ASTON MARTIN has tossed its cookie cutter in the bin. The unapologetically styled Vantage you see here is a dramatic departure from the previousgen model and not only slashes another tether to the fading Ford ownership era but silences sceptics who predicted the new version would simply downscale the DB11 design language. But, as important as the aesthetics of an Aston are, this Vantage has the performance credentials to match.
With 375kW on tap it has the most potent V8 yet slotted under the bonnet of an Aston, but when combined with a crash diet and new platform underpinnings, the next-gen Vantage takes a quantum step up in athleticism too. Compared with the outgoing 321kW 4.7-litre V8 Vantage, the new version is nearly a full second quicker to 100km/h, doing the dash in a blistering 3.6 seconds, and even knocks the more powerful V12 into a cocked hat too.
Top speed is 314km/h.
Its heroic performance is partly thanks to Mercedes-AMG, which provides some of the magic that lends similar performance to its GT two-seater range, starting with the engine. The Aston’s front-midmounted 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 is effectively a crate engine fresh off the Affalterbach hand-built production line, which is then ‘Aston Martinised’ for the Vantage rmance through a completely revised engine management map.
The Vantage’s peak power sits somewhere between the entry 350kW GT and the 384kW GT S, but Aston’s engineers focused on torque for its purposes, resulting in a mountainous 685Nm – just 15Nm shy of the AMG GT R flagship.
Like the Merc, power is sent exclusively to the rear via a transaxle but for the Aston, the unit is a torque-converter type with eight ratios compared with the AMG’s seven-speed dual-clutch. Supplementing the transmission is a torque tube and electronically controlled differential with torque vectoring – the first of its kind for an Aston.
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YEARBOOK 2017 Some panel work is traditional steel but an extruded and bonded aluminium structure is state-of-the-art, says Aston and shared with the Vantage’s DB11 bigger sibling. Carbonfibre forms many of the exterior and aero components, and more alloy is used for the 20-inch wheels, which are available in standard cast form or a choice of optional, lighter, forged-alloy designs.
On the inside, there are more clues to the AMG relationship, with switchgear and the unmistakable infotainment controls and screen lifted directly from the GT, but plenty of unique Aston touches to make you forget it too, including typical Aston customisation options. A 350-litre boot adds a touch of practicality.
There may be a little German DNA woven into the fabric of the new Vantage, but alongside its progressive DB11 sister, the manic Vulcan track star and forthcoming Valkyrie hypercar, the Vantage is continuing to inject new energy and identity into a 100-year-old Brit brand.
Brake discs are iron in all corners (400mm front, 360mm rear) with no carbon-ceramic option yet announced.
While the British car maker has no grand designs to transition into a volume brand overnight, Aston Martin Australia and New Zealand regional manager Kevin Wall told Wheels the new Vantage is expected to conquest sales from rival premium brands.
“With our focus now broadening to a large number of volume competitors, we’ll see significant volume increase for the brand overall with this car,” he said.
During a recent Vantage preview event held in Melbourne, Wall revealed that a substantial number of orders had already been placed.
“At the end of the program we’ve shown it to 120 clients and we have a whisker less than 20 percent of our next annual volume covered. We’re doing okay,” he said.