New Aston Martin Vantage delivers more power, sharper chassis
Aston Martin on Monday unveiled its new and much improved Vantage coupé.
Essentially a heavily overhauled version of the outgoing model launched in 2018, the 911 Turbo rival adopts a striking new appearance, with a front end that seems to borrow much from the firm's One-77 supercar that scooped many international design awards.
You get a new set of vertical LED headlamps (we never cared for the horizontal units on its predecessor) flanking a larger (+38%) veined radiator grille said to offer a 29% increase in mass airflow for additional cooling. This is complemented by additional cooling ducts set in the outer edges of the bumper and an aggressive new front splitter.
Measuring 30mm wider than the outgoing car, the new Vantage further distinguishes itself with increased surface contouring (especially across the bonnet), frameless door mirrors and more muscular wheel arches filled with new 21-inch lightweight alloy wheels shod with bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport S 5 AML tyres (275/35 up front and 325/30 at the rear). Other neat touches include the return of the marque's iconic side strakes and a wider rear bumper incorporating new side vents and larger diameter quad exhaust tailpipes.
Owners can enhance the sporting character of their Vantage by selecting one of three track-inspired livery designs. Available in 21 colours, Aston Martin is offering clients the choice of a pinstripe, pinstripe and lipstick, or pinstripe, lipstick and rear infill.
Peel away this updated skin and you will find the Aston Martin engineers have extensively reworked the car's bonded aluminium underpinnings for improved handling dynamics.
Sporting perfect 50:50 weight distribution, highlights include a re-engineered front body cross member and additional underbody stiffening components delivering increased torsional rigidity. Further enhancements have been achieved with the fitment of a stiffer yet lighter front engine cross brace while the rear end uses similar strengthening measures to achieve a substantial 29% increase in stiffness under high-g cornering loads.
These key structural upgrades are bolstered by the fitment of new intelligent adaptive Bilstein DTX dampers and an electronic rear differential (E-Diff). Working in unison with the coupé's electronic stability control system, the latter offers quicker reflexes than a conventional mechanical limited slip differential and can go from open to 100% locked in milliseconds. Aston Martin has also recalibrated the electronic power assistance steering (EPAS) that along with a non-isolated steering column gives drivers improved on-centre feel as well as a swift but natural feeling rate of response. As with the flagship DB12, the Vantage offers five selectable drive modes: Wet, GT, Sport, Sports Plus and Individual.
Power is provided by a Mercedes-AMG sourced 4.0l twin-turbocharged V8 engine tuned to deliver 489kW at 6,000rpm and 800Nm from 2,750rpm to 6,000rpm. For some context, the same unit in the outgoing car made 375kW and 685Nm of torque. This substantial hike in power comes courtesy of modified cam profiles, optimised compression ratios, larger turbos and increased cooling. These modifications also provide a more vocal soundtrack.
Sent to the rear axle via an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and lightweight carbon fibre prop shaft, performance is expectantly rapid with Aston Martin claiming the 1,605kg (dry weight) Vantage will achieve 0-100km/h in 3.5 seconds and a VO2 Max of 325km/h.
To keep this immense straight-line speed in check, Aston Martin has equipped the new Vantage with seriously beefy anchors. Up front six-piston calipers bite down on 400mm drilled cast-iron discs while at the rear four-pot calipers service 360mm rotors. The Gaydon engineers have also retuned the brake booster to improve pedal feedback, which gives the driver greater confidence when driving on the limit thanks to a firm pedal with an immediate sense of stopping power, combined with progressive response.
Carbon ceramic brakes are available as an option and when fitted offer increased braking performance and reduced brake fade at temperatures of up to 800°C. This system also saves 27kg in unsprung mass, which improves ride quality and steering response.
Like it's bigger brother, the DB12, the Vantage adopts an all-new interior equipped with the UK marque's latest infotainment system. Designed and engineered totally in-house, it operates via a centrally mounted 10.25-inch touchscreen and supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Directly in front of it on the redesigned centre console is an essential selection of analogue switches designed to give easy access to functions such as temperature/blower speed adjustment, seat heating/ventilation and volume control.
A fully digital instrument cluster is standard as are seats and door cards finished in hand-stitched Bridge of Weir hides that incorporate an all-new quilting pattern. Customers can further customise their Vantage with options such as lightweight carbon fibre performance seats, heavy pile floor mats and a 1,170 watt Bowers & Wilkins sound system.
While final pricing is yet to be announced, Aston Martin has confirmed first deliveries of the new Vantage are scheduled to start during the second quarter of 2024.
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