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Expert Reviews 1 of 2
By Jim Flammang
April 4, 2002
Vehicle Overview Despite all the attention thats been directed toward the new V12 Vanquish, Aston Martins DB7 Vantage remains on sale as both a two-door Coupe and a Volante convertible. Both offer 2+2 seating, in which the token backseat may be removed, if desired. Like the new V12 Vanquish, the DB7 Vantage uses a V-12 engine, even though earlier versions came to the United States with six-cylinder power.
Produced in the Newport Pagnell factory in Buckinghamshire, England, more than 4,000 DB7 Vantages have been sold in the last six years a sales record for the company. During 2001, about 300 DB7 Vantages were sold in the United States, and Aston Martin expects to increase that total by 10 percent to 330 cars in 2002. Naturally, DB7s arent cheap; the price for the Vantage Coupe comes in at $145,500, while the Vantage Volante convertible costs $155,500.
Astons DB series used to be driven in the movies by James Bond, until that fictional character switched to BMWs. Bond returns to Aston Martin in his next film, in which hell drive the V12 Vanquish. In the companys 88-year history, only about 15,000 automobiles have been produced.
Whether in Coupe or open Volante form, the DB7 Vantages clean, curvy lines and its low grille with integral headlights and fog lights give this sports car a distinctive and elegant appearance. Front fog and turn-signal lights are said to be reminiscent of Project Endurance Racing cars of the 1950s. Any body color the customer desires can be ordered. The DB7 Vantage rides a 102-inch wheelbase and measures 183 inches long. The Coupe is just under 49 inches tall.
Officially a 2+2 coupe, the DB7 Vantage contains a backseat, but it is tiny and intended only for occasional use. Customers can request that the backseat be omitted completely to allow for more cargo space. Posh interiors are part of the Aston Martin experience. Connolly leather similar to the upholstery seen in Britains House of Lords blends with wood veneer trim. An Alpine stereo system is installed, and a CD player is available.
Customers can choose other materials to suit their personal tastes. They can also request such personalized accessories as fitted luggage and an umbrella holder. Aston Martins have another special feature: Instead of turning the key, you push a red button on the dashboard to start the engine.
Under the Hood
All DB7 Vantage models use a 6.0-liter V-12 engine that generates 420 horsepower and 400 pounds-feet of torque. Either a six-speed-manual gearbox or an optional five-speed-automatic transmission may be installed. The ZF automatic permits the driver to select individual gear ratios using the floor lever or a Touchtronic push-button control system. Traction control and parking sensors are optional. Antilock brakes are standard, and side-impact airbags are not available.