Aston Martin Vantage V8 Coupe review
The V8 engine and fabulous design make the Vantage a sure-fire hit
Driving In 2008, the Aston’s original 4.3-litre V8 was boosted to 4.7-litres, power rising to 420bhp. It shoots to 60mph in just 4.7 seconds, onto 180mph. The spread of torque is better and it is more responsive at lower revs. It also sounds fantastic. Above 4,000rpm, the exhaust rasps, barks and crackles, and the engine thrives on revs. There’s a choice of manual or Speedshift semi-automatic gearboxes; we prefer the latter, with its column-mounted paddles, though it does cost £3,000 more. To drive, the Vantage is incredibly entertaining. Over smooth surfaces, it sweeps around corners effortlessly, the chassis proving superbly balanced – something enhanced in 2008 with stiffer front and rear springs, plus Bilstein dampers to improve the ride. If only the steering had more feel, the Aston would challenge the Porsche 911. Nevertheless, it’s still an involving driver’s car.
Marketplace The Vantage is offered in Coupe or Roadster guise, and both are beautiful. Indeed, the Roadster loses none of the hard-top’s beauty, and it’s hard to think of a better-looking convertible. What’s more, the detailing on both is superb. So it should be, given the high list prices. Aston offers several optional packs to boost handling and interior comfort, as well as an extensive array of exclusive options, while there have also been special edition models such as the bright orange N400. Rivals include high-end Porsche 911s, the Jaguar XKR, Maserati GranTurismo and Mercedes SL.
Owning 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 jewel-like instruments and ‘Emotion Control Unit – a piece of glass and steel that plugs into the dash, instead of a conventional key – add to the sense of occasion. Yes, there are some Ford and Volvo parts on display, but they don’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. Compact dimensions and light weight mean economy comes surprisingly close to the 18.7mpg official average, and were improved with the enlargement to 4.7 litres. This should offset the £800 service costs every 10,000 miles. Retained values appear to be excellent too – this is a much in-demand car.