Aston Martin unveiled the production version of its eagerly awaited V8 Vantage at the 2005 Geneva International Motor Show on Tuesday 1st March.
First shown as a concept car at the 2003 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the V8 Vantage immediately caused a worldwide sensation as it allows Aston Martin to enter a new sector of the premium sports car market with a genuine alternative to other cars that are currently on offer.
Deliveries of the Aston Martin V8 Vantage to customers in the UK and Europe will begin in late summer and in North America and the rest of the world by the end of the year.
It will be built at Aston Martin’s Headquarters at Gaydon, Warwickshire, UK, and completes the current Aston Martin line-up. This now comprises the flagship Vanquish S, the elegant DB9 and the agile V8 Vantage.
“The V8 Vantage is a significant car for us,“ explained Dr Ulrich Bez, CEO of Aston Martin. “It is now the third model in our range and is the culmination of the first phase of reinvigorating the Aston Martin brand around the world that began in the year 2000".
“The V8 Vantage is a true Aston Martin, built with the same high integrity and passion as all of our cars. This is the more affordable Aston Martin and its design and agility should help to widen our appeal and attract younger customers to our marque.”
Styling and Design
The exterior of the V8 Vantage is beautiful and perfectly proportioned from every angle with a low purposeful stance. Each carefully detailed feature provides graphic evidence of the painstaking craftsmanship and quality, which is synonymous with the Aston Martin marque.
The long bonnet and two-seater cabin creates an instantly recognisable stance, while minimal front and rear overhangs, combined with a wide track, appear to push the rear wheels out and enhance the extremities of the bodywork. At the rear a hatchback offers practicality not normally found in sports cars of this type.
The V8 Vantage is a two-seater, with the rear environment offering a large luggage shelf area accessed by a tailgate.
Inside, Aston Martin’s craftsmanship is matched to striking 21st century style. The dials are made from aluminium, and together with the switchgear have a very distinct design and unique Aston Martin look and feel.
Chassis, Engine and Performance
The V8 Vantage has endured the most extensive test and development programme in the Company’s 91 year history during which 78 Prototypes were vigorously tested more than 1½ million miles. In Dubai over 12,000 miles of testing was carried out where ambient temperatures regularly hit 48ºc and the bodywork of the cars reached 87ºc.
High speed testing was conducted at the Nardo test track in Italy and extensive testing was carried out at Nurburgring’s Nordschleife in Germany, and cold weather testing in temperatures as low as -30ºc was undertaken in Sweden.
The V8 Vantage is the second model to use Aston Martin’s unique VH (Vertical Horizontal) architecture. Constructed from lightweight aluminium extrusions, precision castings and pressings, the underframe is bonded with aerospace adhesives and mechanically fixed with self-piercing rivets.
The unique architecture provides an excellent backbone, while the use of sophisticated materials such as lightweight alloys, magnesium and advanced composites for the body further contributes to the car’s low weight and class-leading rigidity.
The V8 Vantage uses a combination of aluminium, steel and advanced composite exterior panels. Composites are used for panels with a high degree of complexity and a deeper shape, such as the front wings, which incorporate the distinctive side strakes.
The V8 Vantage is very much a pure sports car, so from the outset, the priority of Aston Martin’s engineers was to focus on a lightweight, compact size, agility and power. At just 4.38 metres long it is compact and very nimble and is the smallest model in the Aston Martin range.
The all new 380 bhp engine is a 4.3 litre, low emissions all aluminium alloy V8, unique to Aston Martin. This new V8 uses the latest technology to deliver outstanding performance in all environments.
Aston Martin has adopted a dry-sump lubrication system for the V8 Vantage. Often used in racing cars, this system allows the engine to sit very low in the body, lowering the centre of gravity which in turn helps to improve handling and the overall balance and stability of the car. The system also helps to improve engine durability by maintaining lubrication under conditions of extreme cornering and braking.
The advanced quad-cam 32-valve engine is individually hand assembled by skilled Aston Martin technicians at the company’s new engine production facility in Cologne, Germany, where every Aston Martin engine, including the V12 for Vanquish S and DB9, is built.
The inlet camshaft timing is variable resulting in improved low-end throttle response, mid-range torque and seamless power delivery. Maximum power is 380bhp @ 7000rpm and maximum torque 302lb ft @ 5000rpm.
The V8 Vantage will be initially offered with a 6-speed manual transmission and other alternatives will be announced at a later date. A great deal of time and effort has been spent ensuring that the new transmission has a smooth and fast shift action to ensure its ultra close ratios can be used to maximum effect.