Aston V8 Vantage

A round of revisions mean the baby Aston gets closer than ever to toppling the Porsche 911.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Since its launch in 2005, the V8 Vantage has been the best Aston on sale – and now it’s even better. It’s a great all-rounder that looks good, goes fast and provides surprising comfort. The new 4.7-litre V8 is fantastic, while the suspension tweaks increase the fun factor. Porsche’s 911 remains a more complete car, but this Vantage is one of the finest Astons ever. Plus, it’s also fabulous to look at and promises to be a rare sight.

So, a round of updates wasn’t really what Mercedes’ B-Class needed – a clean sheet design would have served it better. But can this revised version of Aston Martin’s V8 Vantage finally match its arch-rival, the Porsche 911?

It’s arguably the best model in the line-up, and only two things have held the supercar back since its launch in 2005: the need for more power and sharper handling. With a new engine and upgraded suspension, the manufacturer has addressed both issues.

Under the bonnet, engineers have enlarged the V8 from 4.3 to 4.7 litres by increasing the bore and stroke. As a result, power rises from 380bhp to 420bhp at 7,000rpm, while the peak torque output is boosted from 410Nm to 470Nm at 5,750rpm.

To provide greater agility, the front and rear springs are 11 per cent and five per cent stiffer respectively, while Bilstein dampers improve the ride.

And the changes don’t end there. Inside, the Vantage inherits the DBS’s centre console, including an Emotion Control Unit: a clumsy-looking piece of glass and steel that plugs into the dash, replacing the key/starter button set-up. Com-pleting the revisions is a new hard disc-based sat-nav system.

On the road, it’s clear that Aston has moved the Vantage on. While the old car required a heavy right foot, the increased capacity makes it more responsive at low revs. The 0-60mph time has been cut by two-tenths-of-a-second to 4.7 seconds – but more impressive is the broader spread of punch, with strong urge from idle all the way to the 7,000rpm red line.

Of course, it sounds as good as ever, with active bypass valves in the exhausts opening at 4,000rpm, filling the cabin with a hard-edged V8 rumble. And despite the increased pace, economy and emissions are better.

On winding roads, the stiffer suspension settings make the Vantage more agile, while the dampers absorb bumps superbly. If only the steering had more feel, the Aston would challenge the 911. Still, it’s great fun to drive, with lots of grip and an incredible engine – and it remains one of the best-looking sports cars around.

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