The Aston Martin Vantage nameplate was first used in 1951 to denote a high-output engine option for the DB2. However, it was not long before the name became that for a model line of its own. Over the 70 years, some of the famous models have been the William Towns-designed V8 Vantage, spectacular twin-supercharged V600 Le Mans, and the much-loved V8 Vantage.
This month sees a new generation of the Vantage introduced, bringing with it a bold and distinctive design language. Pure, sculptural forms create an athletic, predatory stance, while the minimal front and rear overhangs, muscular flanks and broad haunches express the agility and dynamism inherent within the car. New head and tail lights form dramatic new signatures giving the Vantage unmistakable road presence and contribute to a strong and individual identity within the growing Aston Martin model range.
Aerodynamic performance was central to the Vantage design concept: the front splitter directs airflow underneath the car, where a system of fences channels cooling air where it is needed, and also ensures the rear diffuser is fed with clean airflow. The design of the diffuser creates an area of low pressure air, while simultaneously preventing turbulence generated by the rear wheels from disrupting the flow of air exiting centrally from beneath the rear of the car.
Together with the new side gills, which have been integrated into the body surface and bleed air pressure out from the front wheel arches, and the pronounced upswept rear deck lid, the Vantage generates a significant level of downforce – a rarity on any production car and a first for a core production Aston Martin model.
The design story continues inside the Vantage, with a dynamic and focused sportscar cockpit that rejects long, fluid curves in favour of sharp, focused lines denoting the more aggressive nature of the car. A high waist interior theme and lower driving position creates a more immersive driving experience, and contributes to significant gains in occupant space and significant improvement in headroom compared with the outgoing Vantage.
A combination of rotary and toggle style controls have been used for their tactile and intuitive functionality. Likewise, the PRND automatic transmission buttons have been moved into a triangular formation so as to cluster major controls into clearly defined zones. The interior also offers generous stowage space, with useable room behind the seats and generous double-tier storage areas.
The heart of the Vantage is Aston Martin’s potent new alloy, 4-litre twin-turbo V8 engine. Set low and as far back in the chassis as possible for optimal centre-of-gravity and perfect 50:50 weight distribution, this high performance, high efficiency engine develops 510 ps/685 Nm. With a dry weight of 1530 kgs, this gives the Vantage formidable power-to-weight and torque-to-weight ratios. Detailed tuning of the induction, exhaust and engine management systems has given the Vantage an intoxicating character and ‘soundtrack’.
The Vantage deploys its impressive power and torque through the rear wheels via a rear-mounted ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. Capable of accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds and on to a maximum speed of 314 km/h, it employs a sophisticated suite of integrated electronic systems to offer maximum control and driver enjoyment. These include Dynamic Stability Control and Dynamic Torque Vectoring.
For the first time on an Aston Martin, the new Vantage also features an Electronic Rear Differential (E-Diff). This differential is linked to the car’s electronic stability control system so it can understand the car’s behaviour and react accordingly to direct the engine’s power to the relevant wheel. Unlike a conventional LSD, it can go from fully open to 100% locked in a matter of milliseconds.
At higher speeds, the E-Diff’s speed and sensitivity of response enables the system to take very fine control of the car’s dynamic behaviour. It makes the car feel much more composed both in terms of its straight-line stability and its cornering performance, providing the driver with increased levels of confidence to explore and enjoy the car’s capabilities to the full.
The chassis is an evolution of the latest generation bonded aluminium structure first seen on the DB11, though some 70% of the structure’s components are new for Vantage. Balance, strength, rigidity and weight efficiency were all priorities in the new design, as was handling purity and consistency.
Highlights of the chassis include a solidly mounted rear subframe for an enhanced feeling of direct connection for the driver, new high-performance tyres developed specifically for model and the latest generation Adaptive Damping System which incorporates Skyhook technology and offers the choice of Sport, Sport Plus and Track modes.
Thanks to full integration of engine, transmission, E-Diff, Dynamic Torque Vectoring, Dynamic Stability Control, Adaptive Damping and the electric power steering systems, each mode optimises every area of the car as one. With each step, the Vantage gains in agility and responsiveness, its character becoming progressively sharper, more vocal and more exciting.
The Vantage features a high level of standard equipment, as would be expected for the price you pay. Being an Aston Martin, it also features a high level of craftsmanship, evidenced by flawless paintwork, luxurious Alcantara and leather upholstery and the levels of finish optimised through the use of tactile natural materials of the highest quality.
There is also extensive scope for personalisation via a generous choice of options. These include forged alloy wheels in a variety of finishes, Sports Plus Collection (comprising Sports Plus seats and Sports steering wheel), carbon fibre interior and exterior detailing and a Premium Audio System.
“It speaks volumes for the outgoing Vantage that it is the single most successful model in Aston Martin’s history. Creating a worthy successor has been a challenge to relish and a huge source of motivation. I’m enormously excited by what we’ve created: a new Vantage that’s more explicit in looks and intent, wrapping heart-pounding performance and dazzling dynamics into an everyday usable package. A true sportscar with a sharper look and a keener dynamic edge, the new Vantage is the Aston Martin pure driving machine enthusiasts have been waiting for,” said Aston Martin President & CEO, Dr. Andy Palmer.
In the UK, the new Vantage has a retail price starting from £120,900 (about RM663,000). The first customers will receive their cars during the second quarter of 2018.