Aston Martin Vantage (2018) Review

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Aston Martin Vantage (2018) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
It might be Aston's entry-level model, but the Vantage is one of the most desirable sports cars on the market today. It's great to drive, looks fantastic and has a hand-finished interior that feels ultra special.

+Incredible performance from the 4.0-litre twin turbo V8. Decent standard level of equipment. It'll turn more heads than a Porsche 911.

-Fussy interior with below-par media system. No V12 yet.

Insurance Group 50

The current Aston Martin Vantage arrived in 2018, the all-new car replacing the popular, good-selling – with over 16,000 sold - Vantage before it, which Aston Martin had produced for over 11 years. The Vantage is built alongside the DB11 in the Aston Martin’s Gaydon factory, the Vantage considered the entry-level model in the company’s line-up.

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That’s relative, of course, as before you’ve ticked a single option, you’ll be transferring nearly £125,000 into your Aston Martin dealer’s account. The smaller, more sporting model in the range, available from launch as a coupe and from 2020 as an open-topped Roadster, its radical, more technical styling is something of a departure from the elegant beauty of its predecessor, however that more assertive, and divisive, look has unquestionably softened a good bit with familiarity.

More than any other sports, super, or GT car manufacturer, Aston Martin seems to have universal appeal, and the Vantage is the model you’re most likely to see as it’s the biggest selling car in the line up. Aston Martin’s sports car, it’s powered by a twin-turbo V8 engine, which drives the rear wheels via either a paddle-shifted automatic transmission, or a seven-speed manual gearbox. 

The Vantage’s shapely body is built largely out of aluminium and the interior an indulgent mix of luxury and sporting style, this Vantage more overt and bold in its look than the car it replaced. That jarred initially, particularly the large, wide front grille, but time has softened the impact. While previous Aston Martins mightn’t have been so assertive in their looks, neither did they deliver quite the driving experience you might expect. 

That’s different here, the Vantage competes on a far more level footing than its predecessor, it able to keep up with its rivals not just in regard to its straight line performance, but its dynamism in the bends. The Vantage rides on an accomplished, agile chassis that makes it hugely entertaining to drive. 

Power always grabs all the attention though, and the Vantage isn’t short of that, either. A 510PS 4.0-litre twin turbocharged V8 engine nestles under the bonnet, Aston Martin sources that engine Mercedes-Benz’s performance division AMG. It’s a superb engine, driving through a similarly impressive eight-speed paddle-shifted automatic transmission. 

Admirably, Aston Martin underlined its commitment to drivers who like the old-school appeal of a manual transmission, too, by also joining that glorious V8 to a seven-speed manual gearbox and clutch pedal – no mean engineering feat, and something that AMG itself doesn’t do. That manual transmission was introduced in a limited build, numbered AMR special edition model, but it’s subsequently been added to the rest of the Vantage range. 

That range is fairly simple, the Vantage offered in a choice of coupe, Roadster (convertible) and AMR models, with special editions adding interest to the line-up occasionally; these usually celebrating motorsport successes, or significant dates/models in Aston Martin’s history. The coupe and Roadster share the same specifications, though Aston Martin does offer model choice ‘Designer Specification’ suggestions based around colour and trim packages on its configurator as a starting point. Regardless, the expectation is you’ll specify you Vantage exactly how you want it, the level of choice being incredible. 

That AMR is a more focussed choice based on the coupe only (presently), it featuring some weight saving measures to trim off 95kg, as well as chassis revisions to increase its focus, the engine retaining the same 510PS output of the regular Vantage. 

A two-seater, the Vantage’s cabin is spacious enough, and among its contemporaries it’s quite practical, at least in regards to its boot size. Rivals for Aston’s biggest-selling model include the Porsche 911, Audi R8, Honda NSX, Mercedes-AMG GT and Lamborghini Huracan.  

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