Walking in the footsteps of 007 was not necessarily the goal sought by the manufacturer of Gaydon, yet we must recognize that this new Vantage perfectly reflects the image of the secret agent. It is not without reminding us of the DB10, already presented in our columns, with more undeniable technological inside …
One of the most beautiful GTs today
This second-generation Vantage belongs to the very exclusive club of the most beautiful GT made by the hand of man. It is a real sport car designed by the engineers and engine specialists of the historic manufacturer. The first Vantage appeared in 2005 but this more than ten years model is nothing “vintage” and keeps all its charms. The latest Vantage is 28 cm shorter than the DB 11. It is certainly the smallest in the Aston range but also the most “playful”. Its driving on wet ground in particular does not require pilot skills but encourages modesty and concentration: a 510 hp V8, a strictly 2-seater coupé, a sharpened chassis, an ideal fifty-fifty weight distribution. Here are all the ingredients of an exceptional GT and that’s what we feel when driving this “British Diva”. We have tested it of course with the ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox. This only available transmission is a wise choice. Like most Hyper Premium manufacturers, Aston has evolved to the point of forgetting the era, quite recent, of outdated gearboxes and engines ! This new Vantage is now a real “Must Have” capable of providing great pleasure. Many elements are common with the DB 11, including a bonded and non-riveted aluminum structure and the engine elements described above. In addition, the “Q” customization service finds here its full achievement. At start-up, the reception remains musical but without being too invasive, which will have the advantage of preserving a certain discretion. We’ll leave whistle turbine noises to other great flying machines!
A real sports car
It is not enough to have the adequate sports attire, it is also necessary to have the genetic and technical capital adapted to claim this skill.
On this point, the British manufacturer has found all the necessary ingredients: a multi-link rear train directly bonded to the chassis, an electronically controlled differential, a carbon roof, well-adapted driving modes: Sport, Sport + or Track.
Absolute supporters of a 7-speed gearbox will be delighted to learn that this declination will appear in 2019 as well as the convertible model dubbed « Volante ». Finally even more powerful versions are planned. This powerful but compact GT coupe loves small winding roads and incessant changes of course: a real treat and joy to drive for those who have the skills and despite its empty weight of 1510 kg. When driving, our limits are very quickly below those of this Vantage always in shape whose engine gives a pleasant hoarse sound, which does not let guess the presence of the turbos. Only the thrust felt reminds you that a bi-turbo reigns supreme under the hood. The steering is ultra direct and reflects the judicious balance between the rear and the front axle. On fast windings, note that the short wheelbase will give a little lively saccades that can surprise, hence our previous incentive to modesty.
The comfort is not left out despite all these real sports skills but rolling noise quite present during long trips degrade somewhat the tranquility felt on board. This sound is usual on this type of vehicle, but we would expect better soundproofing, consistent with the very high level of quality of the vehicle.
In addition, the Vantage offers a semi-automatic parking system, front and rear parking sensors, controlled suspension and 360-degree cameras that will avoid minor bodywork. The captured images are displayed on the 8-inch center screen, whose interface comes from the previous generation Mercedes models, so without touch control.
For the rest, this GT is devoid of different driving aids recently adopted by other manufacturers (adaptive cruise control or Lane Keeping Assist System) but we must see here a deliberate choice: an Aston, even in “Baby” mode must be driven all the time and most importantly it deserves and does not go through some automatisms, even sometimes relaxing.