Aston Martin Updates Vantage Line

You’re not James Bond, but you could drive his car.

John Scott Lewinskiby John Scott Lewinski

Actually, you probably can’t, if I’m honest. But, let’s pretend now that Aston Martin unveiled its Vantage range for 2012.

Not that one of the world’s classiest super cars wasn’t already an elite set of wheels – even though it’s often considered Aston’s entry level car, but the Aston Martin range is now evolving with a improvements to the V8 Vantage enhance  handling, feel and style.

It’s difficult to imagine any Aston Martin arriving on the scene as an entry level vehicle, but I guess even an Aston owner needs to start somewhere. For this new generation of Vantage, you’ll have to come up with the $118,370 for the Coupe and $132,870 for the Roadster.

No matter the setup, you get the new 4.7-liter V8 Vantage producing 420 horsepower and 346 lb.ft. of torque.
The standard six-speed manual transmission (Thank you, Aston Martin…) is still in place, but the optional six-speed Sport-shift automated manual transmission (No, thank you…) has been replaced with a seven-speed Sport-shift II. (Sigh…I think it’s pretty obvious at this point that this reporter prefers a proper manual transmission on the floor for elite sports car performance).

Aston Martin packs as many gear-head buzzwords into the new transmission as it does new engineering, promising that additional gear offers closer ratios, lower final drive and a quicker, refined shift quality. They promise this exclusive Aston gearbox packs “faster and more precise shifts, optimizes acceleration and delivers a sporting driving experience.”

Aston also tweaked the V8 Vantage’s chassis. Buyers get quicker steering, bigger brakes and wider tires. When the sad moments arrives when you have to stop this machine, 380 mm, two-piece ventilated cast-iron front discs and six piston calipers grab you. The new braking system includes Hill Start Assist. A sports exhaust system growls out the car’s sporting credentials.

In the car world, the best way to advertise that car is improved under the hood and from the wheels up is to present new flares and whistles to the exterior. The V8 Vantage received a bunch of styling changes clearly inspired (maybe borrowed) from the very attractive Vantage S and V12 Vantage.

Carbon fiber detailing abounds to enhance the car’s aerodynamic and weight monitored structure. When you’re in the driver’s seat, you’re surrounded by hand-stitched leather upholstery mixed with enough shiny metal knobs and leathers to remind you you’re in a very high-tech machine.

The front bumper adds a splitter and houses a larger air intake to feed the engine and front brakes. At the rear, a diffuser helps hunker the car down into the road while adding a little tougher look to the car’s rear end.
Of course, a car with so many performance upgrades would have to have all of the flashy bits of a luxury car interior. You get a satellite navigation system, satellite radio, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, remote garage door opener and Bluetooth connectivity.

While the Vantage is debuting now, 2012 will see the resurfacing of another Aston Martin make that promises to be a modern classic. I’ve reported on the V12 Zagato before after seeing it at  s 2011 preview event in LA. It was originally created as a 50th anniversary salute to the iconic DB4GT Zagato. It’s a top of the line super car that sells predominantly in Europe and the Middle East.

Now, not 12 months removed from the reborn Zagato’s arrival, the updated model will include more hand-built components and Italian visual design cues when it goes into very limited and built to order production this year.


Photo Credit: Fedor Selivanov /