First DriveThe new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim
First DriveAston Martin's swansong for its venerable Vantage sports car allows it to bow out with its head held high, yet the performance AMR sub-brand's first o
What is it?
A subtly reworked version of the baby Aston, arch-fettlers Prodrive having cashed in on its Le Mans connection to bring us a go-faster V8.
Buyers can choose from four different performance upgrade packs: engine (£6239), suspension (£5581), wheels and tyres (£3995) and an 'aero package' (£2937).
The engine pack turns up the wick on the 4.3-litre V8 motor to produce 425bhp, adding a claimed 7mph to the standard car's top speed.
The suspension upgrade brings firmer Eibach springs and switchable two-stage Bilstein dampers, the new wheels are inspired by those of the DBR9 racer and the aero package uses carbonfibre wings front and rear to reduce high-speed lift by a claimed 50 per cent.
What's it like?
Impressive to drive - Prodrive seems to have produced the car that Aston should have built from the off.
The revised engine map creates much better throttle response and the new suspension settings keep most of the standard car's compliance while sharpening up handling to a gratifying degree (the 'track' damper setting is, as it should be, too firm for anything but circuit use).
We're less sure about the wheels; £4000 is a lot to pay for a new set of rims - and the carbonfibre look of the aerodynamic accessories doesn't do much for the elegant athleticism of the rest of the Aston's design.
Should I buy one?
If you've already got a Vantage and you're feeling slightly let down by the standard driving experience then it's certainly worth considering the suspension and engine packs.
But if you're looking for a clean-sheet purchase then remember that a Porsche 911 GT3 RS will cost you £94,280; a V8 Vantage with all these Prodrive goodies on it adds up to £101,552.