What is it?

On the surface the Vantage S appears to be little more than a slightly pokier, slightly quicker version of the already excellent V8. Not that there would be an awful lot wrong with that; the Vantage is already one of the most handsome coupes money can buy, after all, with a range of dynamic abilities that has got better and better over the years.

In reality, though, the new £102,500, 430bhp Vantage S is more than just a logical progression of the species. As Dr Bez himself admits: “We do not need a revolution at Aston Martin right now.” Even so, it’s hard not to be impressed by just how different this car is compared with what’s gone before.

The real advances concern the car’s steering, which has a quicker, sharper rack; its suspension, which is “just about new from the ground up” in its detail and tuning; and the gearbox, a brand new seven-speed paddle shift item from Graziano that is lighter, faster shifting and features closer ratios than anything else offered previously in a Vantage, be that V8 or V12.

See pics of the Aston Martin V8 Vantage S in action

 

Now watch Autocar's video review of the Vantage S

The styling, as intimated, has also been tweaked to make the V8 more muscular visually, though not to the point where you’d mistake for the full fat V12. Even the brakes are bigger front and rear, as are the wheels and tyres, though impressively the overall weight is down by some 30kg compared with the entry level V8.

What’s it like?

On the road the differences are immediately apparent and centre on four areas; the steering, the extra throttle response from the V8 when in Sport mode, the fantastic new NASCAR-like bark from the V8, and the superior shift quality of the new gearbox, which is quite fantastic.

Oh yes, and the new suspension, which somehow manages to make the V8 S feels sharper at speed but more compliant over rough roads; far better resolved, in other words, than our old long term V8 fitted with the optional sport suspension.

The most impressive aspect is the cohesion that now characterizes the driving experience. The V8 Vantage was already a well balanced car, with sufficient performance to unlock its traditional rear-drive chassis should you feel the need to drive it like a maniac.

But the S makes several leaps forwards in all sorts of directions; it’s sharper AND more refined; quicker yet more civilized; better to listen to at full chat but less intrusive ambling on a light throttle.

What it adds up to is a car that may look pleasingly familiar on the eye but which is, in fact, considerably better to drive in every dimension; one that’s both quicker and more refined (than any other V8 to date) but also more rousing and more exciting to drive. And a fair bit quicker, too.

Should I buy one?

At £102,500 the Vantage S is up against some stiff opposition. It’s priced to rival the somewhat formidable Porsche 911 Turbo, and it’ll also feel the heat from the cheaper, more powerful new Jag XKR-S.

In reality, however, the V8 S is one of those cars that delights not just because of its ability to hit Mach 2. This is one of the most charming sports cars you will ever drive and one of the best looking in the eyes of this writer, too. In light of which it’s worth every penny, and then some.

Steve Sutcliffe

 

Aston Martin V8 Vantage S

Price: £102,500; Top speed: 189mph; 0-62mph: 4.5sec; Economy: 21.9mpg; CO2: 299g/km; Kerb weight: 1610kg; Engine: V8, 4735cc, petrol; Power: 430bhp at 7300rpm; Torque: 361lb ft at 5000rpm; Gearbox: seven-speed Sportshift II

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Comments
32

Re: Aston Martin V8 Vantage S

3 years 24 weeks ago

Autocar wrote:

What is it?

On the surface the Vantage S appears to be little more than a slightly pokier, slightly quicker version of the already excellent V8. Not that there would be an awful lot wrong with that; the Vantage is already one of the most handsome coupes money can buy, after all, with a range of dynamic abilities that has got better and better over the years.

In reality, though, the new £102,500, 430bhp Vantage S is more than just a logical progression of the species. As Dr B...Read the full article

"One of the most charming sports cars you'll ever drive" I wish! To think that when the recession hit I could have an Aston almost like this for £6000 more than a nice 3 Series, I fear I'll never drive an Aston, and I know I missing out. Whenever one passes me on a dual carriage-way I always drop the window to hear the howling V8 (or V12). Looks good in blue, and pretty much any colour come to that!

Re: Aston Martin V8 Vantage S

3 years 24 weeks ago

Want, don't think this would be that easy to justify against the more powerful Jag though - not that I am going to have to make that choice in the foreseeable future... Autocar may like to edit its title lest we think this is a 4.3 litre car.

Re: Aston Martin V8 Vantage S

3 years 24 weeks ago

Ditto, this is surely an upgrade on the 4.7 litre engine?

I'd have one of these over a Porker any day, though id definitely test drive the XKR-S before making the final decision.

Re: Aston Martin V8 Vantage S

3 years 24 weeks ago

When Ulrich Bez took over at Aston Martin he made a statement to the effect that he wanted to make Aston Martin as sort of British Porsche.

Considering the evolution concept he is using on all of his cars...

Autocar:"is more than just a logical progression of the species. As Dr Bez himself admits: “We do not need a revolution at Aston Martin right now.”"

..... he certainly seems to be doing just that.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

Re: Aston Martin V8 Vantage S

3 years 24 weeks ago

Not that I want to dampen the new Aston as it sounds like a brilliant car- but anyone feel slightly put out these days by car makers providing paddle shift gearboxes on performance cars (or hot hatches for that matter) with no option for the good old manual box with three pedals?

I know that it is becoming the way of the world and it is making the abilities of certain cars more accessible to the less skilled driver - but somehow there's a lot of satisfaction to be gained from those occasions when you get a sequence of heel and toe down shifts just right.

jer

Re: Aston Martin V8 Vantage S

3 years 24 weeks ago

I'd love one. Brings enough intangible benefits to make up for being not as fast round a track as the Porsche.

The running costs will always make these the choice of the city banker, successful estate agent etc. No sign of fixed price servicing!

Re: Aston Martin V8 Vantage S

3 years 24 weeks ago

I wasn't aware the Vantage's transmission needed refining. Anybody own one and can elaborate?

Re: Aston Martin V8 Vantage S

3 years 24 weeks ago

TegTypeR wrote:

When Ulrich Bez took over at Aston Martin he made a statement to the effect that he wanted to make Aston Martin as sort of British Porsche.

Considering the evolution concept he is using on all of his cars...

Autocar:"is more than just a logical progression of the species. As Dr Bez himself admits: “We do not need a revolution at Aston Martin right now.”"

..... he certainly seems to be doing just that

“We do not need a revolution at Aston Martin right now.”

More like: “We cannot afford a revolution at Aston Martin right now.”

Re: Aston Martin V8 Vantage S

3 years 24 weeks ago

Interesting to compare the reviews on this car between Autocar and CAR on the web this morning. The CAR review was positive although far less gushing than the Autocar one. Will be interested to read the EVO review when that comes up...

Re: Aston Martin V8 Vantage S

3 years 24 weeks ago

"As Dr Bez himself admits: “We do not need a revolution at Aston Martin right now.” "

Of course not. You have one platform, one outer design and two engines derived from Ford. This is a safe position for a Porsche competitor wannabe.

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Our Verdict

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

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