2018 Aston Martin Vantage Review

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2018 Aston Martin Vantage Overview

The Vantage nameplate has been used across a series of cars that were arguably Aston Martin’s smallest and sportiest during their respective tenures. After 12 years, 2018 sees the release of an all-new model.

The first thing to notice is the Vantage’s styling, which is significantly different from before. The old model had hints of playfulness with vents and flaps, but they were hidden beneath a reserved demeanor. The new one firmly sheds that image for a chiseled look that’s firmly on the “youthful” side of the spectrum. Only the most basic details of the previous shape—the grille shape, the roofline arch, and the long-hood and short-deck proportions—carry over. Otherwise, this is a brand-new shape. Most of the changes surround Aston Martin’s decision to make the Vantage more of a sports car and less of a grand-tourer. The new front splitter, side vents, rear diffuser, and subtle duckbill spoiler create significant amounts of downforce to keep the Vantage glued to the road. Other changes—like new exterior hues, gloss black trim replacing brightwork, single rear light bar, and exaggerated wheel arches—are purely stylistic decisions meant to enforce the Vantage’s new younger persona.

The interior has been similarly transformed. Instead of the relatively-straightforward shapes of the old model, the new one is full of irregular and geometric panels that recall those of a Formula 1 race car or a sports motorcycle. The center console, in particular, resembles a motorcycle fuel tank. The steering wheel gets a flat bottom and is far from circular. The seats—there’s still room for just two—are now aggressively-bolstered and designed to keep drivers firmly planted. Aston Martin doesn’t try to hide the Vantage’s switches; they’re firmly on display and logically grouped according to importance. The P-R-N-D gear selector buttons return, but they’re now arranged in a triangular pattern low in the center stack that differentiates them from secondary controls. All in all, it’s a more exciting place to be.

The older Vantage used a special version of Jaguar’s V8 series because both Aston Martin and Jaguar were under Ford’s ownership. That hasn’t been the case for ten years; now, Aston Martin turns to its latest partner, Mercedes-AMG, for a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter 8-cylinder. This new engine puts out 503 horsepower and 505 pound-feet of torque, increases of 75 and 144, respectively. The engine is mounted as far back inside of its cradle as possible, and the 8-speed transmission is mounted at the rear of the car, ahead of the rear axle. Power is transmitted courtesy of a weight-saving carbon fiber torque tube. Aston Martin claims it has been able to achieve a 50/50 front/rear weight distribution—the holy grail for any serious sports car in terms of balance.

The Vantage can sprint to 60 mph in a scant 3.5 seconds and reaches a maximum speed of 195 mph. Steering is tight—just 2.4 turns from lock to lock—and precise. Sport, Sport Plus, and Track driving modes allow the powertrain and suspension to be configured for specific types of driving. Ventilated disc brakes are standard equipment— 15.75-inches at the front and 14.2 inches at the rear. An electronic differential and torque vectoring are a couple of the other capabilities that keep the Vantage in line. No mention has been made of a returning V12 option as in the previous model.

Also borrowed from the Mercedes-AMG stable? The electronics architecture. Though they’re wrapped in Aston Martin styling, the tech, including the 8-inch infotainment system, LCD instrument cluster, and optional touchpad, should be familiar to Mercedes-AMG buyers. Aston Martin doesn’t say anything about Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity, but the same basic system in Mercedes-AMG products offers both. Other features include 20-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, stainless steel exhaust tips, a titanium front grille, an under-hood cross brace, leather and Alcantara upholstery, keyless start/stop, memory seats, a power-adjustable steering column, and USB port. The Tech Pack adds keyless access, a touchpad, and glass switches. The Sports Plus Pack adds sportier seats and steering wheel. The Comfort Package adds 16-way adjustable heated seats. Buyers can also customize the Vantage with any of a number of interior and exterior finishes, detailing, and upholstery choices.

Safety wise, the new Vantage comes with airbags, front and rear parking sensors, and a 360-degree camera system. Blind-spot monitoring and an automated parking assistant are optional upgrades.

The new 2018 Aston Martin Vantage has solidified its status as a proper sports car. Not only that, it’s got better styling and more technology than ever before. Deliveries are scheduled to start during the second quarter of 2018.

Updated

Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.

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