The V8 Vantage was designed as an anti-911 affordable Aston Martin that has to make the brand profitable by increasing sales. Also it is a high-performance sports car, yet with predictable handling and sharp engine response, it also offers good visibility and easy to use controls that make it comfortable in city, on country roads or even on the race track. All these features make the V8 Vantage be the first Aston Martin that can serve as a weekday working car, not only as a weekend treat.
Aston Martin’s history was an agitated one with lots of ups and downs. Founded in 1913 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford the company didn’t get to produce any vehicles until the end of World War One. In 1947, Sir David Brown bought the company and that was the beginning of the classic series of cars bearing the initials ’DB’. Despite the brands general appreciation it was often troubled of financial problems, and got to change owners several times. Before it was finally acquired by Ford in 1993, Aston Martin was the property of a Birmingham-based consortium and between and also that of American businessmen Peter Sprague and George Minden.
Under Ford management the manufacturer that has produced 20,000 vehicles in more than 75 years became finally profitable. The first model to be produced since the Ford takeover was the DB7, the most affordable Aston at that time, it got to be built in more than 6,000 units, becoming the most popular Aston Martin. Ford intends to further increase Aston Martin production figures and to reach a total production of 40,000 vehicles within four years. In order to do that they needed to bring a new element, to the market, cheaper than the DB9, that could boost sales. That model got to be the new V8 Vantage, intended as a Porsche 911 competitor.
Aston Martin previously used the "Vantage" indicative for its highest-performance vehicles, and notably used the "V8 Vantage" enclosure on their supercar of the 1970s and 1980s. The new V8 Vantage, in contrast, is the lowest line in Aston’s three-model lineup, and is intended as an affordable volume model, although it offers levels of performance comparable to the high-end model of the 80s.
Introduced as a 2006 model year, the V8 Vantage was first introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in 2005. Configured as a two seater, two door coupe, the new V8 Vantage has a bonded aluminum structure for strength and lightness. It features a hatchback-style tailgate for practicality, with a large luggage (for this type of a vehicle) shelf behind the seats. An interesting thing is that Aston Martin is the brand that invented the hatchback body style with the 1953 DB2/4.
The AM V8 Vantage is clearly aimed at the Porsche 911 Carrera S, that offers similar performance at a slightly lower price. The price difference is being justified by the exclusivity of the Aston Martin models that are a lot less common than Porsches. Other players in this class would be the high-performance pair Ferrari F430 / Lamborghini Gallardo. With middle mounted engines this race-like vehicles are oriented more on pure performance than comfort and finesse. A more elegant competitor is the Ford Premier Group brother, the Jaguar XKR. Bigger and heavier, the new Jag can offer even more comfort and room that the Aston at a lower price. Also cheaper, but lacking the prestige of the Aston are the BMW Z4 M Coupe and the Mercedes SLK AMG.
Body & chassis
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage is a two-door style, with tailgate and two seats. The under body is a bonded aluminum steel composite, and magnesium structure. It features extruded aluminum side impact bars, halogen projector headlamps and LED rear lamps.
The exterior design mixes beautiful sportscar line, while maintaining a unique identity. The key to the superb handling and responsiveness of the vehicle is the advanced body structure, completely new for Aston Martin. Called the VH (Vertical Horizontal), this architecture provides an excellent backbone by using sophisticated materials such as lightweight alloys, magnesium and advanced composites achieving low weight and class-leading rigidity.
The high strength and rigidity of the chassis provide a stable platform, from which the suspension can control the car, can give enhanced control and feel, and effectively increase safety while improving build quality. Rival manufacturers who use conventional materials increase rigidity by adding weight, which affects both performance and agility. This light-weight approach from Aston Martin’s guarantees a safer, sounder car, with improved performance and sharper response.
This light body structure is perfectly matched with the sporty fully independent double wishbone suspension able to provide outstanding handling and excellent ride quality. The fundamental element behind the V8’s Vantage handling capabilities is the excellent weight balance offered by the position of the drive train. Also because not having to compensate for an excess of weight over either the front or the rear of the car (as Porsche 911 have to, as an example), the suspension is uncompromised and minutely tuned for optimal handling.
Highly important for a vehicle’s agility is the low polar moment of inertia and the weight distribution. In order to meet these requirements the V8 Vantage was designed to concentrate as much weight as possible within the wheelbase, with minimal weight front and rear overhangs. The engine was positioned ahead of the cabin, but well behind the front axle line, making the V8 Vantage a front mid-engined car. For the same goal serves also the dry sump lubrication, normally a motorsport application, that enables the engine to sit lower in the car and further improve handling by lowering the centre of gravity. Dry sump lubrication is also known to allow greater cornering speeds, as there is minimal danger of g-forces denying oil supply to the engine.
For further improvement of weight distribution, the transmission was mounted forward of the rear ’axle’ line and got connected to the engine by a rigid aluminum torque tube, which houses the strong and light carbon-fiber propeller shaft.
The key element of every great sports car is the engine. The V8 Vantage is equipped with a brand new all alloy, quad overhead camshaft, 32 valves, 262 cui V8. The front-mid mounted engine offers variable inlet camshaft timing, dry sump lubrication system and a fully catalysed stainless steel exhaust system with active bypass valves.
Designed and built by Aston Martin the V8 engine offers both flexibility and outright performance. With 380 bhp at 7,000 rpm it delivers an outstanding aural experience, as expected of an Aston Martin and a potential maximum speed of 175 mph. The massive power is not the only reason for the performance of the V8 Vantage. The front mid-engine position and the dry sump lubrication system allow the engine to lower the car’s centre of gravity.
The new V8, specifically designed for the V8 Vantage is hand-assembled at Aston Martin’s new engine facility in Cologne, Germany. A specific attention has been given to engine response at the lower end of the rev range. That was achieved by the maximum torque of an impressive 302 lb ft at 5000 rpm, 75 per cent of which is delivered at just 1500 rpm, making the car extremely tractable and comfortable to drive. A harder push on the accelerator makes the V8 engine rev freely, delivering a refined and exhilarating pace.
It is an Aston Martin tradition for engines to be both musical and muscular. The new V8 makes no difference. With optimized bore and stroke dimensions it provides an excellent balance between outright power and torque. A resonance induction system further improves tractability and performance along to the inlet camshaft timing that varies improving low-end throttle response and mid-range torque in particular. A racing-like four-into-two-into-one manifold arrangement for each bank of improves breathing and therefore performance. The exhaust is quiet at low speed, as it is equipped with special bypass valves. At higher engine speeds those valves open to reduce the pressure in the exhaust system, raise the power output and provide a more rousing accompaniment.
The V8 is matched with a rear mid-mounted 6-speed Graziano manual gearbox with great chosen gear ratios, that optimally exploit the engine. The transmission is continued with an extremely light carbon-fiber propeller-shaft and a limited slip differential
engine V8, Dry Sump Lubrication
position Front Longituidnal
valvetrain 4 Valves per Cyl, Variable Inlet Camshaft Timing
displacement 262 cui
bore 3.5 in
stroke 3.39 in
power 380 bhp @ 7000 rpm
bhp/weight 242.04 bhp per weight
torque 302.4 ft lbs @ 5000 rpm
drive wheels RWD, Traction Control
body / frame Aluminium Alloy, Steel, Composite & Magnesium Alloy Body over Bonded Aluminium Structure
The AM V8 Vantage suspension has aluminum wishbones and dampers to save even more weight. It is composed of independent double aluminum wishbones, coil over aluminum mono-tube dampers and anti-roll bars.
The V8’s Vantage front brakes are with ventilated grooved 14-inch steel discs and radial-mounted four piston Brembo mono-block calipers. The rear brakes consist of ventilated 13-inch steel discs with radial mounted four piston mono-block calipers and separate handbrake caliper.
The braking system is complemented with electronic programs such as anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic braking distribution (EBD), traction control (TC), electronic brake assist (EBA), dynamic stability control (DSC) and positive torque control (PTC)
The AM V8’s steering rack is solidly mounted forward of the front wheels (a solution common on racing cars, but rarely seen on road cars) for better control and greater feedback.The rack and pinion power assisted steering also features column reach and tilt adjust.
Tires & wheels
10 Spoke Alloy wheel sized Front: 8.5J x 18" Rear: 9.5J x 18"
As a tradition at Aston Martin the interiors are fully hand-built. For the V8 Vantage the tradition got to meet the striking 21st century style. Hand-trimmed with the finest quality materials, the cabin is elegant, practical and safe. The seats are mounted low, close to the car’s centre of gravity, where the driver and passenger can feel the car reacting to the inputs as usually experienced in racing cars.
The interior helps the driver connect to the car from the moment he or she first sit in it. This bond is created by the natural agility of the car and also by the embrace of the authentic sports car cabin. The cockpit is simple, logical and beautifully designed and every element of it is unique to Aston Martin.
The dash-board is beautifully crafted from aluminum and has a three-dimensional profile for easy reading. As a design trick, most of the warning lights got hidden behind the aluminum faces and become visible only when illuminated. The central message display uses organic electroluminescent (OEL) that make it easier to read than conventional LCDs.
While being a synthesis of high technology and hand-crafted tradition, the interior features optional pop-up satellite navigation screen, hi-fi audio system and a glass made starter button.
The practical side of the V8 Vantage was not ignored. Besides the generous rear shelf, ideal for soft bags, the rear boot, easily accessed via the one-piece lightweight composite tailgate, is surprisingly large for a coupe.
- Technical grain leather and fabric interior
- Alcantara and fabric headlining
- Alloy facia
- Anthracite interior fittings
- 10 way electrically adjustable seats
- Automatic temperature control
- Heated rear screen
- Radio tuner and 6 CD autochanger
- Battery Disconnect Switch (BDS)
- Trip computer
- Dual stage driver and passenger airbags
- Side airbags
- Alarm and immobilizer
- Full natural grain leather with full Alcantara headlining
- Alternative piano black facia trim
- High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps (dipped beam) with powerwash
- Bright finish grille
- Alternative brake caliper finish (black, red, silver)
The V8 Vantage is a seductive blend of muscle, agility and elegance. Tuning such a car is almost redundant, but as we believe there is always room for improvement, we tweaked a bit the little Aston’s body. We thought the front spoiler was a bit dull, so we gave it a Vanquish look by adding round fog lamps and a more prominent spoiler lip. Another change was the front grille, which was replaced with a metallic net, like those used on racing cars. We also changed the side skirts with a more pair aerodynamic that incorporates the exhausts, which are now mounted on the sides of the car. We never like the little exhaust holes on the engine hood, so we had them removed, they only had aesthetic purpose anyway (usually tuning ads more of such cooling holes, but this car is so elegant that they seemed misplaced in there). A further change with even more visual impact was that of painting the body with two colors. We used a darker color for front spoiler, side skirts, hood, mirrors, roof, and a lighter, contrast color for the rest of the car. As we don’t like nor of the wheel models offered for the V8 Vantage, we mounted instead 20” BBS 10 spoke wheels. Finally, we gave the front lights a tint that matches the darker body color.