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2014 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Overview
One of the world's most attractive 2-passenger sports cars, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage roars into 2014 with only minimal updates. While its big brother, the V12 Vantage, receives fairly extensive updating, the V8 Vantage gets only a new Sport button and an optional sports exhaust system. Otherwise, the V8 Vantage remains unchanged.
The handcrafted V8 Vantage serves as Aston Martin's entry-level vehicle, competing against high-end sports cars like the Porsche 911, the Audi R8 and the Lamborghini Gallardo. The V8 Vantage certainly runs with the best of them, thanks to its powerful V8 engine and agile handling. A rigid aluminum body structure helps keep weight down and improve performance, while a midengine layout ensures optimal balance and stability.
For 2014, the V8 Vantage again comes in 2-door Coupe and Roadster convertible trims, as well as in S Coupe and S Roadster versions. All have the same wide stance and balanced exterior proportions, with a long, low hood, minimal overhangs and hunky rear shoulders that easily communicate the car's aggressive nature. Sculpted lines that flow from front to rear ensure a modern feel, while the distinctive grille easily marks the Vantage as an Aston Martin. The V8 Vantage S receives a few unique exterior features, including a deeper bumper and a carbon-fiber front splitter, which produces more downforce to provide better stability. The Vantage S also receives pronounced side sills and a rear diffuser, which help improve aerodynamics.
All Vantages display a low roofline and a rear tailgate with a pronounced upswept flip above the taillights, which reduces lift. All trims gets halogen main headlights with HID high beams, as well as LED taillights. Vantage Coupes feature a typical hardtop, while the Roadster convertibles come equipped with a powered fabric top that raises and lowers in 18 seconds at speeds of up to 30 mph. It stows beneath an aluminum tonneau cover to ensure clean lines with the top down.
A well-reviewed 4.7-liter V8 engine continues to power the V8 Vantage. In the Vantage Coupe and Roadster, the all-alloy, 32-valve V8 generates 420 hp and 346 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm. That's good enough to drive the Coupe and Roadster from 0-60 in 4.7 seconds. For the Vantage S Coupe and Roadster, the automaker retunes the compression ratio, boosting hp to 430 and torque to 361 lb-ft. Thanks to its tweaked engine, the Vantage S makes the leap from 0-60 in about 4.5 seconds. The base Coupe and Roadster have a top speed of 180 mph, which rises to 189 mph for the Vantage S.
In base trims, the V8 mates to a 6-speed manual transmission, which comes standard, or an optional 6-speed Sportshift automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode and paddle shifters. The S trims get an upgraded 7-speed Sportshift II automatic with closer gear ratios. When equipped with the automatic, the Vantage gets a new Sport mode for 2014, which adjusts shift points for more responsive performance. For the base Vantage trims, fuel economy numbers check in at 13 mpg city/19 highway with the manual shifter and 14/20 with the automatic. S trims with the upgraded automatic manage numbers of 14/21 mpg.
Aston Martin mounts the V8 in the middle of the Vantage's rear-wheel-drive VH platform, which it shares with the Rapide, the DB9 and the Vanquish. The engine sits low in the chassis behind the front wheels but in front of the rear axle, which lowers the center of gravity and ensures good overall balance. The front and rear independent suspensions both feature a double-wishbone configuration, with coil springs and anti-roll bars, as well as anti-dive geometry in the front and anti-lift geometry in the rear. The automaker also includes monotube dampers and a limited-slip differential. Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering has a precise feel and a tight turn ratio, while ventilated front and rear disc brakes feature 4-piston monobloc calipers in base trims. The Vantage S gets larger disc brakes and 6-piston calipers for superior stopping power. The base trims ride on staggered-width 19-inch alloy silver-painted wheels, while the S trims upgrade to 19-inch silver-painted wheels with a V-spoke design and a diamond-turned finish.
As is fitting for any vehicle bearing the Aston Martin badge, the Vantage's handcrafted interior makes extensive use of high-grade materials and upscale styling. The 2-seat cabin provides plenty of legroom and headroom for the driver and passenger, and the rear tailgate provides access to a cargo area with 10.3 cubic feet for storage space in the Coupe. In Roadsters, cargo space drops to 5 cubic feet. All Vantage trims come well-equipped with full-grain leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped sports steering wheel, power-adjustable sports seats and organic electroluminescent instrument gauges.
The base trims receive Gunmetal Alloy interior trim and a center console with a Graphite finish, while S trims get Weave alloy trim with Iridium Silver and Graphite finishes on the center console. Automatic climate control, remote keyless entry and rear parking sensors are among the other standard features. For entertainment, all trims come equipped with a 160-watt Aston Martin audio system with a 6-CD changer and a USB port. Options include a variety of interior trims, heated seats, satellite radio, a navigation system and two audio systems, including a 700-watt Aston Martin premium system and a 1,000-watt Bang & Olufsen BeoSound audio system.
Safety equipment includes 4 airbags, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), traction control and antilock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist. The S trims include a Track mode for the DSC, which allows drivers to loosen or disable the system for more aggressive driving maneuvers.
Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in Florida.