It’s so tempting to award the Vantage GT8 a resounding five stars, as much for what it represents – everything we’ve loved about Aston’s sports cars for decades, come at a time of profound, Aston Martin DB11-led change – as what it is.
For its wonderfully purposeful, balanced and tactile track handling, its jaw-dropping supermodel-in-Nomex looks and its staggering abundance of charm, the GT8 deserves nothing less.
This is ostensibly a decade-old sports car, operating at a considerable disadvantage on power and torque, that went more than a second quicker around our dry handling track than Aston’s new DB11. That’s both a staggering achievement and a powerful statement of intent. And yet it’s impossible to ignore the fact that, elsewhere, Aston could have done a more complete job.
It could have given the GT8 a powertrain more worthy of its chassis – and because it didn’t, we can’t put the car on quite the same pedestal as the awesome triumvirate that exceed its ranking, which is why it is more compelling than the Lamborghini Aventador SV but falls behind the McLaren 675LT, Ferrari 458 Speciale and the formidable Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
But we’re hugely glad that Aston built it, and we hope desperately that the company’s future will have room for cars of the same mould.