A range of new infotainment features should make the Aston Martin V8 Vantage even more driver-friendly for 2008. The low-slung sports car is powered by a normally aspirated V-8 that makes a none-too-shabby 380 horsepower. It looks much like Aston Martin's larger DB9. At around $120,000, the V8 Vantage competes roughly with the Mercedes CL63 AMG, BMW M6 and Porsche 911 Turbo.
Hardtop and convertible versions are available, both with a six-speed manual or six-speed auto-manual transmission. The car 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. The convertible has a fabric top that stows beneath a metal tonneau cover.
Measuring 172.5 inches long and 73.5 inches wide, the V8 Vantage is more than 10 inches shorter than the larger DB9, but about the same width. 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 3,595 pounds, the coupe is roughly the same weight as the all-wheel-drive 911 Turbo and about 7 percent lighter than the DB9.
Eighteen-inch alloy wheels wear P235/45ZR18 tires in front and P275/40ZR18 tires in back. Nineteen-inch wheels are available.
The standard 10-way power 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. For 2008, the steering wheel adds audio controls, and the stereo now has an auxiliary jack for MP3 players. The information display can now display Russian, Chinese and Greek in addition to the previous languages available. Bluetooth connectivity, a navigation system and satellite radio are optional.
A dizzying array of interior choices means each V8 Vantage can be personalized by its buyer. 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.
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 coupe can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds. A paddle-shifting, automated manual transmission is optional. Top speed is reportedly 175 mph.
Antilock brakes, traction control, an electronic stability system and side-impact airbags are standard. The 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.