Three years ago, we saluted the emphatic V8 performance and drama, and the charismatic front-engined, rear-drive handling, of the standard Vantage with a 4.5-star road test verdict. Now, in a market in which the 992-gen Porsche 911 GT3 and Turbo S both exist and where the McLaren 600LT has left its lasting mark, the notably enhanced Vantage F1 Edition does a shade poorer.
To some, that may not seem fair; but benchmarks relevant to this car for outright performance, track capability and driver reward have advanced over the past 36 months; and in other ways, the Vantage probably hasn’t advanced enough. The simple truth is the Vantage’s interior needs updating pretty urgently as part of a bigger mid-life facelift.
But the F1 Edition’s refinements have nonetheless sharpened the car’s on-road handling appeal and done similar on track – preserving its naughty-boy adjustable handling without quite putting it on a level with its most purposeful special-series rivals from Weissach, Woking or Emilia-Romagna. For Aston Martin, the supercar-hunting will come later. And given it leaves us with a very likeable sports car with a blend of dynamic lures, that’s fair enough.