Form and beauty

June 1, 2020

Ian Lamming straightens his cravat, crooks his little finger and gains the best vantage point for a view of a very British supercar

If a picture paints a thousand words then this could be a very short write-up – just look at Aston Martin’s newest Vantage.

Side on it is sculpted with huge wheels and next to no overhangs and from the rear, possibly it’s most attractive angle, it has swoopy LEDs across the beams, a veritable wave of light that accentuates the pronounced flick in its tail.

Inside is a statement of intent too. It says ‘we have been around some time and boast great heritage but we are serious contenders ready to challenge all-comers in the future’.

So the boardroom corporate quality of leather and hand stitching, the easy-to-use buttons, which line the transmission tunnel and the Aston Martin moniker that winks from steering wheel hub and seats sit happily with hi-tech infotainment and the ability to change the dynamics from a switch on the steering wheel.

There is no hairdryer under the bonnet, of course. Instead, there is a rasping 4.0 twin-turbo V8, a veritable power factory manufacturing 503hp and 685Nm of torque. It spews forth in a relentless surge of muscle, passing through an eight-speed ZF box, hurling Vantage to 62mph in just 3.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 195mph.

Yet its electronic differential makes it a breeze to pilot around town and more enjoyable on the track.

The aforementioned switch on the chunky, squarish steering wheel changes modes from sport, to sport+, to track, hinting at this car’s raison d’etre. You could quite easily leave it in sport, the + adds more aggressive throttle and gearshift responses and heightens the sound. Surprisingly, track knocks the throttle back to sport to give the driver more control.

Similarly, the suspension can be tailored to mood and conditions. Whichever setting is chosen leaves the driver feeling empowered and in control. For the track, where they are being encouraged to go, owners can also specify high performance ceramic brakes and wailing tailpipes.

Thirty years ago the factory was little more than a cottage industry producing a couple of cars a week, the rainwater pouring through the leaky roof and covering the nuts and bolts in the process.

Since then it has changed hands a few times and, when it was grasped by current CEO Andy Palmer in 2014, it developed a 21st century vision to put it on the front row of the grid, as well as the London Stock Market.

Special projects include the Vanquish, Speedster and Shooting-brake, the classic DB4 GT and DB5 Bond car (which comes complete with bulletproof glass and ejector seat, no doubt, for those obsessed with 007).

The rejuvenated brand even extends to a £4 million submarine for your super-yacht, the AM37 speedboat and luxury Aston Martin apartments in Miami.

Vantage is luxury lifestyle personified; for Aston Martin, a relatively flamboyant embodiment of an exciting vision. It’s no longer prepared to be the well-tailored but plain suit of the pack, the bowler hat and brolly of the gentlemen’s club. Emboldened, it is now wearing a new shiny suit and is shouting its intentions to the world.

Aston Martin Vantage

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