The 2019 Aston Martin Vantage is pitted against a dream lineup of exotic machinery, including performance icons like the Porsche 911, Acura NSX, Nissan GT-R, Mercedes-AMG GT and Maserati GranTurismo. In such esteemed company, choosing a “No. 1” is like insisting your favorite ice cream flavor is the best ice cream flavor of all time. Sure, Truffle Kerfuffle is delicious, but is it objectively tastier than Chubby Hubby? Point is: Driving any of these esteemed sports cars is always a treat.
Powered by a twin-turbocharged V-8 that generates 503 horsepower, this low-slung coupe has the muscle to match its head-turning good looks. It’s too bad the British automaker can’t bottle the ferocious sound of this engine and sell it over the counter, because you’d want to dab some behind your ears on a daily basis. But nothing in life is perfect — and that holds true even when talking about an Aston Martin.
As we discovered during a recent test drive, the Vantage has some details that could use fine-tuning back at James Bond’s Q Branch. If you’d like to settle down with our comprehensive review by Cars.com’s Aaron Bragman, then be sure to follow the related link above. For now, keep reading to speed through the ups and downs of our experience behind the wheel of the slinky Vantage.
Things We Like
1. That Aston Intangible
There’s something extra-special about driving a sports car with the Aston Martin emblem on the nose. Having the keys to a Mercedes-Benz, Audi or Porsche in your pocket is hardly what we’d call a bad day at the office. Yet, driving an Aston feels even more exclusive and — as a result, a little bit sexier.
2. Twin-Turbo V-8
Under the curvaceous hood and tucked as far back in the chassis as possible is a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 that produces 503 hp and 505 pounds-feet of torque. Power is there whenever you want it, and you might become addicted to punching the gas pedal at every opportunity.
3. Exhilarating Exhaust
Hitting the gas pedal also unleashes an incredible exhaust note from the Vantage. In his review, Bragman called the “vicious ripping snarl” this car makes under hard acceleration as nothing short of “glorious.”
4. Stellar Steering
We made no bones about it in our review, the Aston Martin Vantage has some of the best steering of any car we’ve recently driven. It’s sharp and super-direct, letting you place this British sports machine with pinpoint accuracy.
5. Refreshingly Livable Ride
You won’t fool yourself into thinking you’re in a luxury limousine, but the suspension tuning isn’t meant to rattle you during every drive. The ride has been engineered to be refreshingly livable on a day-to-day basis, even with the large 20-inch wheels and low-profile tires fitted to our test car.
6. Smaller Than It Looks
We doubt you’ll want to fit a Vantage into many tight parking spaces for your doors’ sake, but this car’s small size can be an asset. The Vantage is notably smaller than rivals like the Mercedes-AMG GT and Jaguar F-Type coupe and roadster. It’s decidedly sport-oriented — or as Bragman put it in his review, “fun-sized.”
7. Curb-Friendly Doors
… Then again, if you do decide to park your Aston at a street meter, the upward-swinging doors help avoid nasty encounters with curbs. They’re like a cross between a normal door and the scissor-style variety fitted to exotics like the Lamborghini Aventador — and we like ’em!
8. Lush Leather Interior
The cabin is brimming with classy leather surfaces that give the Vantage an opulent feel, no matter if you’re behind the steering wheel or simply along for the ride. “Anything covered in leather looks, feels and smells fantastic,” Bragman noted.
9. Surprisingly Spacious
Despite its diminutive exterior proportions, the Vantage offers a surprising amount of cabin space. Credit goes to the car’s long wheelbase, which permits extra passenger room and the ability to slide the seats back to find a comfortable position for longer-limbed occupants.
10. Pricey Yet Competitive
Our test car had a starting price of $152,820, including a destination charge, though this swelled to nearly $187,000 with options. Hardly chump change, we know, but the Aston is priced right in the thick of its key rivals. It’s not what we’d call a bargain, though you get a whole lot of performance and perceived prestige for your money.
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Things We Don’t
Carbon-ceramic brakes are great if you plan on taking your sports car to a racetrack, but they’re squeaky and annoying in normal driving. Skip adding them to the Vantage; you’ll save money and still have plenty of stopping power.
2. Bergdorf Goodman Bod, Home Depot Grille
Sorry, but the front grille looks like a cheap add-on that came from a Home Depot. In our review, we said it looked like “chicken wire” fencing.
3. Cheap Plastic Cabin Trim
While we had nothing but praise for the cabin trim that was covered in rich leather, too many plastic parts looked cheap and totally out of place. Our review notes that the air vents look like they came directly out of a “25-year-old Kia.” Small details matter, especially in this price range.
4. Strange Seating Position
A low seat and narrow windows create a “tublike” driving environment in the Vantage. This impedes outward visibility and makes the rear camera and parking sensors an absolute must.
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