An 800bhp V12 and all-wheel steer lie beneath a classic single-seater body. Wow
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The Top Gear car review:Aston Martin Vantage
For:Superbly sorted chassis, sharper powertrain reflexes than DB11, finally has the pace to match stunning looks and noise
Against:Interior layout is needlessly fiddly, and it’s not quite the most exotic, fastest piece of kit for £120,000. If that matters to you…
What is it?
The first all-new Aston Martin sports car since the Vantage rejoined the ranks in 2005 is not – we repeat, not – merely a Mercedes-AMG GT in a Savile row dinner jacket. Yes, the new baby Aston Martin shares its 4.0-litre, twin-turbo engine with AMG’s finest – and some of its interior technology – but beyond that, this is all Aston. And it’s a very fine piece of work.
And don’t think that just because the Vantage sits on a shortened version of the DB11’s aluminium platform, and shares its eight-speed automatic gearbox (for now), that it’s more Aston reheated leftovers. Aston kept the DB11 deliberately soft and gentlemanly so the shorter, lighter Vantage could be punchier, angrier and more of a sports car. Finally, some clear daylight between Aston Martin’s products.
The gearbox is sharper. The electronic rear differential is lightning-fast in its reactions, to maximise traction, or yobbery, depending on your mood. There’s no longer a Comfort mode for the powertrain and chassis – this time everything’s gone up a notch, with Sport, Sport + and Track modes to choose from.
The engine develops the same 503bhp and 505lb ft you’d get in a Mercedes-AMG C63, which is enough to get the 1530kg (that’s dry, so reckon on 1600kg at the kerb) Vantage from 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 195mph. That’s huge performance from an entry-level model, but necessary now the Vantage has an options-free entry price of £120,900 and has to compete with the likes of the Audi R8 V10 Plus, McLaren 540C and Porsche 911 Turbo.
At launch, there’s only one Vantage model – this V8 coupe with an automatic gearbox. It’s highly likely a soft-top Volante will follow, and then we’ll wait and see – and hope – for lighter versions inspired by Aston’s GT3 racing programme, and possibly a V12 range-topper. Aston says the 5.2-litre twin-turbo unit from the DB11 will fit…