Aston Martin's new V8 Vantage is powered by a normally aspirated V-8 that makes a none-too-shabby 380 horsepower. The V8 Vantage wears a sleek, windswept exterior that bears resemblance to Aston Martin's larger DB9.
It was introduced for the 2006 model year, so changes for 2007 are fairly minor.
As the least costly Aston Martin, the two-seat V8 Vantage competes with other sports cars in the $100,000 range. These include the Porsche 911, the Maserati Coupe and the Maserati GranSport. The V8 Vantage is available with a six-speed manual or six-speed auto-manual transmission
The V8 Vantage is built at Aston Martin's headquarters in Gaydon, England.
Twin-bezel headlamps flank Aston Martin's trademark trapezoidal grille. Flared front fenders are trailed by inset side vents, and all lines flow rearward to the V8 Vantage's twin-bar taillamps. The integrated deck lid spoiler and twin exhaust pipes finish off the rear.
New for 2007 are LEDs in the door handles, as well as optional 19-inch wheels with a painted anthracite finish and optional front stone guards.
Measuring 172.5 inches long, the V8 Vantage is more than 10 inches shorter than Aston Martin's DB9 and flagship Vanquish, but it's about as wide as both at 73.5 inches. The V8 Vantage's frame replaces welding with advanced adhesives for better vibration damping, and aluminum and magnesium components reduce weight throughout the chassis. At 3,461 pounds, the V8 Vantage is 9 percent lighter than the DB9, but it's still 330 pounds heavier than Porsche's 911 Carrera S coupe.
Eighteen-inch alloy wheels wear P235/45ZR18 tires in front and P275/40ZR18 tires in back.
New seats feature occupant-sensing head and thorax side airbags and twin lumbar adjustment. Three-position memory and dual-stage heating for the seats are optional.
A dizzying array of interior choices — including up to 20 colors for seats, carpets and more — means each V8 Vantage can be personalized by its buyer. For 2007, Aston Martin offers non-standard leather color choices and a match-to-sample service. Premium materials line the aluminum-trimmed dashboard, which includes a ringed engine start button above the radio controls. An analog clock, stitched dashboard seams and machined instrument dials are among the upscale touches. Whereas traditional tachometers swing clockwise, the V8 Vantage's swings counterclockwise as engine speed builds, which might take some time to get used to.
A small luggage shelf sits behind the standard 10-way power seats. Options include cruise control and a navigation system. New options for 2007 include a garage door opener and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Under the Hood
The V8 Vantage's 4.3-liter V-8 engine generates 380 hp and 302 pounds-feet of torque. Its aluminum construction uses a dry-sump lubrication system that eliminates the oil pan and allows the engine to sit lower to the ground, thereby lowering the vehicle's center of gravity. A rear-mounted transmission helps the V8 Vantage achieve a 49:51 front-to-rear weight distribution.
With its standard six-speed manual transmission, Aston Martin says the V8 Vantage can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds. A six-speed auto-manual transmission is optional. Top speed is reportedly 175 mph.
Antilock brakes, traction control, an electronic stability system and side-impact airbags are standard. New seats also incorporate head-protection airbags. Front Brembo disc brakes measure 14 inches in diameter, while non-Brembo rear discs are 13 inches. Both pairs of discs are gripped by four-piston calipers.