Aston Martin V8 Vantage Origins
As one of the smallest, leanest, and most affordable models on the Aston roster, the V8 Vantage is actually intended to be an entry-level model if such a term can even be reconciled with the uber-exclusivity of the Aston Martin brand. The V8 Vantage was initially unveiled as a concept car in 2003 and the production version of the car was introduced two years later at the Geneva Motor Show. The first commercially available version of the car was the 2006 model year.
About Aston Martin V8 Vantage Cars
Aston Martin designed the V8 Vantage with the intention of competing with high-end models from German sports car makers such as Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. Hence, the V8 Vantage is more compact than many Aston Martin cars and has a slightly more down-to-earth price tag, selling for about $110,000.
The V8 Vantage is visually striking, as you would expect an Aston Martin to be. It was also designed to be produced and sold in greater numbers than many of the larger, loftier, and less "entry-level" models of Aston Martin. Reducing the V8 Vantage's size and price tag had the effect of rendering it more of a regular sports car, as opposed to the elaborate grand tourers for which Aston Martin is renowned. Nevertheless it is considered to be among the best-driving Aston Martins ever produced. Although it may not offer the handling of the top-of-the-line Porsche 911, the V8 Vantage is an Aston Martin and that will almost always trump Porsche in terms of rarified exclusivity and stunning good looks.
Modern Aston Martin V8 Vantages
Powered by a 4.7-liter V8, the 2012 Aston Martin V8 Vantage is capable of producing 430 horsepower and generating 361 lb-ft of torque. Transmission-wise, the current model V8 Vantage features a sophisticated seven-speed, automated manual Sportshift II with a single-clutch gearbox operated by a computer. Drivers have the option to choose between a fully automatic operation and direct shifting through steering column-mounted paddles. Like previous models of the car, the 2012 V8 Vantage features rear drive.
The 2012 V8 Vantage is available in two different body styles: a hatchback coupe and a convertible roadster. Standard equipment for both includes 19-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlamps, rear parking sensors, power seats, power lumbar adjustment, automatic climate control, and a stereo system with a six-CD changer and iPod/USB interface capabilities.
Optional features are also available, such as cruise control, satellite radio, heated seats, and a hard-drive-based navigation system. There is also a Sport Pack available that includes revised springs, dampers, and anti-roll bars, along with lighter forged aluminum wheels. There is also a selection of custom paint and leather color choices available.
Additional features of the 2012 V8 Vantage include stability control, traction control, and driver's side and curtain airbags. In terms of fuel economy, the V8 Vantage can achieve 14/20 mpg city/highway.
In addition to the base model version, Aston Martin made two additional versions of the V8 Vantage available in 2012. These are the lightweight N420, which is available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automated transmission, and the V8 Vantage S, a model engineered for higher performance.
Aston Martin V8 Vantage Evolution
When the V8 Vantage was first introduced in 2006, it was available solely in the coupe body style and only with a six-speed manual transmission. The 2006 and 2007 models also lacked the steering wheel audio controls that have been standard since 2008. Other new additions introduced with the 2008 model included auxiliary audio jacks, console-mounted upholders, and antennae that were mounted on the body (as opposed to being embedded in window glass).
2008 also saw the introduction of the limited edition Vantage N400 that offered what could only be called uber-high-performance. Earlier models of the Vantage, prior to 2009, only boasted 380 horsepower and produced 302 lb-ft of torque. The center control stack on pre-2009 Vantages was less attractive and ergonomic, and the navigation systems were DVD-based as opposed to hard-drive-based. Hard-drive-based navigation systems and xenon headlamps became standard in the 2010 version.