£104,164 - £109,164 Price range
20 - 22 MPG
The V8 Vantage Roadster gets superb reviews. Pretty much all of the experts are impressed by it, and with good reason. It’s a stunning looking thing, the 4.7 V8 engine suits it perfectly and it’s a lot of fun to drive. It isn’t quite perfect though, it hasn’t got a big boot and there are quicker rivals.
Aston Martin has a knack of making cars with that “want” factor. The V8 Roadster is another car that’s so beautiful you wouldn’t really care if it drove like a shopping trolley with a wonky wheel and had the engine from a moped. Only it doesn’t – it drives excellently and has one of the world’s most charismatic V8s. Hence the rather high wowscore!
Like other current Aston Martins, you’ll find a cabin trimmed in the finest materials, and with a subtle, understated style that other rivals struggle to emulate. It’s all very well screwed together, while still offering a “hand-crafted feel”.
That isn’t to say it is perfect by any means. The basic driving position is great, but some of the controls are badly positioned, and some parts – like the indicator stalks – feel a little cheap.
There is, however, a thick, cosy roof which can be dropped in only 18 seconds to allow better aural access to that V8. That might be best for taller drivers, who may find headroom a little limiting with the roof up, though with the roof down, boot space is a tiny 110 litres.
Critics say that the V8 Roadster is a sharp, wieldy and agile car. Testers describe the controls simply as having “an instant rightness to them”. There’s plenty of steering feel through the quicker steering rack, and testers say the body still feels rigid despite the lack of a roof – sometimes a concern with roadsters.
Push too hard into a corner and the weight of the V8 engine is felt through slight understeer, but this is still a finely balanced car if approached the right way. Some would argue that the Jaguar F-Type Roadster is more thrilling, but that doesn’t mean that the Aston is any less capable. The ride is great, too, and the Roadster always feels refined, whether the roof is up or down.
As the “V8” in “Aston Martin V8 Roadster” suggests, there’s only the one engine here – but that’s hardly a bad thing. We could let the numbers do the talking: 4.7 litres in capacity, eight cylinders, and 430 horsepower, which translates to around 4.5 seconds to 62mph and a top speed of 189mph.
Concentrating on numbers alone doesn’t do justice to the “sonorous, racecar-like sound” described by one tester, which is all the easier to enjoy thanks to the loss of the roof. We imagine that most V8 Roadster owners will permanently be in search of tunnels to appreciate that noise at any opportunity. Circa-20mpg economy might put off some… but we doubt it.
The idea of these summary reviews is to explain to you what a particular engine is like to live with, and to note any particular faults or complaints highlighted in reviews. The trouble with doing that for an Aston Martin, 4.7-litre V8, is that you can’t really get an impression from mere words what the engine sounds like. Nor the thrill of driving it.
Still, reviewers have these difficulties too. Performance is improved over the previous model, the 0-60mph time now standing at 4.7 seconds and top speed reaching 180mph. It does around 20mpg with a manual gearbox, and 21 with the Powershift auto, neither of which you care about. It sounds brilliant, the engine is keen to react to your inputs, but it still settles down to a relatively quiet refinement when you’re not “pressing on”. It’s a cracking engine.
As we highlighted in the main summary, the Vantage S is a V8 Roadster tweaked for those who’d like more noise, speed and response above the already noisy, speedy and responsive standard car.
If we start with the bad news first, the 7-speed, Prodrive-developed, Powershift automated manual isn’t as smooth or quick as it could be, at least in more relaxed driving. Take it to the red-line each time and it’s much more pleasant. And fun.
The engine gains 10bhp over the V8’s 420bhp, and reviewers say it makes an even more glorious noise in the process. Press the “Sport” button, and it gets even better. It’s also suitably quick, knocking a little time off the 0-60 sprint, and adding 9mph to the top speed, now at 189mph.
With the standard Aston V8 Roadster costing just under £100,000 before options, this isn’t a cheap car. Value for money depends on your point of view, and what you expect from a car at this price range.
For example it costs more than a 911 Cabriolet does, but looks prettier. It’s also more of a looker than the Ferrari California T, and cheaper too. It’s a little more expensive than an Audi R8 Spyder… but has a better badge. It’s nearest rival comes in the shape of the Jaguar F-Type roadster, which isn’t just cheaper, but faster, as fun to drive, and arguably looks just as spectacular.
If for some reason you think the V8 Roadster is neither quick enough, nor loud enough, nor deft enough, then you might want to tick the box for the Vantage S, which has a few subtle tweaks to improve the car still further. And it’s still gorgeous. Sportshift is Aston Martin’s paddle shift option, and there are few complaints about it.
General consensus from reviews seems to suggest that the V8 Roadster is the best car Aston Martin currently produces. Given the level of competition within the Aston range, that’s quite an accolade. Have a read of the reviews, or even just stare at the pictures – and tell us you don’t want one.