2005 saw Aston Martin introduce it most accessible, capable and desirable car for a long time. Here’s what we made of it at the time:
The ‘V8’ tag once adorned the grand statesmen of the Aston Martin range. But just as the company has recently changed so radically, so has the V8 Vantage tag: it’s now the baby of the range and a major boost to production volume.
After the Vanquish and DB9, the V8 Vantage is the third car to use Aston’s VH platform – a chassis of lightweight bonded and riveted aluminium. The chassis contributes only 183kg to the Aston’s 1590kg kerb weight. It’s clothed in a mix of aluminium, steel, composite and magnesium body panels.
It’s a low, squat car, the proportions creating an aggressive aura. It’s 50mm shorter and 40mm lower than a Porsche 911 Carrera S and far more compact than a DB9.
Under the muscled skin, the Vantage follows current Aston thinking. Forged aluminium double wishbones are hung from the chassis. The engine is at the front, with a six-speed manual gearbox packaged at the rear. Thumb the glowing red starter button and Aston’s new V8 explodes into life with a flamboyance to match the exterior styling.
This isn’t the tightly regulated, slightly synthetic V8 sound of a German performance car. The trick exhaust appears to keep the flaps open from idle until around 2000rpm, so moving away is accompanied by a delicious, industrial muscle-car gurgle. That doesn’t mean it’s crude, though: one of the strengths of this car is its easy-going nature around town. Despite this apparent cosseting, the Vantage is nevertheless a car that you have to really drive. The gearlever moves with a sturdy, mechanical feel, the brakes require confident application and the steering has a weighted, oiled feel.