In the Spotlight - Aston Martin Vantage {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

1 Dec 2017

Imagine just for a moment if you will, that you are Marek Reichman, head designer at Aston Martin and a couple of years ago you walk into a meeting and the big boss says the words you’ve been dreading. “We want you to design the replacement for the Vantage”. Someone get a defibrillator, quick, we’re losing him!!!

The problem is – the outgoing Vantage is widely regarded by most in the car world as one of the most beautiful cars ever designed, so how do you even start thinking about replacing it? Almost certainly you’re never going to please everyone and that has been proven with the new car, but you have to try and incorporate a more modern look to the car while still looking like an Aston and not alienating the ‘old guard’ too much. From my point of view it’s a massive success, but others aren’t so positive…

I was lucky enough to have seen the new Vantage at a preview event a month or so before the public reveal and it was very difficult not spilling the beans to all and sundry. But all that did was make me more surprised when the press shots came out – like those above – which were taken so low down and emphasised the new large front grille so much. Having seen it in the metal, from a normal height (5-6ft up) you barely notice it’s there, so it was a very odd choice to highlight the most controversial styling point so much in the first pictures people have seen. But like it or not, that front grille is a defining feature of the car now.

The Vantage has obviously taken inspiration from the DB10 that was used in James Bond: Spectre, but has added lots more detailing and more modern surfacing to it to create an incredibly striking car. There’s a wide, low bonnet with the jutting grille sitting below the front of the bonnet line – a first for Aston other than the Vulcan track car – which stretches almost the whole width of the car and still forms the traditional Aston Martin grille shape. Is it bold? Yes of course, but again I’m baffled as to why the press cars have the silver grille as the matte black option is far less challenging. Either way, that grille can be had in gloss black or lovely carbon fibre and is a standout feature of the car – but not the defining one.

I’d actually say the most striking aspect of the car is the rear – the ducktail spoiler rises up from the bootlid and from the rear you see that the rear light bar runs along and follows its shape – once again mirroring the traditional grille shape. Below that sits a very aggressive diffuser with quad pipes – which can again be gloss black or carbon. The rear arches and wonderfully swollen and there’s a new take on the side vent as well. Overall the new Vantage is stunning to these eyes, so aggressive and athletic in design yet still beautiful. The interior is a massive leap forward too, with far more modern technology borrowed from Daimler (Mercedes to you and I) integrated into a driver-focused dashboard. With vibrant colourways and again lots of optional carbon it can be personalised in thousands of different ways. One small point worth mentioning is that the boot is genuinely huge, more than enough room for a weekend’s luggage for two.

Of course the aspect that is upsetting most Aston purists is the powerplant in this new Vantage. In order to develop the new car, provide modern technology and meet modern emissions standards while still having the performance expected of a Vantage, Aston Martin simply had to partner with another manufacturer to provide the engine. And as seen in the DB11 the new Vantage uses Mercedes-AMG’s 4.0 litre twin turbo V8, producing 503bhp. There has been a great deal of work done on the engine to make it more Aston-like and he thundering exhaust soundtrack is pure Aston too (with a hint of AMG naughtiness). That’s near enough the power of the original V12 Vantage, so its no surprise that performance is impressive, hitting 62mph in 3.9 seconds on the way to a 195mph top speed – and bear in mind that this is the base variant! There will likely be an ‘S’ version with c.550bhp and an AMR version with 600bhp at some point in the future too.

Of course all this new tech comes at a price – the new Vantage is around £30k more expensive than the outgoing Vantage S at £120,900, but for the performance it’s certainly on par with rivals’ pricing. You can get tickets this week only right here – but you’ll probably want to tick the £20k cash option too, selecting the carbon grille, diffuser, mirrors, roof and interior will set you back about £15,000!

And if you’ve got a bit of time spare, why not take a look at the car in detail courtesy of this wonderful Carfection video: