What is it?
A special edition produced to celebrate Aston Martin’s efforts in the Nurburgring 24Hr race, where for the past two years Aston have entered N24 race cars in the SP8 class. Based on the Vantage, the N400 costs an extra £11,000 and is available as coupe or roadster and with either manual or sportshift transmission. This buys a, unique to this model, power and torque upgrade (an extra 20bhp produced 200rpm higher, and 12lbft extra torque), a sneak preview of an, as yet not available, Sports Pack for the Vantage (new spring, shock ratings and lightweight wheels) and some dubious cosmetic tweaks.
Is it any good?
To say anything with a 380bhp 4.3 V8 is underpowered, might sound like nitpicking, but if there is a flaw in the standard Vantage package it is that it’s a little light on outright punch. It does fast, no problem, but is not quite as decisively rapid as you might expect from an Aston. The N400 power upgrade addresses this, adding a layer of extra midrange flex, plus a more urgent top-end. Together they make the Vantage both quicker to respond and more thrilling to exploit.
A shame then, that our test car was blighted with Aston’s less than brilliant Sportshift gearbox, with its slow speed clumsiness. Given the advances Aston have made with the manual transmission since the Vantage’s original launch, we’d strongly recommend specifying your Vantage with three pedals.