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The Top Gear car review:Aston Martin Vantage Roadster
For:The looks, the noise, the drive. The Vantage is truly desirable
Against:Bitty interior that really feels its age
All the usual Aston foibles, but still manages to be magnificent.
The big engine, small-car philosophy serves Aston well. Not as lairy as the coupe, but loud, proud and entertaining
What we say:
One of the best-looking cars in the world with a neat electric fabric convertible roof – and this wasn’t some chop-shop drop-top either, the Roadster was designed to be stiff from the outset - says it all really.
What is it?
You could argue that there’s a fraction more scuttle shake and imprecision than with the coupe. Or you could just look at it. The second option is the correct one.
Tick the box for the new sports suspension and you’ll have a car that can carve an apex better than any Aston has before. The steering has improved since recent revisions, the ride is better judged between grip and GT ability, it doesn’t wobble and overall it’s a deeply impressive performance. Body control is superb, but the Vantage - even with the roof off - will still ride acceptably well, with virtually no scuttle shake. It even turns out to be a hoot on a track - which is not something you’d usually get to say about something this upper crust and poseury.
The new 4.7-litre V8 finally brings the Vantage’s bark in line with its actual bite. Where the old car sounded fast and then tended to be just a little flatter than you imagined, the new one feels infinitely more brawny. It’s a strange one because the figures aren’t all that different from the old car; bhp is up from 380 to 420 giving just 0.1 of a second’s edge 0-62mph. There’s also ‘only’ a 5mph increase in top speed to 180mph, but its in the mid-range (overtaking, corner-exit) that you’ll notice. This car goes hard and looks good.
On the inside
Seats two and a decent portion of luggage – the boot hold 300-litres – and there are no stupid rear seats, just more storage. The tank holds 77-litres, so driven carefully you can manage a decent range, and the roof works so well that you can sometimes forget you’re in a drop-top. Can’t say fairer than that.
Group 50 insurance, a big road-tax bill (obviously), and 321g/km. The news isn’t good if you’re Vantage Roadster shopping on a budget. Oh, and the quoted combined mpg figure is 20.5mpg. You’ll get better than 30mpg on a good long motorway hike, but start hitting the backroads – or the odd trackday – and you’ll happily be into single figures. Seriously.