Aston Martin Vantage 2018 reviews: does it live up to the hype?
Vantage has an all-new engine and aggressive looks – but can it rival the Porsche 911?
Aston Martin’s new Vantage has finally gone on sale – and the critics are already full of praise for the British sports car.
The new model, available to order for £120,900, is the second vehicle to come from the company’s recent product revamp, following the launch of the DB11 grand tourer last year.
Like the entry-level DB11, the Vantage is powered by a Mercedes-AMG 4.0-litre V8 engine sporting a pair of turbochargers. This delivers 503bhp and 505lb-ft of torque to the rear axle through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The new Vantage is one of the most eagerly awaited cars of the year, but has Aston Martin done enough to win over fans of its rival, the Porsche 911?
Here’s what the critics think:
Interior and features
Drivers of the new Vantage are treated to a cabin that is “covered in luxurious leather and typical Aston detailing”, says Auto Express.
There’s a “low-set sports seat” that will make drivers feel as though they are “cocooned” in the cabin, the magazine says. And the quality of the interior also addresses many of the issues found in the DB11.
But despite the driving position being “spot-on”, the “lovely cockpit” is marred by the infotainment screen’s “grainy resolution”, Top Gear argues.
Nevertheless, the cabin’s fit and finish is to a high standard, says Autocar, although the leather and stitching on the seats “looks a bit stretched”.
Meanwhile, the ability to spec a round steering wheel, as opposed to the standard racing-inspired flat-bottomed wheel, could be a hit with traditionalists.
On the road
Tapping the start button on the dashboard fires up the Mercedes-AMG twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine, which comes to life with a “burbling baritone”, according to Auto Express. The sound is “great”, especially if you fit the optional quad-exhaust system.
On the road, the new Vantage boasts “confidence-inspiring handling”, the magazine says, as well as “instant” steering responses. It isn’t quite as “sharp” as the Porsche 911 but the steering comes with plenty of “directness and weighting”.
The eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox “simply does everything you want it to”, says Evo. The transmission can seamlessly change gears when you want to cruise, the magazine says, but flicking the car into Sport Plus or Track mode will make the gear changes faster and more “aggressive”.
But if an automatic gearbox doesn’t appeal to you, CNet says there’s “almost certainly” a manual version on the horizon.
Overall, the new Vantage “drives as aggressively as it looks”, making it an ideal alternative for those looking for a more track-focused car compared to Aston Martin’s DB11 grand tourer, says CNet.
Autocar agrees, calling the Vantage a “thoroughly enjoyable” sports car that gives drivers plenty of “aural and tactile cues”.
It doesn’t quite live up to the Porsche 911 GTS, the magazine says, but the Vantage is “different enough” to set itself apart from the iconic German sports car.
While Aston Martin traditionally struggles when it launches a new car, Top Gear says that the new Vantage breaks the mould by being “properly sorted” straight away.
Despite its “slightly dead steering”, the Vantage feels like a car that could entertain both a professional driver and “give the rank amateur the time of their life”, the website concludes.
Aston Martin Vantage 2018: Price, release and first drives
A new incarnation of Aston Martin’s acclaimed Vantage sports car has finally been revealed and it’s expected to reach buyers by the summer.
The original V8 Vantage, released in 2005, was highly regarded by critics. Evo praised the most recent V12 S model, calling it "supremely balanced" and "as compelling now as it was when the original V12 Vantage was launched back in 2008".
Meanwhile, the new sports car has been completely reworked. It now boasts the same aluminium underpinnings as the company’s DB11 flagship and an AMG-derived V8 engine.
The Vantage is widely regarded as one of the best sports cars ever made but can the new version live up to its predecessor’s status?
Here’s everything we know about the new Vantage.
Release and pricing
Orders for the new Vantage are now being taken, with deliveries “scheduled to begin during the second quarter of 2018”. Prices start at £120,900, making it around £30,000 more expensive than the outgoing model.
The new Vantage isn’t expected to go on sale until the summer but critics have gone behind the wheel of a near-production-spec version. Here are their first impressions of the sports car:
Auto Express says the upcoming Vantage will quickly become the most important car in Aston Martin’s line-up as the model has historically been the company’s best-selling product.
The new car feels like “a huge leap on from its predecessor” and could be a worthy rival to the incredibly popular Porsche 911, the magazine says.
Autocar agrees, praising the new Vantage’s ability to feel powerful without this affecting the rear-wheel drive car’s handling.
The Mercedes-AMG-sourced 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine is a stand-out feature, the magazine says, with plenty of performance at the lower end of the rev range. When you put your foot down on the accelerator the car gathers pace with impressive speed.
But Top Gear says the Vantage doesn’t have the same amount of “drama” or “noise” as other cars that use the same engine, such as the Mercedes-AMG C63 coupe.
But the cabin looks and feels “better organised” than the company’s flagship car, the DB11, and the steering wheel is “lovely to hold”, the website says.
Fans will have to wait until the summer for critics to deliver their final verdicts.
Much like the DB11 was to the DB9, the new Vantage is a complete departure from the decade-old front-engined sports car currently on sale.
While the old version sported sleek bodywork and a smaller version of the company’s iconic grille, next year’s car will have a more aggressive look, inspired by the one-off DB10 used in the James Bond film Spectre.
The similarities between the new Vantage and Bond’s car include the large front grille, slim LED headlights and wide wheel arches at the rear. The small boot spoiler is also apparent on the DB10, although the new car features a body-wide LED tail light strip.
It shares the same lightweight aluminium structure as its DB11 sibling, says Auto Express, although 70% of the components used are unique to the Vantage. This means it weighs just 1,530kg, which the magazine says is “almost identical to its main rival, the 911”.
Other subtle changes have been introduced to improve the driving experience. The Vantage’s body will be smaller than the DB11’s and will have a shorter wheelbase, says Autocar.
The sports car will also get a double-wishbone suspension set-up at the front and multi-link system at the rear, the magazine says, which should “increase the car’s rigidity and offer improved feel for the driver”.
Aston Martin will use a twin turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 for the new Vantage, which comes from its technical partnership with Mercedes-AMG. It’s the same engine as the AMG GT sports car and can also be found in Aston Martin’s recently released DB11 V8.
The AMG-derived engine delivers 503bhp and 505lb-ft of torque to the rear axle, says Evo, helping launch from 0-62mph in just 3.6sec and go on to a top speed of 195mph.
Each car comes with an eight-speed semi-automatic transmission as standard, says Autocar, with a manual option “due to follow next year”.
However, adds Autocar, “the firm currently has no plans to produce a hybrid version of this generation of the Vantage”.
Will the Vantage get a V12 engine?
The original Vantage, released in 2005, was offered exclusively as a V8 model, before Aston Martin transplanted the V12 engine from the DBS coupe into the sports car in 2008.
Now it looks like the latest model could get a V12 too. The British carmaker’s chief executive, Andy Palmer, told Autocar that the twin-turbo V12 from the flagship DB11 could find its way into the new Vantage, although the company has made “no decision yet”.
“Technically, it is very possible. The engine bay has been designed to replicate that of the DB11, so the pick-up points and so on are all there. The V12 would fit without the need for extensive modifications”, he said.
However, Palmer added that the company must also consider the “character” of the new Vantage - which he calls the range’s “rebel, a really sporty car that stands out for its handling”.
Although the twin-turbo V12 has “many great attributes”, he told the website, the larger engine’s extra weight would change the handling characteristics of the vehicle.
GTE racing version
Aston Martin plans to replace its existing Vantage GTE racing car with a new version based on the forthcoming sports car.
The new Vantage GTE will compete in next year’s World Endurance Championship and feature at long-distance races such as the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours.
It shares much of its design with the new road car, although the racing version gets a large rear wing and rear diffuser to improve grip at high speeds. The Vantage GTE also has a tuned version of the 4.0-litre V8 found in the road car.
The outgoing Vantage is a direct rival to the base-level Porsche 911 Carrera and Jaguar F-Type, says Auto Express.
The new version will still have these as rivals, but could also challenge the Mercedes-AMG GT as both cars share the same engine.
Aston Martin’s new V8 Vantage spied testing in Germany
The launch of Aston Martin’s V8 Vantage replacement is due later this year – and now the car has been spied testing at the 12.9-mile Nurburgring race track in Germany.
Images posted on Evo of the development car wrapped in camouflage offer the best look at the Vantage’s new bodywork so far.
“Aston Martin looks to have wisely moved the new Vantage further away from its bigger DB11 brother,” the magazine says, adding that the new model has “the shark-nose grill of the one-off DB10 seen in James Bond, combined with a tighter body”.
The “contentious floating roof strakes” from the British carmaker’s flagship DB11 “also look to be missing from underneath the camouflaged wrap”.
At the back, the new Vantage bears a striking resemblance to the DB10, says Auto Express, incorporating the same “thin, horizontal tail-lights” and “small lip spoiler” as the James Bond car.
It will be the second car in the range “to benefit from a technical partnership with Mercedes’ parent company Daimler”, the magazine says, as the AMG-derived 4.0-litre V8 engine that appears in the eight-cylinder DB11 is also expected in the new Vantage.
However, the magazine adds, “Aston will tweak the Mercedes powertrain with new components and an ECU remap for a more distinct character.”
Pricing has yet to be announced, but Evo says the new Vantage could come with a “six-figure” price tag when orders open “later in the year”.
Aston Martin Vantage: What to expect from the new sports car
Aston Martin's replacement for the popular V8 Vantage has been spotted in production form ahead of its debut.
Images posted by AutoExpress show the car wrapped in camouflage, but it's clear to see it will have a significantly different look to the company's DB11 flagship.
With short overhangs at the rear and thin headlights, the new Vantage appears to share much of its design with the Aston Martin DB10 built exclusively for the James Bond film Spectre.
"The tail of the car is flatter than before," says AutoExpress, and now comes with "a small hump at the edge of the hatch incorporating a small lip spoiler".
A large and "intricate" rear diffuser replaces the minimalistic one of the older car, making the back "look more aggressive."
"Perhaps the biggest nod to the DB11" are the air vents "bleeding into the front wheelarches", which are "hidden behind strips of black tape" on the development car, the magazine adds.
According to Autocar, the V8 Vantage will be built on the "new generation of aluminium architecture" that first appeared on the DB11, helping to make it "lighter and more torsionally rigid than its predecessor".
A Mercedes-AMG-derived 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine that could produce 500bhp in regular form is expected under the bonnet, adds the mag.
Evo says Aston could offer a manual six-speed gearbox as well as an eight-speed automatic and to expect a zero to 60mph time of less than four seconds.
The Vantage is due "later in the year" and the mag says costs may exceed the old car's £94,995 starting price.