An evocative name for a magnificent bloodline of thoroughbred sports cars. For seven decades the heartbeat of Aston Martin’s purest models, the Vantage nameplate has been worn by some true icons. First used in 1951 on a high-output engine option for the DB2, Vantage was quickly established as a model in its own right. Highlights include the William Towns-designed V8 Vantage, spectacular twin-supercharged V600 Le Mans and the much-loved V8 Vantage. Today this formidable sporting dynasty is poised to hit new heights with the introduction of the new Vantage.
A spectacular new Aston Martin sports car demands a bold and distinctive design language. Pure, sculptural forms create an athletic, predatory stance, while the minimal front and rear overhangs, muscular flanks and broad haunches express the agility and dynamism inherent within the car. New head and tail lights form dramatic new signatures giving the Vantage unmistakable road presence and contribute to a strong and individual identity within the growing Aston Martin model range.
Aerodynamic performance was central to the Vantage design concept: the front splitter directs airflow underneath the car, where a system of fences channels cooling air where it is needed, and also ensures the rear diffuser is fed with clean airflow. The design of the diffuser creates an area of low-pressure air, while simultaneously preventing turbulence generated by the rear wheels from disrupting the flow of air exiting centrally from beneath the rear of the car.
Together with the new side gills, which have been integrated into the body surface and bleed air pressure out from the front wheel arches, and the pronounced upswept rear deck lid, the Vantage generates a significant level of downforce – a rarity on any production car and a first for a core production Aston Martin model.
The design story continues inside with a dynamic and focused sports car cockpit that rejects long, fluid curves in favor of sharp, focused lines denoting the more aggressive nature of the car. A high waist interior theme and lower driving position creates a more immersive driving experience and contributes to significant gains in occupant space and significant improvement in headroom compared with the outgoing Vantage. A combination of rotary and toggle style controls have been used for their tactile and intuitive functionality. Likewise, the PRND transmission buttons have been moved into a triangular formation so as to cluster major controls into clearly defined zones. The interior also offers generous stowage space, with useable room behind the seats and generous double-tier storage areas.
The heart of the Vantage is Aston Martin’s potent new alloy, 4-litre twin-turbo V8 engine. Set low and as far back in the chassis as possible for optimal center-of-gravity and perfect 50:50 weight distribution, this high performance, high-efficiency engine returns a CO2 figure of *245g/km yet develops 510PS at 6000rpm and 685Nm from 2000-5000rpm. With a dry weight of 1530kg this gives the Vantage formidable power-to-weight and torque-to-weight ratios – something vividly demonstrated whenever the throttle is squeezed. Detailed tuning of the induction, exhaust and engine management systems has given the Vantage a truly intoxicating character and soundtrack.
The Vantage deploys its impressive power and torque to the rear wheels via a rear-mounted ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. Capable of accelerating from 0 to 60mph in 3.5 seconds and on to a maximum speed of 195mph, it employs a sophisticated suite of integrated electronic systems to offer maximum control and driver enjoyment. These include Dynamic Stability Control and Dynamic Torque Vectoring. The speed-dependent electric power steering has 2.4 turns lock-to-lock for an outstanding combination of responsiveness and precise, intuitive control.
For the first time on an Aston Martin, the new Vantage also features an Electronic Rear Differential (E-Diff). This differential is linked to the car’s electronic stability control system, so it can understand the car’s behavior, and react accordingly to direct the engine’s power to the relevant wheel. Unlike a conventional LSD, it can go from fully open to 100% locked in a matter of milliseconds. At higher speeds, the Electronic Differential’s speed and sensitivity of response enables the system to take very fine control of the car’s dynamic behavior. It makes the car feel much more composed both in terms of its straight-line stability and its cornering performance, providing the driver with increased levels of confidence to explore and enjoy the car’s capabilities to the full.
The chassis is an evolution of the latest generation bonded aluminum structure first seen on the DB11, though some 70 percent of the structure’s components are new for Vantage. Balance, strength, rigidity and weight efficiency were all priorities in the new design, as was handling purity and consistency. Highlights of the chassis include a solidly mounted rear subframe for an enhanced feeling of direct connection for the driver, new Pirelli P Zero tires developed specifically for new Vantage and the latest generation Adaptive Damping System which incorporates Skyhook technology and offers the choice of Sport, Sport Plus and Track modes.
Thanks to full integration of engine, transmission, E-Diff, Dynamic Torque Vectoring, Dynamic Stability Control, Adaptive Damping and the electric power steering systems, each mode optimises every area of the car as one. With each step the Vantage gains in agility and responsiveness, its character becoming progressively sharper, more vocal and more exciting. This is the essence of the Vantage driving experience – a car that’s never less than connected and engaging with the breadth of capability to revel in challenging roads and bare its teeth on track.
The car features a high level of standard equipment, including keyless start/stop, tire pressure monitoring system, parking distance display, park assist and front and rear parking sensors. The In-Car Entertainment system – controlled and viewed via a centrally mounted 8” LCD screen – comprises of the Aston Martin Audio System, Bluetooth® audio and phone streaming, iPod®, iPhone® and USB playback and an integrated satellite navigation system.
Being an Aston Martin, the new Vantage also features a high level of craftsmanship, evidenced by flawless paintwork, luxurious Alcantara® and leather upholstery and the levels of finish optimised through the use of tactile natural materials of the highest quality. There is also extensive scope for personalization via a generous choice of options. These include forged alloy wheels in a variety of finishes, Sports Plus Collection (comprising Sports Plus seats and Sports steering wheel), carbon fiber interior and exterior detailing and a Premium Audio System.
Aston Martin President Chief Executive Officer, Dr Andy Palmer said:
It speaks volumes for the outgoing Vantage that it is the single most successful model in Aston Martin’s history. Creating a worthy successor has been a challenge to relish and a huge source of motivation. I’m enormously excited by what we’ve created: a new Vantage that’s more explicit in looks and intent, wrapping heart-pounding performance and dazzling dynamics into an everyday usable package. A true sports car with a sharper look and a keener dynamic edge, the new Vantage is the Aston Martin pure driving machine enthusiasts have been waiting for.
The new Vantage is on sale now with a recommended retail price from £120,900 in the UK, €154,000 in Germany and $149,995 in the USA. Deliveries are scheduled to begin during the second quarter of 2018.
The first time the Vantage name was used few could have imagined its future significance. Originally used in 1951 in sales literature for a high-performance derivative of the DB2, the engine – offering 125bhp against 105 for the standard model – was far from a standalone model, but established the name as one that would appeal to the keenest drivers.
The Vantage name next used in 1962 to denote a distinct model was the DB4 Vantage. In addition to a high-performance engine, these Vantage specification cars also featured subtle styling modifications. With the introduction of the DB5 in 1964, the Vantage model became firmly established as the high-performance derivative. They were visually distinguished by discreet Vantage badges attached to the side strakes on the front wings – a strategy that also applied to, the DB6, DB6 Mk2 and DBS.
The first standalone Vantage model was the short-lived AM Vantage – in essence, a re-styled DBS Vantage with a 4.0-litre 6-cylinder engine. Produced for a little over a year between the spring of 1972 and 1973, it was sold alongside the new William Towns-designed AM V8. Though just 70 examples were built, it was to spawn a true icon in the shape of the V8 Vantage. Introduced in 1977 as Aston Martin’s performance flagship, it was defined by its muscular looks and immense performance courtesy of a tuned 375bhp version of the 5.3-litre V8. One of the fastest and most desirable cars of its day, the V8 Vantage would ultimately spawn Volante and Zagato versions before it ceased production.
By now firmly established as the quintessential British supercar, the next Vantage was a magnificently brutal evolution of the V8-engined Virage Coupe. With uprated brakes and suspension and a pair of superchargers attached to the hand-built V8, this new Vantage was a 550bhp monster. Later developments saw power rise to 600bhp, with the final V600 Le Mans models amongst the rarest and most desirable Vantage models of all and the last Vantage model to be built at Newport Pagnell.
The DB7 Vantage of 2000 was a landmark car, as it introduced Aston Martin’s new 6.0-litre V12. A huge step up from the six-cylinder DB7, the Vantage was a true Ferrari rival. Available with manual and automatic transmission, and in Coupe or Volante body styles.
With the introduction of the all-new 2005 V8 Vantage, Aston Martin was to experience unprecedented levels of kudos and sales success. Built around the company’s innovative VH platform and using a strong, lightweight bonded aluminum chassis, this generation of Vantage would continually evolve. First with a large capacity V8 engine, followed by the introduction of an Automated Sequential Manual transmission. When a V12 was launched in 2009 it wowed enthusiasts around the world. Since then special series models such as the track-biased Aston Martin GT12 and GT8 models have continued to exploit a design with apparently limitless potential.
Now, with the introduction of the new Vantage, a fresh chapter of this legendary model is about to begin.
Note: Press release courtesy of Aston Martin.