Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster

This year’s Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster (www.astonmartin.com) is substantially different from last year’s model, though the changes are not apparent at a glance. The car’s body did not call for any tinkering, so Aston’s designers wisely left the long hood, raked windshield, sculpted sides, and integrated tailpipes alone. But under the bonnet resides a larger, 4.7-liter V-8 engine that produces a respectable 420 hp—a significant increase over the 380 hp generated by last year’s model—and works in conjunction with a 6-speed manual or paddle-operated automated manual transmission. The $122,000 V8 Vantage Roadster has a fabric roof instead of a folding hard top, which helps the car weigh in at only 175 pounds more than its coupe counterpart.