Home » Be Interesting: Don’t Buy The 911, Buy An Aston Martin Vantage Instead

Be Interesting: Don’t Buy The 911, Buy An Aston Martin Vantage Instead

Aston Martin Vantage Ts
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There are too damn many Porsche 911s out there, reckons Aston Martin, and it’s come up with a new take on its best weapon to take ‘em on: the new Vantage. With more power, a sharper look, and the company’s latest logo stamped on the nose, the latest ‘entry-level’ Aston isn’t mucking about.

Aston’s been using the Vantage name for decades now. It used to mean ‘the fast one’ in a lineup, but then it became a car of its very own. It was the mid-aughts when it was thrown onto the back of a smaller, more nimble (ish) car designed to bring new people to the brand, and to stick a middle finger up at the 911. The car that launched in 2005 did decent numbers, and stuck around for 12 years. Over its run, just shy of 25,000 of them left Gaydon, which, for Aston, is lots. It helps that there were numerous versions of it as time went on–the 6.0-liter V12 was as gloriously batshit as it sounds.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Replacing it wasn’t an easy job–lots of people liked the old one–but Aston had a decent crack at it. This time with turbocharged Merc-sourced grunt and a less traditional face, it did pretty well, but it didn’t seem to ‘do the do’ in the same way as the old one. Admittedly neither were as agile, well made, or dynamically excellent as the German they were designed to take down. The latest car, Aston hopes, is.

[Full disclosure: Aston Martin asked if I’d like to fly from London to Seville, stay at a nice hotel, eat nice food, and drink nice things, and then go driving in its car on road and track. It’s a tough life, being an autojourno.]

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What’s New Then?

Aston Martin Vantage 658As far as newness goes, it sits on broadly the same setup as its immediate predecessors, but with a raft of quite aggressive changes. Power’s up to 656 bhp and torque hits 590 lb-ft. By Aston’s stopwatch, it’ll clip 60 mph from rest in 3.4 seconds, and hit 202 mph. All that’s thanks to a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 firing power to the rear wheels via a tweaked eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Aston Martin Vantage 640

Its interior is no longer a gentle look back at what Merc’s COMAND system used to be like. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t what you’d hope for from, well, Aston Martin. Now it’s equipped with a digital instrument binnacle, and a big-ish touch screen, and, get this, real actual buttons that do stuff!

The screen is reserved for things you don’t need to interact with urgently, while your buttons adjust useful things like music volume, damper stiffness, and tailpipe loudness (two prods of the button turns it red and will make you do a big silly grin). There’s even a big twisty knob around the start button that’ll let you select your drive modes. A pleasing mix of digital and analog, then.

The new interior ‘do’ isn’t just focussed on the tech, but on luxury as well. Aston’s keen to up its image a little–while it’s already very much a top tier brand, it wants to be… more. And it wants to be up there performance-wise as well. A ‘lil bit of everything, basically.

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Astonmartinvantage©photomaxearey 9979

Its suspension and damping have been given a going over, as has its aero–you can’t miss its massive maw (38% bigger than the last Vantage, and that was hardly small), which is good for two reasons. The first is that an Aston without the correct grille can look a bit odd. The second is because its motor, now with more power than most people will ever truly need in their lifetimes, needs lots of air to stop it from going bang. The side effect is a suitably epic-looking front end. Its whole new look is pretty stunning (though I’m sure Adrian won’t agree for myriad reasons), retaining the right stuff to make it instantly recognisable as an Aston, but keeping things nice and separate from both what’s been before and its stablemates. It’s almost as though someone fed the last car through a big machine marked ‘GLOW UP’ and spammed the big red button.

Aston Martin Vantage 594

Both the engineering and design departments have been busy enough to make the marketing team’s job easier, it seems. At least on paper. It’s got more power than almost all of its competitors, and i think it can go toe to toe with any of them on the looks front, and as we all know–people respect you in an Aston Martin, and largely think you’re a prick if you’re in a 911. That doesn’t automatically make the British car better than the German, but it should score a point or two.

New Good. Drive … Gooder?

Aston Martin Vantage 506Aston trusted me enough to throw me some keys and go for a strut around the Monteblanco circuit in Spain. They also had Aston Martin Racing factory driver, and multiple Le Mans winner Darren Turner on hand to show us the ropes. Turner knows more about driving Aston Martins around race tracks than I do, so when he offered to show me the ropes I thought I’d take him up on it.

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With a sensible person in the passenger seat telling which way left and right are, I could concentrate on giving the car a shoeing. Giving it space to breathe, exploring just how brisk 656 bhp feels, Aston’s smallest motor is really quite something. Sure, 0-60 in 3.something is a nice number to whip out in a bar, but the way it gets up and goes is neither gentle, nor calming when provoked.

Aston Martin Vantage 734Stab the pedal on the right and it kicks you up the road. As it’s doing that, with the car in Sport+ (you can choose from Sport, Sport+, Track, Individual, and Wet), it’s dialed in for stiff springs, the odd bump on track, and its powertrain set to ‘cross.’ The car moves around pleasingly, telling you what it’s going to do–power in too hard and it’ll let you know with understeer, get it right and you’ll feel incredible.

At 3538 lbs (dry, so add a chunk for two people after a lunch, fuel, bravery, keys in the door bin, etc) it’s not exactly a gym bunny, yet the way it holds itself at speed would have you believe otherwise. It’ll move around beneath you, tires delightfully squealing as you go, but the body doesn’t throw itself around with any hint of violence. Instead, it was talking to me, showing me what it could do. It wasn’t clinical in its approach, though it’s set up to be a ‘proper’ sports car of course, but the way it makes you want to drive it feels less about lap times and apex hunting, and more about having a ball. Guess what a 911 would aim for…

Aston Martin Vantage 760

There’s staged traction control so you can learn to push its limits, too. Its eight-speed auto is slick, and changes quicker than a human could even attempt to muster. It’s A Good Car on track – especially when you have a pro sitting next to you telling you where to go.

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The Track’s One Thing, What About The Road?

Aston Martin Vantage 568On the road, its standard setting is ‘Sport.’ Despite its toughish name, the dampers keep things comfortable, the engine isn’t intrusive, and it won’t bite your head off. While in Porsche Land there’s a flavor of 911 for literally everyone (last time I counted there were 26 variants to choose from not counting manual/auto splits), there’s only one Vantage (though a drop top will come in due course). Oh, and the Vantage has more power than the current range-topping 911 Turbo. As such, it needs to be fun on the track, but also a perfect daily driver.

Aston Martin Vantage 554

Puttering around rural Spain, it’s an affable cruiser. Leave it to its own devices and it’ll brisky get you to where you need to go. You’ll enjoy its Bowers and Wilkins stereo, you’ll occasionally flick at its touch screen, and you’ll start pressing buttons on the center console because, praise be, there are some. Once you’ve ‘accidentally’ set the exhaust to its loudest setting, and then your hand, somehow, slithered over to the drive mode wheel and made the car’s powertrain awfully responsive, your stress-free amble becomes a little more engaging.

Aston Martin Vantage 644

Once again, it becomes the sort of car that wants you to learn, push, and explore, but it will give you room to be a fool before biting you. And not having the pipes set to EXTREMELY LOUD is something of a crime. It’s not a clinical drive. There are pops and bangs and pleasing shapes, and farty noises to pepper your commute.

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You can use it as A Car if you want to. Of course, if you want to be a bit of a muppet you can. You might find the steering to be a bit on the light side. It didn’t bother me, but I did notice it. Good thing is, you can feel what’s going on under the front wheels while you’re enjoying yourself.

Should Porsche Be Scared?

Aston Martin Vantage 517Aston needs this to be the scrappy upstart that you can use on the daily, but it can’t outdo the DB12 when it comes to touring. It feels suitably angrier, and is obviously smaller. It’s definitely more on the fun side, too. For the driver in a hurry, it’ll more than adequately do the job.

The question on a lot of lips will be: ‘is it better than a 911?’ On a track, probably not. Especially as there’s a 911 designed explicitly for track work: a GT3 RS is basically a sodding race car, and this isn’t. On the road? A lightweight Carrera T is more than anyone could conceivably need, and that’s got a little over half the power of the Aston.

The Aston has something to it, though. It’s not a GT3 RS, and would be worse off if it tried to be. It’s fun and noisy and silly on track, but still, when used properly, makes you feel like a hero. On the road, you can use its power as much or as little as you’d like and still have an absolute blast. It has to be good at everything, and it is. There are a heap of 911s, but Aston only needs one Vantage.

Photos: All Alex Goy! Not only can he write, he can take photos. What a gent.

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Dave
Dave
3 days ago

Aston Martins are wonderful cars. Alex Goy is a wonderful writer. These two together? *Chef’s kiss*

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
9 days ago

I’m a big fan of Aston Martin. This new AMfrom the front looks like a giant Catfish caught by Jeremy Wade. It needs antenna coming out sideways to finish the look. There is no way I’d buy a 911 over an Aston Martin but I would not be buying this version. Why are auto manufacturers competing to design the ugliest cars. I mean a catfish is ugly by genetics this AM is ugly by design. It ludicrous people are paid large sums of money to do their job so poorly. But if forced I’ll take the Catfish over the squashed VW Beetle.

JKcycletramp
JKcycletramp
9 days ago

I’m dubious of the premise that Aston people are less insufferable than Porsche people. At least with a Porsche one’s exposure to James Bond references is minimized.

Dingus
Dingus
9 days ago

To anyone complaining that this thing is ugly, just remember, our future is a bunch of sneaker-shaped EVs.

Whichever one of you has 200k lying around should probably buy this so the rest of us poors can at least see something interesting and loud on our once-yearly visit to someplace fancy that we can’t afford. That way we can quip to our rich boss that “Oh, I don’t really care for that Aston, there was one parked out in front of a restaurant where I was having lunch” even though you only got an appetizer and a water because otherwise, it’s too expensive.

Then you can get back into your electric Crosstrek and drive back home satisfied.

3WiperB
3WiperB
9 days ago

If buying new, the 911 is probably going to hold it’s value way better. Who am I kidding though… I’m a winning lottery ticket away from ever being able to make such a decision, but I don’t play the lottery.

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
9 days ago

I wonder how much “cross shopping” is really done in this segment. Even the very wealthy who just see this like you or I would see buying a Corolla probably have preconceptions about what they want (as opposed to someone fulfilling a dream to own a certain car). If you are a Porsche guy, you are buying the Porsche, no matter how good the Aston or Mercedes is.

AlterId
AlterId
9 days ago

It’s not as common as a Porsche (the first big marker of the barrow boy made good in the City or on Wall Street), I guess. and certainly not as vulgar as a Lamborghini or most Ferraris, to say nothing (and please say nothing) of what the Germans have done to Bentley and Rolls-Royce. But – and maybe I feel this way because I’m older and thus lean more in the direction of a grand tourer that you won’t see coming and going every day – isn’t the best choice an inherited Bristol instead?

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
9 days ago

He’s right. I don’t. The facelifted previous version was a lot better than this, which grill shape aside doesn’t feel very Aston at all – it’s quite generic. What they should have done way back when was just fucking DB10 as a regular production model, which remains their best effort since the DB9.

Goose
Goose
9 days ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

I’m going to counter that and say the DB10 is their best effort since the 2005 Vantage – not the DB9 – just because the Vantage came out a year after the DB9.

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
9 days ago
Reply to  Goose

Let’s not forget the DBS which came out in ’07 as a ’08 model year… but that was basically a DB9. And when the Vanquish name came back in ’12, that was great too.

The DB10 just never looked right to me. Something with the nose/grille/headlights. I mean, it’s not ugly, but something about it just looks off to me.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
9 days ago
Reply to  Goose

I was kinda including the DBS in my comment, but yes manual DBS Casino Royale spec please.

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
9 days ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Did they ever fix the roll over issues? I seem to remember it happened when making mild-evasive maneuvers to avoid running over damsels in the middle of the road. A shame such a beautiful car was plagued by such a glaring issue.

Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
8 days ago
Reply to  BolognaBurrito

I remember seeing the behind-the-scenes about how they had to use not only a ramp, but a rocket to get it to roll at all, and then achieved that 7x barrel roll.

Last edited 8 days ago by Cryptoenologist
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
9 days ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Yeah but then you don’t need designers.

TheFanciestCat
TheFanciestCat
9 days ago

I like this. What’s not to like? It’s new. It’s cool. It’s powerful. It’s flashy. It’s extra completive because it knows who it’s trying to take on. But I see the 911 (in the majority of its forms) as the ultimate sports car daily driver. Other brands just can’t beat the 911 on timelessness or their livability.

In 4 years when this feels very much like a car that was interesting in 2024, the 911 will still be a 911. To some, I’m sure that newness will be a selling point and a major positive, which is an opinion I can respect. I’m sure to others the evolutionary styling of the 911 is boring and big negative, which is also an opinion I can respect, but even if money was no object, I would be putting down $185,000 for an optioned out Targa 4S over one of these.

Last edited 9 days ago by TheFanciestCat
Mister Win
Mister Win
9 days ago
Reply to  TheFanciestCat

I disagree completely. If an Aston Martin Vantage from 8 years ago is sitting next to a new 911, nobody’s looking at the Porsche.

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
9 days ago
Reply to  Mister Win

True, but the Porsche will be worth at least double what the Vantage is.

My brother owns a V8 Vantage, and it’s a fantastic car that you get a lot of attention in. But it was a fraction of the price of even a base spec 911 from the same year.

Aardvark775
Aardvark775
9 days ago

Not sure if it looks more like a catfish or a frog. Either way, it easily tops the beaver-faced BMWs on the ugliness scale. No way anyone buys this hideous thing over the relatively tasteful 911, no matter the specs.
People spending that kind of money on a vehicle want it to look impressive, not like something that just crawled out of a pond.

Logan King
Logan King
9 days ago

This is a significantly worse looking car than the one Aston sourced the engine from.

Goof
Goof
9 days ago

One thing I noticed when the 2018 Vantage hit is you lost significant cargo space compared to the 2005-2017. The 05-17 had a small shelf behind the rear seats (where the 12V battery was, amongst other things), and the cargo ahead under the rear liftback hatch seemed a bit easier to stuff larger items into.

With the 2018 you lost the shelf, and there’s now strut tower braces in the primary rear cargo area as well, all while the whole car got a bit chunkier.

Kind of a downer, as an adVANTAGE of the 05-17 car is it was fairly practical for something with the footprint of a 2005 economy car, but with enjoyable engines.

Last edited 9 days ago by Goof
Deathspeed
Deathspeed
10 days ago

This is an exciting looking machine. I have never been a fan of the 911, any generation. They look like flattened VW Beetles to me. But Beetles at least have charm and character.

Cerberus
Cerberus
10 days ago

Like Porsche, Aston Martin is another company trapped by heritage and unimaginative customers into evolutionary styling. In an old episode of Beavis and Butthead, they turn on some generic video and Butthead says something like, “Yup, that’s pretty much what I expected to see.” That plays in my head with every new AM or Porsche. If Porsche were the only ones making sports cars and they were a quarter of the price, I still wouldn’t buy one and especially not these fat EPAS 911s with the modern derivation of the same old bland styling I was bored with as a kid in the ’80s. Wouldn’t buy this either, but I don’t see 50 a day and the engine is where it belongs, though I wonder just how much fun that power is on real world streets in a fragile $200k package. Holy Athena, have I become so jaded or is it all just that predictable and boring? And to think, they aren’t even EVs.

Racingtown
Racingtown
10 days ago

I’d still have a 911… its what I had on my wall as a kid. No Aston could complete.

Not that it matters… I couldn’t afford either.

Rod Millington
Rod Millington
10 days ago

I think the old front end looked better, this reminds me of the F Type facelift where the front doesn’t match the rest of the car anymore.

The NSX Was Only in Development for 4 Years
The NSX Was Only in Development for 4 Years
10 days ago

I think it’s a great-looking thing, and it’s encouraging for long-term reliability that it has an AMG engine, but a $50k-ish premium over a Carrera GTS is not at all insignificant, even for someone who can afford both.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
9 days ago

I’d still take this over the Carrera. It’s so much prettier.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
10 days ago

Isn’t a 911 a 2+2?
This isn’t.

Make my Aston a DB12 Volante – with real wood (the original carbon fibre) trim.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
10 days ago

Built Ford Tuff 😛

Angular Banjoes
Angular Banjoes
10 days ago

It’s a lovely thing to be sure, but I’m still buying the 911.

V10omous
V10omous
10 days ago

Seems a bit unfair not to mention when comparing them that this costs more than any non capital-T Turbo 911.

For my money I’d rather have the AMG engine in the actual AMG GT, but maybe that’s just me. Aston Martins have never really appealed to me.

Juan Rodríguez
Juan Rodríguez
9 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

I´d would agree if we´re talking about the previous gen AMG GT. This new one is just the SL with a fixed roof. The Vantage is the more similar package to the old GT. Though I do think that the british car is prettier.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
9 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

That’s the thing with the 911, you can start shopping thinking you can stretch to a base model then convince yourself you can afford one upgrade after another. Whereas with the Aston you start shopping with a much bigger budget in your head. It cuts out a lot of potential customers.

Tekamul
Tekamul
9 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

Don’t worry, by 2028, a 2025 AM will be significantly cheaper than a 2025 911. That’s when you get them.

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