I got a last minute call from my local Aston Martin dealer, Grange Aston Martin Birmingham, who said they had the new Vantage in the showroom for just a few more hours and would I like to come and view it and take some photographs. Needless to say I was straight over there and I was greeted by a stunning dark blue example of the car I had not seen before during my ‘stalking’ of the test cars.
When the new Vantage was first revealed in pictures I really wasn’t keen. It looked like a Mazda MX5 from the front and didn’t seem to have the aggressive elegance of an Aston Martin. The first time I spotted one of the road I completely changed my mind. It is low and wide and has some significant road presence for good measure. Seeing the car close up and this was further highlighted. It really does look significantly more impressive in the metal than in even the best photographs of the car.
I was shown around the car by Dean who kindly explained some of the design features around the car starting at the back which is by far my favourite view of the car anyway. The luggage bay is large and could accommodate two peoples luggage for a week or so with no problems at all. There is a prominent diffuser in-between and under the two exhaust channels which stand around the two single exit tailpipes. The tailpipes have always looked too small for a car of this type to me and this view didn’t change in person but Dean informed me that there is an optional quad tailpipe set up on the way which will rectify one of the few criticisms I can muster against this beautiful car. Around the tailpipes there are hexagonal designs to allow air flow and Dean explained to me how computer design could not calculate what Aston Martin wanted to achieve so each hexagon was cut by eye alone to a perfect finish.
Moving from the rear we moved to the side where I was shown how the air channels down the side of the car through vents in front of the doors. These vents were finished in beautiful gloss carbon fibre on this car but are available in body colour or gloss black as well should you desire. There are hidden air channels and holes under the car all aiding air flow and downforce which is essential on such a performance oriented car if big wings are not to be required. The car was also fitted with the lightweight matte black wheels which looked fantastic. I’ve somehow never seen matte black wheels on a car in person and didn’t think I would like them but they are distinctive and beautiful to the eye.
Moving to the front of the car we opened the bonnet which is a huge clamshell pressed from one single piece of aluminium. The designers insisted upon this so that there were no joins visible and no air intakes were allowed in the bonnet either.
Under the bonnet is the Mercedes derived 4.0l twin turbo V8 engine with both turbos housed in the V of the engine to allow them to get as hot as possible in an attempt to reduce turbo lag. All that heat needs somewhere to escape however and with no bonnet vents allowed an opening in the lower grill sends air through a channel under the bonnet straight into the V of the engine, keeping its 503 horses cool which is important in a car capable of 0-62 mph in 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 195 mph.
Opening the infamous swan doors and you are greeted by a sporty yet luxurious interior finished in this car with black leather with blue accents and stitching, with Vantage embossed onto the seats in blue on both sides. The car feels modern and has a beautiful carbon centre console with the gearbox controls as well as the heater and screen controls to hand. There has been a lot of criticism thrown at this car for its interior components being too similar to its donor Mercedes insides but to my eye they have taken the reliability and efficiency of the Mercedes infotainment and switch gear and amalgamated it into a stunningly designed Aston Martin interior. I struggle to see a downside to this. I might have found more fault with this if the switch gear was from a 1990’s Ford Fiesta like in the DB7. Yes, Aston Martin have done this before like many smaller volume manufacturers. Everything inside the car feels very well put together with plenty of detail where it matters and makes you feel as special as an Aston Martin should. The cabin is compact without feeling too small and would be lovely to spend a long period of time in or equally support you as you throw it down your favourite road.
The original Aston Martin Vantage was a jaw droppingly beautiful car but was showing its age a little and Aston Martin have brought it right into the now and set it up for the future with the right technology, one of the best new turbocharged engines out there and looks that will appeal to a 15 year old boy as much as the 60 year old gentlemen that would have been the mainstay of Aston clientele 10 years ago. For many the appeal of the mechanical feeling old car with its naturally aspirated soundtrack will have been lost somewhat but the advantages of the new turbocharged engine are huge. I do think the old model was a more pleasing thing to look at but that is like saying a Labrador puppy is a more pleasing thing to look at than a kitten. I’d love a Labrador puppy but I really want a kitten too. Can I have both? In reality I can’t have either but that’s what dreams are for and the new Vantage is a car worth dreaming about. I really hope one day I get to live that dream out for real. It would certainly be less fighty than the puppy kitten scenario.
A huge thank you to Grange Aston Martin, Birmingham for having me over and please follow, like and comment to let me know what you think.