The car industry is often one where marginal gains are celebrated; where the same basic formula is tipped and tucked, each facelift bringing sharper lines, snazzier tech and a sprinkling of extra power.
Not so, the new Aston Martin Vantage. Instead of making a few choice upgrades, Aston has upped the power of its sports car by a massive 30%, while torque is up 15% and the Vantage’s performance figures land only just shy of its DB12 big brother.
The basic recipe – and much of the exterior design – is the same as before. The Vantage is a two-seat sports car with a 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 at the front, rear-wheel-drive, and an eight-speed, semi-automatic gearbox.
But Aston is promising some huge performance gains. Power is up by almost a third to 665 PS (656 horsepower), while torque now stands at 800 Nm (590 ft-lbs). In fact, the Vantage delivers the same amount of torque as the DB12, while power is only 15 PS behind Aston Martin’s larger GT car.
The result is a Vantage – Aston’s so-called sports car – with supercar performance. It has a claimed 0-60 mph time of 3.4 seconds, a top speed of 202 mph, and a set of bespoke Michelin Pilot S 5 tyres made specifically for its needs.
Photos of the new Vantage show a car that is familiar from the sides and rear, but with a new front housing an enlarged radiator grille and headlights like those of the DB12.
Other highlights include what Aston claims to be “industry-leading Active Vehicle Dynamics”, plus adaptive dampers from Bilstein and an electronic rear differential. Like the DB12, the Vantage has an all-new interior with a major (and badly needed) tech overhaul. There’s a new 10.25-inch touchscreen display running Aston’s own built-from-scratch infotainment system, support for wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus 4G connectivity and a navigation system with What3Words integration.
Optional extras include a 15-speaker, 1,170-watt sound system by Bowers & Wilkins, featuring aluminium double-dome tweeters, 3D headline speakers and a subwoofer.
New tech is found in the drivetrain and chassis, too. The Vantage has electronic stability control and launch control, as expected, but the latter can be tuned by the driver. Aston says the amount of wheel slip permitted by the system when launching from a standstill can be configured by the driver, or of course, it can be switched off for full manual control.
As well as impressing in a straight line, Aston Martin says the new Vantage has a perfect 50:50 weight distribution front to rear, and is 29% stiffer under cornering load, thanks to increased strengthening between the rear suspension. Stiffness has also been increased at the front, and Aston says the result is tangible gains in precision, handling balance and driver feedback, plus improved refinement. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the new Vantage and find out for myself.
The company is keen to say how the Vantage’s driving dynamics have been improved. Aston talks about how the car “welcomes real drivers in and invites them to explore the limits.” It also says how the Vantage rewards skilled drivers, suggesting this will be a car to really get under the skin of, not one that reveals its entire character within the first few miles.
Similarly, a more advanced stability control system promises “perfectly judged” intervention, suggesting a car that will allow a fair bit of play before the electronic safety net is fully deployed. There’s a hint of Ferrari’s extraordinary Side Slip Control system in how Aston talks about the Vantage’s dynamic abilities, which can only be a good thing. Aston Martins have sometimes felt like slightly blunt (albeit beautiful) tools when compared to their Italian rivals – it sounds like the new Vantage could upend that entirely, with a driving dynamic that’s as precise as it is entertaining.
Aston hasn't announced a price just yet, but we can expect it cost from around £165,000. Production of the new Vantage will begin in the first quarter of 2024 and deliveries will kick off in Q2.