A Mercedes Bi-Turbo charged V8 coupled to a brand new skin. Astons future risks letting go of their heritage, the Vantage has always been a great sports car. Not the fastest thing going but as I’ve said before, beautiful architecture and an exhaust note to die for. We’ve lost the naturally aspirated power- plant in favour of forced induction. The 4 litre bi-turbo delivers 503hp and 685nm, big figures for Aston’s new “sports” car. 0-60 is now taken care of in as little as 3.4 seconds and 195mph is also within your grasp.
The new deal with Mercedes doesn’t just involve powertrains. The Interiors are also tweaked with Benz parts. The outdated technology from previous Vantages, which were usually stolen from Volvo’s parts bin, have now been replaced with Mercedes last generation parts. The new interior is a beautiful place to be. But I must admit I can play “spot the Merc parts” with relative ease. I feel this is more of an exercise in cheques and balances than a traditional Aston Martin. I imagine the new Vantage will be massively more reliable than the older models but I just feel there’s a little bit of a spark missing. That handmade feel Astons have been renowned for seems to be missing. The Austin allegro steering wheel is what bothers me most. I know Ferrari re-invented the wheel with thousands of buttons, but it is at least the correct shape. When you’re driving a demanding and spiralling mountain road you’ll find it hard to modulate your input, purely because of the shape of the wheel. This to me doesn’t inspire confidence or focus.
The new Vantage is reminiscent of the “Tron” movie to my eye. I love the back end but I can’t say it’s beautiful. Striking is the more the word to me, it’s by no means a bad looking car though. I love to see cars develop and progress but it never hurts to look back at your heritage. Look at Porsche’s 991.2 it’s a handsome car but has also retained the traditional style yet modernised and improved it. The Aston to me doesn’t look like a modern rendition of a Vantage or even an Aston Martin at all. The DB11 manages to carry the torch on from the DB9 well. The traditional grille has been updated and they’re very much a pretty car when compared to its new baby sister.
I’m left confused and worried about the future of Aston Martin. A brand I’ve always had a love affair with, if not one riddled with the occasional financial trouble. I feel a little “sold out”, this is a car I think scaled down in order to sell well. It’s the modern man’s vantage which doesn’t tie in with the rest of the family. I think if you removed the badges and parked it next to a previous generation or a DB9 you’d struggle to tell they’re related. If not for the vantages smaller proportions. This new car is very fast and immensely capable, the new engine has character thanks to some tweaks at Gaydon to differentiate it from Mercedes offering. But line this car up with her German cousin and the AMG GT-R will obliterate it unfortunately. I hope some prettier automotive architecture comes out of Gaydon in years to come. I don’t care who makes the engines, neither will most enthusiasts. But you buy an Aston Martin with your heart, which is often captured by their beauty. Sadly this new model hasn’t captured mine at all.