At the turn of the year I couldn’t have dreamed that I would have driven one Aston Martin from the current range less so two but here we are after spending a day with the new Aston Martin Vantage.
For this day I had a remit to fill. I was tasked to capture some of the sights and history of the Birmingham area. Things weren’t looking promising with a day or two to go with heavy snow forecast but thankfully it missed the West Midlands and I collected the beautiful Magnetic Silver Vantage and headed for Birmingham City Centre.
The new Vantage is a two seater, front engined sports car with a 4.0litre twin turbo V8 engine from AMG fettled by Aston Martin to create the characteristics and sound you expect from and Aston Martin. It produces a not inconsiderable 503bhp and 685nm of torque giving a 0-62mph time of 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 195mph.
Immediately apparent within the first few miles was just how smooth this engine and gearbox feel when you are pottering. For a turbocharged engine it delivers power strongly but feels linear and manageable and it works perfectly with the automatic gearbox. Just what you want when faced with average speed cameras and built up areas. For all that smoothness however, you get a satisfying warble every time you go near the throttle even in the most sedate drivers setting. This car was fitted with the more aesthetically pleasing quad sports exhaust and once in the city centre the sound burbled off of the buildings in a pleasing inoffensive manor. It really feels an event at any speed. In the city the car felt manageable and didn’t feel too large compared to its big brother, the DBS. I felt far more at ease driving it in confined spaces as a result.
I spent an hour or two taking some pictures around the Jewellery Quarter and near the famous Cadbury’s World in Bournville without getting close to stretching the legs of the Vantage but it was great to see how usable it is in day to day driving. We may have avoided the snow but we were still faced with freezing temperatures and lots of ice which came into play as I headed out of the city. Following a short motorway run where the car felt as planted and refined as you would expect an Aston to be it was only some slippery countryside road in search of some photographs of some of the stunning canal network that fed Birmingham during the industrial revolution.
I quickly discovered that ungritted routes were to be avoided with glass like ice everywhere and not wanting to damage the £130000 plus Vantage my pre planned photo spots were narrowed down considerably. I did eventually reach the perfect spot at Hatton Locks and managed to get some beautiful shots in the winter sunshine.
With the gritted routes finally drying out I made my way into the Cotswolds and it feels like taking the little Aston home. With the factory close by you forever see new Astons being tested on these wonderful roads and there seemed no better place to start to open up this little rocket ship. And a rocket ship it is! It may not have to terrifying pace of its big brother but this is one seriously rapid car and with its more modest power output you have more confidence and more chance of deploying all of the power far more often. Traction on the whole is excellent in the dry and manageable in the wet and considering the temperatures we were dealing with that day that has to be applauded in a 500+hp rear wheel drive car. And the noise…..
Where around town the V8 burbled away, placed in its sportier driving modes and with more of the power unleashed this little beast of a car screams. It’s still a deep dirty sound but it has to be one of the loudest turbocharged cars out there currently with the sports exhaust fitted. The pops and cracks sound like gunshots on upshifts and bird scarers on downshifts. It is hilarious fun! I can’t think of another car in this sector that could match the audible drama of the Vantage with perhaps the exception of the AMG GT which shares this engine. Threading this fantastic car down country lanes all afternoon demonstrated the exceptionally balanced handling to be had and the brilliant ride quality throughout which is both firm and well damped. It is every bit the sports car without completely being rid of some GT car qualities.
This is no stripped out track car with an exceptionally luxurious interior that feels every
bit at home in a car of this price point and could shame cars costing even more. Equipment is plentiful and it feels modern without losing that feeling on being a proper Aston with beautifully crafted red leather everywhere the eye can see. It really does feel like a special place to spend time. The seats are as comfortable as they are supportive and the driving position spot on even for taller folk. Luggage space is plentiful as is interior room for two people for a car of this type. It’s difficult to fault from that perspective.
It’s in the Cotswold with its yellow stone buildings and pretty streams and rivers that you can really appreciate the classy yet stand out design of the Vantage. It blends in to the quaint villages perfectly but still always looks special. Even in more outlandish specifications it never looks crass as a Lamborghini might in these surroundings. Several hours were had taking photographs in the beautiful countryside enjoying the roads in between and far too soon it was all over once again but not before the day departed with a beautiful sunset.
The Vantage was even better than I had hoped it would be. It’s almost as fast, luxurious and beautiful as the DBS Superleggera but more manageable, attainable and even better handling than the V12 beast. It has character and opulence its rivals can only dream of matching and best of all nobody will hate you for driving one. Everybody loves an Aston Martin after all!
Again, enormous thanks go to Grange Aston Martin Birmingham for the opportunity to photograph and experience their Vantage demonstrator. Their details are all down below so give them a follow or a call for all your Aston Martin needs. Make sure you follow me on here and Instagram to see my latest photographs and updates.