The Vantage lineup is offered in V12 Vantage S and V8 Vantage versions, and can be had in either coupe or roadster form.
The base V8 Vantage includes a 4.7L V8 making 420 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque. It comes with either a 6-speed manual gearbox or 7-speed auto-shift manual. V8 Vantage S and Vantage GT models feature a 430-horsepower version of the V8, with torque upped to 361 pound feet. V12 Vantage S versions come with a 6.0L V12 engine that makes 565 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque. It is mated to a 7-speed single-clutch system that can be shifted via steering wheel paddles or, new for this year, a 7-speed manual transmission.
V12 models can be spotted mostly through their additional hood venting; there are few other changes on the outside. Roadsters come with a power soft-top arrangement, as well as a different rear damper and spring setup. V8 Vantage S models offer a sports suspension upgrade that includes some of the V12 Vantage changes, with a revised rear anti-roll bar, different shocks and uprated springs. Both models ride on Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires, and stopping power is provided by Brembo 4-wheel disc brakes.
There are two user-selectable driving modes in the Vantage S. The Normal mode softens throttle response and switches to a somewhat quieter, more refined exhaust note. Switch over to the Sport mode, and response gets sharper, plus an exhaust bypass opens at a certain level of accelerator travel to create a sportier, more "raw" exhaust note.
Compared to the coupe, Vantage roadster models get a different trunk lid, including more of a flip up at the back, for aerodynamics, as well as a different lower front air intake. The roadster's soft top fits under a metal tonneau.
The Vantage is nearly 173 inches long, or about the same length as a compact sedan. The Vantage is a two-seater, with plenty of space even for taller adults to sprawl out -- although there isn't a lot of headroom to spare.
In coupe and roadster models, the carbon fiber front splitter and diffuser are hand-made. Inside, there are real glass switches in the center stack, while interior trim pieces are made of carbon fiber.
Equipment on all Vantage models includes automatic climate control, full power accessories, a trip computer, reverse parking sensors, power seats with lumbar support, variable intermittent wipers and headlight washers.
Carbon fiber lightweight seats are an option, bringing 6-way adjustable seats with fixed backrests, trimmed with full leather and an exposed carbon-fiber frame. Standout options include front parking sensors, cruise control, satellite radio and a 13-speaker, 1,000-watt Bang & Olufsen BeoSound audio system, with Alcantara trim, polished alloy treadplates, an umbrella with built-in holder and all sorts of custom color combinations for the carpet, upholstery and headliner. Those who like the look of carbon-fiber trim might also want to consider either the Exterior Carbon Pack (rear light housing, side strakes and mirror caps) or the Interior Carbon Pack (dash, shifter and door pulls).
Aston Martin doesn't make it hard to like its cars. They're beautifully designed and handle wonderfully. They're comfortable and come with a variety of noisy and powerful engines. While Aston's cars aren't as fast on paper as some of Italy's finest, they're up there when it comes to elegance. Whereas a Ferrari is in your face, Gaydon's child will only speak when spoken to. Well, more bark than speak. A V-12 can only make certain noises.
The V12 Vantage S is a fantastic car. Its 565 brake horsepower, 6.0-liter V12 is the right kind of stupid in a normally proportioned vehicle, let alone one the size of a small shoe. It'll take you from 0-62 mph in 3.9 seconds and up to 205 mph if you have a small runway or don't mind spending some time in prison.
Torque isn't an issue, either, as there's 457 pound-feet to play with, and that means there's plenty of punch in gear. Gearing, however, used to be a huge problem. You see, Aston only offered the V12 Vantage S with a "SportShift" gearbox. It's an automated manual and, frankly, it's awful.
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