It has been years since Aston Martin inadvertently gave the world a truly ugly car. Ignore the Cygnet; rebadged Toyota iQs don’t count, while some even find the ever so chunky 1989 Virage appealing so scratch that too. In fact, you have to go all the way back to 1976 when a real eyesore, the Lagonda, emerged from Newport Pagnell. Indeed, the now Gaydon based British sportscar maker deserves a pat on the back when it comes to penning beautiful models (see the DB11 for details) and it’s done so once again with the all-new and very classy Vantage.
We were invited to its global reveal last week at the suitably fancy Palazzo Versace Hotel and as first impressions go, it made a very solid one. The successor of the 2005 two seat, two -door coupé (which was so beautiful that it remained in production for 12 years and still looks fresh today — but it could never quite tackle Porsche’s quicker 911s...) was inspired by the DB10 in the James Bond movie Spectre. It gets a massive grille with Aston’s familiar shape that’s flanked by a pair of headlights that have been pushed further out while the clamshell bonnet has a substantial power bulge but it’s the back of the car that’ll really have people talking. Yes, the single LED strip that spans the entire width of the rear and curves skywards to form part of the deck lid spoiler is beautiful, but haven’t we seen that before? It looks exactly like the taillights of the EMotion. Henrik Fisker unveiled photos of the Tesla Model S rival earlier this year and its near identical to the Vantage. Whether this is just a massive coincidence or not matters little because the newbie looks superb from all angles.
The interior gets a substantial upgrade over the previous model and by switching to Mercedes-Benz’s electronic architecture (which appears to come undisguised — check out the touch-sensitive pad and rotary knob on the centre console...), there’s an increase in tech and kit in there including blind-spot monitoring, an active park-assist system, power adjustment for the steering column, and 16-way seat adjustment. It retains the separate P, R, N, and D buttons instead of a conventional lever but Aston CEO Andy Palmer says a seven-speed manual will follow soon.
It features a new Mercedes-AMG–sourced twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 that produces a whopping 503 horsepower and 685Nm of torque directed to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic. Aside from straight-line speed, it’s the first Aston to get a new electronically controlled locking differential and torque vectoring as standard and it has a similar suspension as the DB11 with control arms at each corner and a three-stage adaptive-damper system.
Stuttgart might sit up and take a bit more notice of Aston’s entry-level model.