I’ll be honest, this week was the first time I got behind the wheel of an Aston Martin. I’ve been a massive Bond fan since I was at least 10, my late father would always let me join him to watch Sean Connery or Roger Moore when it was the midday movie on a weekend. So, it was very cool to have the opportunity to drive the Aston Martin Vantage this week, which, allegedly, is based around the DB10 that appeared in the movie Spectre.
What is it?
This is a two-door sports car with a thumping V8 under the front bonnet. Instantly recognisable but with a tougher, more aggressive look than the DB11 for example. The 4.0-litre V8 is the same engine found several AMG Mercedes-Benz vehicles. This latest Vantage was released in 2017 replacing its predecessor that reigned for 12-years.
Behind the wheel
This car draws a lot of attention, especially when coated with the Hyper Red paintwork. I actually don’t enjoy being looked at so when I’m in this kind of vehicle I tend to have the blinkers on. But you still can’t help noticing people taking pictures, tailgating you or even following you. The area I live in is beautiful, but it’s dual-cab territory.
Once you slide into the Aston Martin you’re confronted with a steering wheel with flat sides, a centre console that looks like it belongs in a fighter jet and an overall sense of occasion. The sports seats score the Alcantara treatment, the black headlining is a kind of micromesh material while there are gloss black and satin silver pieces of trim all over the cabin. Even the hinges on the sun visors are chrome plated.
There are a lot of buttons, which in this instance I didn’t mind as I felt it suited what the Vantage is all about. This is no GT car, it’s an in your face sledgehammer car. The only downside was the addition of the now defunct Mercedes-Benz Command infotainment system, I’ve just never been a fan of it.
But once you push the central engine button the ornate cabin becomes irrelevant. Initially I found it a little off-putting holding such an oddly shaped steering wheel in my hands, but that sensation quickly passed. Around town in the default Sport mode (there’s no normal mode) the Vantage doesn’t exactly make its presence known by way of a mad soundtrack. This is the type of car that is crying out to be driven fast, in fact it requires a decent thrashing to truly appreciate what the Vantage is all about.
Thankfully my trip home allows for this, within reason. In track mode this machine is truly a beast, lifting off the throttle sends so many cracks and pops out the rear end it’s almost offensive. It’s sounds so brutal I was very aware of slipping back into Sport mode about 20km from where I live. Because frankly I didn’t want to be the guy who ended up on the local Facebook page.
For a 1.5 tonne car this machine feels heavy and cumbersome at lower speeds, but at more spirited levels it becomes a highly precise, capable and predictable car even right to the edge. The Pirelli tyres wrapped around the 20-inch rims feel like they are melting into the road, they feel like they will never let go. The adaptive damping system has three settings, Sport, Sport+ and Track mode. This basically means kind of comfortable, hard and way too hard. But the system turns the Vantage into a very, very serious weapon.
The Mercedes-Benz sourced 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 produces 375kW at 6000rpm and 685Nm of torque at 5000rpm. Power is sent to the rear-wheels via an 8-speed automatic gearbox that is actually located in the rear. It will dash to 100km/h in 3.6 seconds and is capable of hitting 314km/h.
With all this grunt you’d hope for some serious safety nets, thankfully Aston Martin agrees. Aside from all the usual traction and stability control systems the Vantage also positive torque control, torque vectoring by braking. But there’s no Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).
On the infotainment front things are a little dated given it uses the old Mercedes-Benz Comand system via an 8-inch tablet stile screen. Don’t expect Apple CarPlay or Andriod Auto.
As usual the car did the round here at EFTM HQ….
As usual Bowen only let me take it to the shops. But in that short time, I could tell it was brutal underfoot, was lovely to drive and I was a massive fan of the interior.
This is a Mustang on steroids. It’s epic. The soundtrack could be more brutal, but when pushed it makes a car like the Mustang look like a toy.
The Aston Martin Vantage starts from $299,950 before on-roads. The claimed fuel economy figure is 10.3L/100km. I averaged a more realistic 17.5L/100km. It’s backed by a three-year unlimited kilometre warranty.
Why would you buy one?
Some people just like going British and respect the significant heritage behind the brand. Plus, obviously money is no problem.
Given this was my first experience in an Aston Martin I can only compare it to McLarens and of course the Italian set. But I actually feel it sits in its own unique space. It’s loud and brash, has epically attractive looks and a cabin that makes you feel like Bond, James Bond. It’s an 8.5 out of 10 for me.