From £87,495
More focused and more entertaining than the regular V8 Vantage

Our Verdict

Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Aston Vantage's classic proportions are suitably timeless and desirable

The Aston Martin Vantage has an abundance of soul, and decent ability with it

What is it?

It's a special edition of the Aston's V8 Vantage coupe (or roadster); loosely inspired by Aston's GT4 racing cars.

A follow-up to the N400 of 2007, weight of the N420 has been cut by 27kg over the standard V8 Vantage, which doesn't sound like a great deal because, well, it isn't really. It has mostly come from the application of carbonfibre in place of other trim; such as lighter seats. There are carbonfibre details on the outside too and a new design of alloy wheel.

The engine remains the same 4.7-litre, 420bhp V8 as standard, while a manual or robotised-manual gearbox is offered. Most significantly is that the optional Sport Pack is fitted – that gives revised springs and dampers and thicker anti-roll bars. There's a sports exhaust, too. Oh, and optional Race Collection paintwork – different-coloured paint for the pillars/rails and grille surround, as on Aston's race cars.

What's it like?

More extreme than the regular V8 Vantage, certainly. The carbonfibre-backed seats are exceptionally supportive and, even at idle, there's a hint of greater potency from the exhaust.

The low-speed ride won't have you writing home, either. Chuck in the Alcantara finish on the steering wheel and it's a quite an engaging experience.

Changes don't run so deep as they do on, say, a Porsche 911 GT3 though. This is still a V8 Vantage, just one that's better tied to the road. So it steers with pleasing accuracy and feel, and wants to be revved with surprising vigour for a big V8. Do so and it gets along nicely, with the sports exhaust making a really belting noise when the engine's wound to the upper echelons of the rev-range.

The stiffer springing brings its rewards if you're pressing on. Turn-in is sharpened noticeably, grip is strong and the N420 improves the standard V8 Vantage's chassis feel near the limit. The car feels more planted, with less body unwanted movement as the front tyres (on a steady throttle) or the rear tyres (with trail-braking or a dose of gas) begin to reach their limits.

Because it's unchanged, the V8 engine retains its odd, slightly springy response to the pedal – as if the two are attached by a piece of elastic. It's far less noticeable on the optional Sportshift transmission fitted to our test N420. This is a single-clutch automated manual rather than a twin-clutch unit or a full auto. I quite like it, but I'd prefer a manual if the engine didn't have its slightly peculiar response, and if it didn't hang so much when you come off the throttle. The Sportshift disguises those traits well.

Should I buy one?

It's worth thinking about, certainly. If you were to spec the N420's options separately you'd end up with a bill that makes this model's £97k list price look like good value.

But the N420 isn't a full-blown Porsche 911 GT3 rival – the changes to the Porsche run deeper and truer to its motorsport roots. It feels more authentic and less superficial. While I think the best Porsches are the lightest, most stripped bare ones, conversely I think the best Astons are its more cosseting models.

What the Aston N420 is, though, is a worthily more focused and more entertaining car than the regular V8 Vantage, at an acceptable premium.

Join the debate

Comments
7

7 July 2010

More proof of Autocar's flawed verdict of the Vantage V12 against the SLS et al.

Now more than ever, the N420 makes the V12 look like what it is - a marketing exercise with no more showroom appeal or exclusivity than the V8.

If Ferrari put a V12 in the 458 everyone would call that cynical.

7 July 2010

sweet, so this is the perfect and best yet vantage is it not?

7 July 2010

[quote inthebin]sweet, so this is the perfect and best yet vantage is it not?[/quote] No, this is a chavvy mass-produced thing. The best Vantage was the Oscar-India V8 Vantage, designed by William Towns.

8 July 2010

[quote Dan McNeil v2]The best Vantage was the Oscar-India V8 Vantage[/quote]

Er, define 'best', Dan. Last time i was looking around an OI Vantage, it looked a lot like a big engine with a crappy body loosely attached. The owner freely admitted it was rubbish to drive. But then, he did have a Ferrari 250 GT SWB to compare it to...

11 July 2010

[quote disco.stu]

[quote Dan McNeil v2]The best Vantage was the Oscar-India V8 Vantage[/quote]

Er, define 'best', Dan.  Last time i was looking around an OI Vantage, it looked a lot like a big engine with a crappy body loosely attached.  The owner freely admitted it was rubbish to drive.  But then, he did have a Ferrari 250 GT SWB to compare it to...

[/quote]

I say Disco Stu, you're almost as pedantic as I am!

Perhaps I should have said "Apogee of Vantage-ness".

To be honest though, I have seen a few OI Vantages that were in a really shoddy condition. I've also seen a few (and been lucky enough to have driven one) that were in very good nick. And a nice OI Vantage is a force of nature.

Sure, certain Italian cars are more wieldy, but nothing compares to a hand-built old-school Aston (apart from a Bristol - but that's another story...).

And, apart from a fettled Bristol, I can't think of many other supercars with the classic front engine/rear drive layout that can mix it with more exotic stuff in real world driving.

11 July 2010

yawn...............................

ANOTHER marketing exercise special edition.

Aston martin must be the laziest brand when it comes to new designs.

DBS- DB9 with max power inspired halfords addons

vantage- 2 door 75% sized DB9

rapide- 4 door DB9

one-77 DB9 on steroids


Whats next the 2011 V16 ADvantage jeremy clarkson POWAAAAAA vanden plas?

V8 VANTAGE blackish edition?

V12 VANTAGE n24 gt2 FIA le mans gti diesel mk3?


13 July 2010

Are there any maching guns hidden in those louvres in the bonnet and cannon in those slats on the front end? Would be coll if their were, oh yeah, boudica wheel spikes and more PPPPOOOOWWWWEEEERRRR!

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run