The Aston Martin Vantage is what dreams are made of for those who adore British sports cars
As a child, I never thought I’d get to sit inside an Aston, let alone end up test-driving one. But life can have a funny old way of working out if you’re prepared to work hard. I’m not talking about me; it’s Aston Martin who should be asking for a medal. The automaker has worked like a hound to get the latest Vantage just right – and it has paid off.
Why? Well, let’s start with the car’s looks. It’s stunning from the back, with attractive lights and a subtle spoiler. Things are a tad less dramatic at the front, although the shark-nose is appealing. What works, though, are the proportions. The two-seater car is sinuous – almost hunter-esque in the way it seems poised to pounce.
Under the metal, the Vantage is similar to its sibling, the DB11. Both cars house the Mercedes-Benz-derived 4.0-litre V8 powerplant. Stamp on the accelerator, and the car will hoon from 0-62mph in a mere 3.6 seconds. It will then push you on to 195mph.
Open the Vantage’s doors, and comfortable, low-slung sports seats greet you. You feel cosseted behind the Aston’s wheel, and the cabin is generally less clinical than a Porsche’s. It’s traditional, and the switchgear, also supplied by Mercedes-Benz, is incorporated well.
Of course, the sports car isn’t the most practical of vehicles – it comes without rear seats, but you can get golf clubs in the boot.
Practicality aside, the Vantage is close to perfect. Prodding the starter button produces a roar – it’s a gratifying noise, particularly with the four-pipe sports exhaust system fitted.
Moving off in Sport (the most chilled of the settings) and letting the eight-speed auto ‘box do what it wants, makes for an “easy-like-Sunday-morning” motoring experience.
Move through Sport+ and Track modes, and you can make the Vantage angrier, more rebellious and louder. But, whichever setting you go for, joy is always served.
On UK tarmac, the Aston offers confident handling, and the brakes do a top job of making pace disappear. I drove the luxury sports car around the highways and byways of East Anglia, and it excelled.
Yes, a 911 offers better practicality, but a Porsche won’t give you the feeling you get from driving a British icon.
Tim Barnes-Clay qualified as a journalist in 1994 and is a member of the Midland Group of Motoring Writers. He initially trained in broadcast journalism and has worked as a reporter and news reader at various radio stations in East Anglia and the Midlands. He has also been a motoring journalist for the Mirror Group’s L!ve TV cable network and a presenter, reporter and producer at ITV Central in Birmingham. Tim is now an automotive writer, focusing on car reviews. He has media accreditation with all motor manufacturers’ press offices, and this enables him to test drive the latest cars. He also attends new vehicle press launches at home and abroad.