It may have been a long time coming – as the company’s single most successful car, the previous model was launched an amazing 14 years ago – but after a brief teaser campaign on social media, Aston Martin’s new 2-seat Vantage model has finally been shown to the public for the first time. The new car has a decidedly aggressive look, taking styling cues from the James Bond-only DB10, and is marketed unashamedly as the sportiest model in their new range and aimed squarely at Porsche’s also-turbocharged 991, although bereft of a pair of little rear seats.
Powered by Mercedes’ 4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine, tied to a rear-mounted 8-speed paddle-shift gearbox, performance is just as you would expect – stunning. The company have applied their own tuning to the power plant, now producing 510PS that under ideal conditions will let you’ll reach 60mph in a mere 3.5 seconds and with a long enough piece of road, max out at 195mph.
Electronic stability systems including Dynamic Stability Control and Dynamic Torque Vectoring will try their best to keep you out of the nearest hedge but the 685Nm of torque will still pin you to the seat. An Electronic Rear Differential, tied in to the car’s stability systems, reduces power lost on acceleration out of corners while the turbochargers ensure that power is available over a rev range of 2000-5000rpm; meanwhile weeks of exhaust tuning have ensured the V8 still makes the right noises.
As you can see from the photos, visible aerodynamics are minimal – no massive 911 GT3RS-style wing here – just a minimal duck tail on the rear. Instead, all the clever downforce stuff that keeps the car pinned to the road goes on underneath, using techniques derived from the company’s extensive experience in the field of endurance racing. Channelling cooling where required, the undertray delivers smooth air to the carbon fibre rear splitter, pierced by the exhausts.
The agressive styling continues inside the cabin, where two seat options are available depending on just how much leather-clad comfort you require. Headroom is considerable for a sports car; entry and exit is improved by gas strut-assisted doors that swing slightly upwards. The car remains practical, however, with a large boot as well as useable room behind the seats; park assist sensors are present all round. In the unlikely event you should tire of the engine and exhaust notes, entertainment is controlled by an 8″ LCD and features Bluetooth and USB connectivity for mobile devices.
A recent tour of their Gaydon factory revealed considerable parallels with Rolls Royce – continuing the company’s long history of the “personal touch”, production line staff are often multi-skilled and are capable of completing any and all stages of a particular part of the production line. Chassis construction also bears similarities with both Rolls and Lotus, making heavy use of bonded lightweight aluminium extrusions, combined with solid subframes for extra strength and rigidity.
With prices starting at close to £120,900, if you get your order in now you can expect delivery around Spring of next year. There are plenty of off-the-shelf colours available, but talk nicely to them and they’ll paint the car any colour you like. Personally I think it looks best in red.
Also making its debut today was the new Vantage GTE race car. The factory team’s old model completed its last race in the final round of the World Endurance Championship in Bahrain, landing the GTE Am team championship, with Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda awarded GTE Am drivers’ title. Company boss Andy Palmer himself raced in the Hankook Creventic 24 Hours of Cota just the weekend before, alongside celebrity TV chef Paul Hollywood, finishing 2nd in class.