If your tastes tend towards “British” and “hammer,” then Aston Martin is probably one of your more beloved automakers. The newly-refreshed Aston Martin Vantage has been revealed along these very lines. There’s no V12 anymore, but there is a huge gaping mouth that seems ready to devour enemy cars on the highway ahead of you.
Ultimately, the new Vantage is all about performance. It’s touting a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 good for 656 horsepower. It’s less than the 690 hp of the outgoing V12 Vantage, but a healthy leap above the 503 horsepower of the outgoing V8 model. However, despite the power deficit to the former V12, the new model can pull off zero-to-6o mph in 3.4 seconds, just the same. The former V8 could only do it in four 4 seconds, and topped out at 195 mph, where the new car will hit a supercar-appropriate speed of 202 mph.
The extra power is thanks to a heavy reworking of the Mercedes-sourced engine, which sends power to the rear wheels via an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission. The engine has new cams, bigger turbos, a tweaked compression ratio, and a revised cooling system to suit. Indeed, it features two additional coolers added to the main radiator to keep temperatures low, along with a further radiator added to the intercooler’s water circuit. The engine oil cooler had to be enlarged, too. Those additional 153 horsepower don’t come easy!
For now, it’s only available as a coupe, though a drop-top “Volante” model is expected to follow. The styling up front makes it a dead ringer for the Aston Martin One-77, which was produced in a limited run of just 77 examples from 2009 to 2012. It has a gaping maw for a grille, sleek ovoid lights, and straked intakes ahead of each wheel well. You might think of it as lean, sporting, and neo-modern. Or, like our own Adrian Clarke, you might consider it altogether rather poorly.
It’s easy to make an argument that Aston Martin essentially reused a design from 15 years ago for the new Vantage, and that it’s been rehashing the same aesthetic tropes since the early 2000s. I’m not necessarily saying that, but it could be said. To be honest, though, the new Vantage does look less modern than the outgoing model. One grows tired of art-deco strakes and the same old grilles and planforms over and over again. It’s a shame to see the refreshed Vantage go for more of a heritage look when the 2018 model seemed to be reaching for a shinier future.
We can’t entirely talk down the design, though. Aston Martin notes the 38% larger grille offers 29% more airflow by mass than the previous Vantage front end. It’s clearly helping out with regards to that extra power from the V8.
The revised Vantage has been stiffened up, too, to offer better handling than its predecessor. At the rear, Aston Martin added bracing between the rear suspension towers, and upfront, it fiddled with the cross member to tighten things up. It also scores new adaptive dampers with a “500% increase in bandwidth of force distribution.” I took a four-year engineering degree and I can’t even follow what that’s supposed to mean. It seems like the new adaptive dampers are basically more responsive than previously, with greater speed and finer control than previously. Great!
Handling is also aided by the “AML” coded Michelin Pilot Sport 5 S tires, made specifically for the Vantage. They offer the ultimate in grip and response, according to the automaker, though one wonders how much luck you’ll have finding them in ten years time. In any case, we’ll probably have even better tires then, so no matter. Interestingly, though, the Vantage still rocks conventional cast-iron brakes as standard. Carbon brakes are available, but only as an option.
What probably matters most to Aston Martin’s customers, though, is the interior. The existing Vantage had been on the market since 2018, which is an age where interior electronics and infotainment are concerned. That’s all been updated now, with the Vantage getting the new-generation gear seen already in the DB12. The “all-new ultra-luxury” interior features surround sound from Bowers & Wilkins if you stump for premium audio, an appropriately British name for a marque which has, in other ways, departed from its roots.
The new Vantage is, fundamentally, a very cool car in many respects. Is the styling an improvement over what we saw in 2018? For me, no, for you, maybe yes. I’d say it’s a step backward. Inside, though, it’s clearly a big leap forwards, because digital technology waits for nobody.
It’s true, the V12 will be missed as the Vantage moves on. As will the manual, unless it pops back up years later. But for now, it’s still a fuel-sucking British boxer that can bring you the horizon at the twitch of your right foot. Few that sit in the driver’s seat will complain.
Image credits: Aston Martin