The previous Vantage, you know the pretty one introduced from 2004, was a roaring success for Aston Martin. During its 13 year lifespan, over 21,000 Vantages were produced. These included those with V8s and V12, manual and autos, coupe and roadsters. 21,000 might not sound like a big number in the grand scheme of things but for a small company like Aston Martin it was a huge deal. The DB7, Aston’s previously sales star, sold 7500 units in its 10 year production run.
Those are big shoes for this new Vantage to fill. The big headlines are the discontinuation of Aston’s old naturally-aspirated V8 engine and in its place is a new AMG-sourced 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. With 375kW it’s poised to take on some of the world’s best sports cars and the updated Mercedes-Sourced technology is set to bring it in line with its contemporaries.
I spent a few days with the new Aston Martin Vantage to see if this new car has what it takes in the competitive sports car arena. Here are five things I liked and five things I didn’t like about it.
Five Things I Liked About the Aston Martin Vantage
I’m not a big fan of Mercedes’ current designs, they just don’t look right and the fact that they’ve pretty much put an AMG badge on everything has somewhat diluted the brand for me. However, you can’t deny they produce one of the best modern V8s at the moment and that engine has somehow managed to find its way into the body of a gorgeous Aston Martin. With an engine that pulls and pulls. Aston have fine tuned the exhaust note to give it its own unique noise but you can still hear its German origins. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The Vantage is a small car. It’s always been a small car and I’m glad it’s stayed that way. To put it into perspective, this grand British sports car is roughly the same length as the new Toyota Supra, albeit a little bit wider. The smaller size compared to its 2+2 GT siblings in the form of the DB11 and DBS means it’s much easier for driving around town and it’s more nimble outside of town.
Don’t let the sports car tag fool you, this is still very much an Aston Martin so it’ll eat miles up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The ride is never bone shaking hard, unlike AMGs, and you get decent luggage space in the back. The seats are comfortable and supportive too and there’s never too much intrusion inside the cabin from exterior sounds. Unless you put the car in Sport mode, in which case you’ll be greeted by the thunderous note from that engine.
The shortened wheelbase compared to the DB11 makes the Vantage a much more enjoyable car to throw around. There’s near-perfect weight distribution making it that much sweeter to steer on a mountain road. The handling is nicely balanced and predictable, just how a front-engine rear-wheel drive car should feel. When it does get lairy, it’s never too much that you or the electronics won’t be able to sort it out.
Competitive price point
Starting from $249,000, it’s considerably less expensive than the AMG GT S which it shares an engine with, but is in the same ball park as the Porsche 911 Carrera S. Think about that; you can get an Aston Martin with an AMG V8 engine for less than a Mercedes with an AMG V8. An Aston Martin! It looks like that but costs less than a Mercedes. That’s the deal of the century.
Five Things I Disliked About the Aston Martin Vantage
Not as pretty as its predecessor
I’m not going to say it’s an ugly car because it’s far from it. It’s certainly controversial and some won’t like the looks while some will love it. But one thing that’s for sure is the previous Vantage was a more beautiful car. I understand why Aston Martin went in the direction they did for the Vantage; they wanted to separate the design of their cars after criticisms of the previous generation looking identical. However, I just don’t think this new design is as elegant. It’s a bit too fussy for my liking.
Interior is a button frenzy
If you think the exterior is fussy then wait until you see the interior. I wasn’t a huge fan of the dashboard design on the DB11 and DBS but the Vantage takes it to a whole other level. Again, it’s good Aston Martin is differentiating the design language of their models but the Vantage’s interior has more buttons than NASA’s Mission Control. It’s a bit overwhelming at first as there’s literally a button for everything and takes some getting used to. Though some might prefer this approach as opposed to everything being on one singular touchscreen.
Mercedes-sourced infotainment feel old
That said, as with the DB11 Volante, DB11 AMR, and DBS Superleggera I’ve previously tested, the Mercedes-sourced infotainment system is starting to feel its age. It just looks and operates like it’s a generation or two old, which it is. Compared to the archaic system used by Astons of old this is a huge upgrade but it falls behind rivals such as the Porsche 911 and Audi R8 which have much more advanced systems.
Exhaust tips are laughably small
Yes, they’re real, but they’re also hilariously small. Not that size matters, it’s how you use it right? But an aggressive sports coupe should have prominent and aggressive exhausts. Aston will give you quad-exhausts, but at a price of course.
No V12 option (yet)
As great as this AMG V8 is, Aston’s in-house 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12 would be incredible in a small body like this. In the DB11 AMR that engine is producing 470kW. That would be an absolute riot in the smaller Vantage. The upcoming Vantage AMR has been announced to have a manual gearbox, the first manual application to AMG’s modern engine, so it’s not a ridiculous idea to imagine Aston could potentially do a manual V12. Perhaps. Maybe. One can dream.