I’ve adored the Vantage ever since I was 11 back in 2006 the “baby” yet by far the most beautiful of the range. The Aston is a very special car not by any means a supercar (V12 S aside) but there’s much much more to it than that. Beneath the beautifully sculpted architecture typically resides a naturally aspirated V8 in either a 4.3 or 4.7 litre guise. This is a true old school V8 with a thunderous symphony under load, filling the cabin with soul and emotion. The early cars produced 380hp and had a sluggish throttle response, but you just knew everyone heard you coming from a mile away and every little boy is staring at you. Many of us can’t be blamed for removing fuse 22 in the V8 cars to open the exhaust valves and really let the engine roar through the countryside.
You don’t buy an Aston for setting lap times or power sliding around bends, this is a car much more about the process of driving than the destination. Year on year the Vantage has progressed, in my opinion not just getting better looking, but more powerful more refined and exquisitely finished. The 4.3 V8 was upped to 4.7 litres with an output of 420hp, again not mind blowing but more than enough to incite a big grin under throttle. An Aston exudes class wherever it goes it says “ I have style and charisma” and I’ve never met someone who frowns at the presence of one. I’m a young man and I admit I prefer some of the “younger” variants of the Vantage like the N430, power upped to 430hp with some Nürburgring inspiration thanks to Aston’s heritage. Some subtle highlights with the paintwork to let you know you’re looking at a car with pedigree. Coming from a very powerful Nissan GT-R I feel as if I’ve “completed” the big power tangent of my driving development. I thrashed it around some twisty back roads before lockdown, and whilst it was immensely capable and I carried a high average speed it was definitely missing some involvement. No one ever says “look at that GT-R isn’t it pretty?” Because it isn’t it’s a ballistic missile for the road and sadly I’ve learnt that’s about it.
I long for a vantage to be in my garage one day it’s so unequivocally beautiful with a powerful elegance to it. You know it isn’t the fastest, you know servicing it will require a second mortgage and you know that people may think you’re a rich a**hole, but you just don’t care because she sings under throttle handles well and looks amazing. The vantage is an old car now 14 years or so hence Aston finally replacing it with a bi-turbo charged Mercedes V8 and completely new skin, but I feel it’s lost some of the beauty that makes it an Aston. I’ve no doubt it’s faster and handles better but you don’t buy your Aston for that, you buy it because it’s British it’s the underdog and they make you feel like Bond. Logic tells you to buy a Porsche Cayman GT4 or a BMW M4 competition because it’s reliable and efficient, they handle they’re well made but they don’t have soul or character. I love cars more than anything but I don’t stop and stare at the new German cars, but I do every single time I see an Aston Martin.
The ultimate incarnation of the Vantage would be the V12, if I asked you to think about Aston Martin you’d say “beauty, elegance and their handmade V12’s. The smallest car in the range bestowed with the 6.0 litre V12 producing 510hp /565hp in the Vantage S. This alters the car as it’s like strapping a missile to your running shoe, the car surges forward with a mountain of torque and the best engine note to boot. For me sound is the biggest part of a sports/supercar, it adds excitement and drama, not just the cue to change gear but the wail of an exhaust note just shy of redline will make your neck hairs stand on end. It’s only been a few months since I took delivery of my GT-R and already I miss a manual box, it’s like shaking hands with an old friend and gives you the experience you long for on a quiet road at the weekend. Early 4.3 Vantages can be had now for upwards of £20,000 but an early 4.7 will set you back minimum £30,000. For me the dream would be an N430 or a V12 but they’re simply unattainable for the foreseeable future. It’s good to dream and I love to have “attainable” dream cars as opposed to longing after the latest million pound hyper-car. One day I’ll be in my very first Aston Martin and I genuinely can’t wait.