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Aston Martin V8 Vantage








Less than a year after launching the acclaimed DB9, Aston Martin is poised to release its next world-beater: the V8 Vantage.

Conceived as a rival to Porsche's 911, the V8 vantage is entering the final stages of an exhaustive two-year development programme.

This has seen prototypes cover a total of two million miles, in locations as diverse as the scorching heat of Dubai, the freezing cold of Sweden and the punishing Nürburgring circuit in Germany.

Set for its official unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show in March, and released to the press for driving appraisal in the summer, it's no surprise that few outsiders have seen the car in the metal, and fewer still have experienced it from the cockpit. How-ever, Auto Express was given privileged behind-the-scenes access to one of the development prototypes, including a passenger ride with one of the company's senior development engineers. If you're a sports car fan, the early news is very good indeed.

Built using the same innovative aluminium chassis technology as the DB9, the V8 Vantage is much smaller and lighter, its short wheelbase and wide track giving it a suitably muscular, broad-shouldered stance.

Although it is the same size as Porsche's latest 997-generation 911, the Aston's minimal front and rear overhangs mean it appears more compact, while a rakish windscreen and low roof- line add to its aggressive appearance. When it starts up, that aggression erupts from the pair of exhaust pipes with a deep V8 bark, a sound leaving you in no doubt that the Vantage is a sharp, potent sports car unlike anything Aston has ever built before.

A strict two-seater, the Vantage will be launched with a six-speed manual transmission, and is powered by a 4.3-litre V8. Apart from its basic block, which is derived from a Jaguar V8, the Vantage's motor is entirely Aston, from the internal components to the design of the cylinder heads. Official figures are yet to be released, but the engine is believed to develop around 380bhp, with a torque figure to match.

From the passenger seat, the en-gine delivers vivid performance as wellas a truly magnificent soundtrack. It is sharp, responsive and loves to be worked hard, pulling with increasing vigour as the revs pile on.

That it also feels refined and happy lower down in the range is ample proof the car is as comfortable in everyday traffic as it is on the open road. Top speed is claimed to exceed 175mph, with a 0-60mph time of five seconds.
As you'd hope from a car aimed directly at the 911, the Vantage is supremely grippy and agile. The suspension is firm and taut, but there's just enough suppleness to absorb the sharp edges from road imperfections.

This sporting bias pays dividends on fast, open A and B roads, where the Vantage feels incredibly sharp and secure and displays sufficient poise to impress even the most loyal Porsche fan.

It's hard to judge which would be quicker, but the front-mid-engined V8 Vantage's superior balance should ensure it's easier and more forgiving than the rear-engined Porsche.

In keeping with Aston's exclusivity, production of the V8 Vantage will be limited to 3,000 cars per year, almost 10 times less than the number of 911s made annually. Pricing is not yet confirmed, but Aston insiders say it will be in the region of £70,000.

While the low production volumes ensure Porsche won't lose too much sleep, the fact the 911's dynamic superiority is under threat must be cause for concern. We'll have to wait six months to see first hand just how good the Aston is, but judging by this preview, our patience will be handsomely rewarded.





 

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mmmm Aston . . . .
 

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Red the article in my new top gear mag and aparently it was lapping the Nürburgring in 8mins 10 secs, with bald tyres and knackered brakes. And that is still faster than the base 911. I WANT ONE!!!!!!
 

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drooooooooooooooling!!!!!
 

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Wow thats hot!!!!

i got a ride in an AM a couple of years ago...wow was it a head turner....i felt dead posh too lol
 

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A lot of clever thinking on this car, i saw a full cross section at Halewood a few weeks ago. Lots a Race tec but a few things worry me. For all its tec do please have a look at the Z06 Vette.

Now the normal one is steel frame, but the Z06 is Hydro formed Alloy, lots of clever thinking on that as well and its going to be a lot cheaper than the Aston.

LHD only so not much to worry about here but in USA, another matter.
I suspect 0-60 in 4.7 for the car BTW, Vette already does that.

Cheers
Mega
 
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