Jan 2016

Limited edition Aston Martin V8 Vantage S Blades Edition flies in

Special Blades Edition Aston Martin V8 Vantage S gets upgrades based on aerobatic display team's livery
Track-special Aston Martin V12 Vantage spied at Nürburgring
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
22 Oct 2014

Track-special Aston Martin V12 Vantage spied at Nürburgring

Widebody Aston Martin Vantage mule hints that Aston is developing a more hardcore racer
Jaguar F-Type Coupe vs Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Jaguar F-Type vs Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Jaguar F-Type Coupe
14 Jul 2014

Jaguar F-Type Coupe vs Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Jaguar’s new F-Type V8 R Coupe takes fight to Aston V8 Vantage in supercar shoot-out
Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT launches at New York Motor Show
Aston-Martin-V8-Vantage-front-quarter
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
17 Apr 2014

Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT launches at New York Motor Show

Aston Martin reveals America-only V8 Vantage GT at the New York Motor Show, based on the N430 that arrives in the UK later this year
Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430 and DB9 Carbon editions for Geneva 2014
Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430 front
Aston Martin DB9
19 Feb 2014

Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430 and DB9 Carbon editions for Geneva 2014

Aston Martin's Geneva Motor Show stand is shaping up to be a special edition fest with two new models debuting
Aston Martin V8 Vantage S review
Aston Martin V8 Vantage S front
Aston Martin V8 Vantage S Coupe
13 Jun 2012

Aston Martin V8 Vantage S review

Hardcore track-focused Aston Martin V8 Vantage S coupe adds power, improves handling and increases desirability
Aston Martin V8 Vantage S Roadster review
Aston Martin V8 Vantage S roadster convertible front tracking
Aston Martin V8 Vantage S Convertible
5 May 2012

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
Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster review
Aston Martin V8 Vantage roadster convertible front tracking
Aston Martin V8 Vantage Convertible
5 May 2012

Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster review

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster is the drop-top version of Aston's entry-level sports car