Aston Martin’s New Vantage Is Its Smartest ‘Affordable’ Car Yet

The phrase “Aston Martin” may conjure images of 1960s cool, of Sean Connery in a fine suit, of the iconic DB5. That’s why the job of every new Aston car over the past five decades has been to deliver that heritage—but also to build on it, to pull it into the modern day. The latest vehicle to take on the task is Aston’s entry level sports car. And based on first impressions, this new Vantage, with 503 horsepower, a 195 mile per hour top speed, enhanced aerodynamics, and modernized styling, has pulled it off.

The new car, which will debut next week at the Los Angeles Auto Show and start around $150,000, sits below the company’s larger and pricier DB11 and Vanquish touring coupes, and will be powered by a four-liter twin-turbo V8 that generates 505 pound-feet of torque, enough to go from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds.

The most obvious improvements center on the car’s styling. Aston's designers reduced the front and rear overhangs to give it a more muscular stance, smoothed out the hood, added more pronounced side vents that taper off dramatically into the door panels, and capped it off with new headlights and taillights to give the car a unique signature whether coming or going. Inside, the driver sits nearly half an inch lower in the car thanks to a raised waistline—a design feature that also helps generate more interior space and an immersive feel, the designers say.

Performance enhancements start with that new engine, which sits lower and farther back than its predecessor. That lowers the center of gravity—a boon for stability—and splits the car’s weight evenly from front to back, for better balance while cornering. The V8 mates to a rear-mounted 8-speed automatic transmission. Electronic assists will include stability control and torque vectoring, as well as an electric power steering system that adjusts its input according to the car’s speed. Aston redesigned the Vantage’s lightweight bonded-aluminum chassis to improve balance, rigidity, and overall strength.

To slip through the air, the new Vantage deploys a front splitter to direct airflow underneath the car, where it’s channeled into cooling for the brakes and toward a rear diffuser that helps push the car’s rear end into the pavement. Coupled with the new side vents, which help improve airflow from the wheel arches, and the integrated rear spoiler on the trunk, the net effect is, according the company, “a significant level of downforce.” Which is to say, when you’re ripping through the corners, you can count on a car that won’t come unglued from the asphalt.

One technological trick any super spy would be glad to have is the Vantage's electronic rear differential, a first for Aston Martin. This new system uses the car’s electronic stability system to control power distribution to each of the rear wheels individually. It can modulate power as necessary with millisecond timing, going from fully open to 100 percent locked, so the car's computer can put power exactly where it's needed, enhancing both straight-line stability and cornering.

Beyond that, you can expect the full complement of infotainment, safety, and interior amenities—enhanced audio, great leather, carbon fiber trim, and so on—plus new paint and 20-inch wheel options. Aston expects to start shipping the new car to the US by the first half of next year—then get back to the next step in its ever evolving heritage.


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