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Aston Martin Vantage V8
Driven June 2011
This, the Vantage V8, the cheapest Aston Martin that there is, looks lovely. No two ways about it. Of course, if your idea of lovely is lot of chrome, stripes, loud text and a body ridden with scoops and vents, you aren’t going to be too interested. The rest of you, well… the car does feel special. But not special enough. In terms of driving dynamics, you’d find the a car a bit wanting. Ride is not the most comfortable. But that’s a given in a car like this. It’s a bit toss-y but suitably damped. The noise is there when you just start the ignition and then as you approach the redline at about 7000rpm, things get raucous and exciting. But the rest of the powerband just leaves you with a metallic, nasal resonance rather than a full-blooded outburst.
The steering doesn’t feel as feelsome as some of its immediate and even cheaper rivals, and if you are looking at a precision driving machine, or simply a car that’s thrilling, the Vantage won’t feature in your list of must-haves. But the gearbox is brilliant. Changes via the paddles are quick. And unlike other automatics running in manual mode, the gears won’t change unless you want them to. Moreover, the car is frighteningly quick, and corners flat, too. Only you won’t really enjoy or get that sense of utmost control, when the Vantage is doing those insane, physics-defying things that insane physics-defying cars like the Vantage do.
Are we pining for one, now? Actually, no. It’s a great-looking car, lot of pace, and you’d look rather cool inside one. And the words, “Let’s take the Aston out tonight” has a nice ring to it. But beyond that, I did end up with a feeling of van… er, wanting.