£95,164 - £100,164 Price range
20 - 22 MPG
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage might be the baby of the Aston Martin sports car range but it is still a stunning car to look at – and to drive. The experts all love it, enthusing about everything from the engine and exhaust note to the sublime handling.
There’s also a V8 Vantage S model, which essentially adds a little of everything to the standard car’s formula to produce something even more spectacular. Although the Vantage was released back in 2006, reviewers agree that it’s still more than capable of running hugely capable coupes like the Porsche 911 and Jaguar F-Type V8 very close indeed.
Images have surfaced of a new Vantage prototype being tested – check out how this new 2018 Aston Martin Vantage could look with our dedicated price, specs and release date article.
Cheapest to buy: 420hp Standard
Cheapest to run: S Sportshift 420hp
Fastest model: N430
Most popular: 420hp Standard
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage has a high centre console running down the middle of the interior which, combined with the small side windows, makes for a “a low, cocooned driving position.” A vast number of cows gave their lives for the interior, and the leather is as gorgeous as you’d expect from an Aston. Testers note that the basic ergonomics are great; the seats are comfortable (if not quite supportive as those in the 911) and the pedals are well positioned.
However, the cabin is beginning to show its age. The buttons on the dash are numerous, tiny and fiddly, and the dials are difficult to read. At least the majority of old Ford switchgear has now been replaced, but it still doesn’t have the modern sophistication of a Jaguar F-Type.
The Aston has a reasonable 300-litres of boot space as well as a little room behind the front seats. The hatchback opening makes for easy access, too, so you’ll be able to make the most of the room. The Jaguar F Type Coupe, however, has a 315-litre boot, expanding to 407 litres if you don’t use that car’s load cover to keep your belongings hidden.
The Vantage is a joy to drive, according to the experts, even if it is a “physical, manly kind of car with hefty, firm controls.” Even the gearshift is described as having a “sturdy, mechanical feel”. But this all adds to the occasion and makes the driver feel like they are doing the work, as opposed to the car itself flattering to deceive, as is the case with some rivals.
The V8 Vantage has accurate, well-weighted steering which, when combined with the excellent balance offered by the front-engined, rear-wheel drive chassis, allows the car to flow down a challenging road in a hugely accomplished way. Very few cars on the market can match the composure and body control that the Aston possesses – you’ll be able to drive it fast with confidence.
It has a firm ride, however, which never quite settles down at motorway speeds, so long journeys can feel a little tiresome. However, the Vantage S – despite its firmer set up – is also better damped, which means that it not only does it have greater body control when attacking a sequence of corners, but it actually feels more refined, too.
The V8 engine sounds epic and allows for impressive acceleration. Producing 420hp, the 4.7-litre lump needs a little revving to get the best out of it, but considering the noise it makes, nobody will complain. You won’t find it short of performance either, with the Vantage capable of posting a 4.7 second 0-62mph time, on its way to a top of speed of 180mph.
The S adds a modest increase in power to 430hp, and with that a minor increase in performance. Testers note that it is the way that it makes you feel from behind the wheel that is really special, though, with a keener throttle response than the standard V8, and an even more special “NASCAR-like bark” from the engine. If you want to feel like you’re in a racecar then the S is worth considering.
Unlike several cars in this class, the V8 Vantage is still available with a good-old-fashioned manual gearbox. It is a delight to use, and really adds to the driving experience.
Critics reckon the Aston Martin 4.7-litre V8 petrol engine is one of the most glorious engines in production today, especially above 4,500rpm when it sounds like it has no silencing at all!
It produces 420bhp at a stratospheric (for a V8) 7400rpm and 346lb ft of torque, so obviously it is a very fast car indeed. The top speed is 180mph and it will scorch from rest to 62mph in 4.9 seconds.
The price to pay, of course, is in fuel consumption. Aston Martin’s engineers might have been able to massage the official fuel consumption figure to 20.4mpg but you aren’t ever going to be able to achieve that – and certainly not if you enjoy that intoxicating engine noise…
The N420 is a hard-core version of the standard Vantage that looks tougher and goes harder. The most obvious changes are to the exterior, where the carbon-fibre additions and black 19” alloy wheels “add to the V8's menace.” Inside you get lightweight seats and whilst the engine remains untouched the sports exhaust makes it all sounds “more purposeful”.
So the power output remains at 420bhp and 346lb ft and the 0-62mph time drops by just one-tenth of a second to 4.8 seconds. But it sounds completely different to the standard car, with the exhaust now emitting a “sharper metallic shriek at higher revs sounding more exotic, more motorsport-derived than the standard car's.”
The suspension is firmer, the steering sharper, and the whole thing “feels greater than the sum of its parts.”
The general view from experts is that the Vantage S is faster and cleaner than the standard car, but rides more firmly and is designed in the same vein as the V8 Vantage N420.
However, unlike the N420 the 4.7-litre engine is more powerful and now produces 430bhp and 361lb ft of torque, up 10bhp and 15lb ft on the ‘normal’ Vantage. This means that the 0-62mph time is now just 4.5 seconds and the top speed is a few notches higher at 189mph. The changes might not be dramatic, but taken together they mean that the “S feels considerably quicker than the standard car” and “more nimble too”. The downside is that some might find that the ride is too hard for UK roads.
The fuel consumption is, officially, 21.9mpg but you aren’t actually hoping to get that, are you?
No Aston Martin is a cheap car, either to buy or to run. Emissions are high, and residuals are okay, particularly for low-mileage, well looked-after examples. In terms of purchase price, the Aston is slightly more expensive that the equivalent 911 or F-Type, but the lowest-priced models start at less than the Audi R8. Every V8 Vantage is well-equipped, but that is something that you’d expect in a £90,000+ coupe.
The best models in the range are at opposite ends in terms of price. The Vantage S is praised by all, but if that isn’t your thing, then the base model equipped with a manual gearbox and standard suspension is also worth considering.
One motoring journalist who ran one as a long-term test car said he felt “privileged” to have done so. Owning an Aston Martin will garner almost universal approval; Ferrari drivers might elicit a little jealousy, but all you’ll provoke is a smile, a nod of admiration, and maybe even a wave to let you out of a junction.
There are other cars in this class that are arguably more accomplished. The Porsche 911 is perennially brilliant, while the Audi R8 is perhaps the most civilised choice, but you’ll pay for it. At the opposite end of the scale, the Jaguar F-Type has a fantastic ‘modern hotrod’ quality to it, along with looks that some would argue upstage even the Aston’s.
The truth of the matter is despite its age, the Aston Martin Vantage is a stunningly capable car that can match any of them. It’s talented enough to be a purchase of the head, and pretty enough to be a purchase of the heart.