Aston’s sports star

It’s taken 12 years, but there’s an all-new Aston Martin Vantage

IF YOU’RE smitten with the Mercedes- AMG GT’s V8, but wince a little looking at it, Aston Martin is your saviour.

Its new 2018 Vantage V8 furthers the model’s direction as the lightest, meanest fighting sports tourer, arriving on a new chassis with a freshly penned design.

The brand has also dropped its own long-serving atmo 4.7-litre V8 for a twin-turbo V8 from the Mercedes- AMG GT range, the 4.0-litre DOHC unit producing 375kW at 6000rpm and 685Nm from 2000-5000rpm. But the similarities end there.

At full berries, the Vantage will snare 100km/h in 3.7 seconds before reaching a top speed of 314km/h.

Engineers have fiddled with pipes going in and out of the engine to unleash a rumble unique to the Vantage, while a “slimmer” wet-sump oil system and new mounts are also claimed to lower the engine.

Further downstream Aston’s held onto a transaxle layout, but installed a ZF eight-speed automatic, which nestles up to an electronicallycontrolled clutch differential. Expect a manual option at a later date.

The drivetrain lives within an all-new chassis developed from the brand’s new generation aluminium platform. Only 30 per cent of it is shared with the DB11 and helps the Vantage weigh in at 1530kg (dry).

Reining it in are brake discs measuring 400m fore and 360mm aft, while double wishbones up front and multi-links out back control a claimed 50/50 weight distribution.

Adaptive dampers hold gorgeous 20-inch wheels in place, but bushings have been banished from the rear subframe that sits between 295mm-wide Pirelli P Zeros.

The dampers’ skyhook programming is tied to adjustable drive modes. Offering Sport, Sport Plus, and Track, they command the exhaust, gearbox, steering, differential, and stability control.

Secure your coffee mug tightly though, because the company warns the Vantage “is not attempting to deliver GT levels of suppleness.”

While the DB11’s looks have so far split opinion, more will agree on the Vantage’s lines. Under a swooping silhouette, new headlights feature before ‘integrated’ side gills lead back to the full-length tail-light.

Aerodynamics play their biggest part yet for the baby Aston. The splitter, diffuser, and ducktail produce an “unprecedented” level of downforce.

While it’s a strict two-seater, there is 350 litres of boot space in the rear. A “high waist” interior theme reaps more headroom, space, and a 10mm lower driving position. Gear selection is done via fixed paddles, and its electricallyassisted steering rack goes from one lock stop to another in 2.4 turns.

Aussie cars come with a tech pack that adds keyless entry, blind-spot monitoring, auto park assist, electronic steering assist, and cruise control as standard. Local pricing is not yet known, but expect it to sit around $300K. Order books are now open with deliveries set to begin in the second quarter of 2018. – LC