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Best of the Best: The Revised Aston Martin Vantage Should Be Bond’s New Baby

The British marque’s muscular V-8 is our choice for the year’s most raucous refresh.

Aston Martin Vantage Photo: Dominic Fraser

 English attitude generally comes in two varieties: stately and proper (think Prince Charles and Roger Moore) and swashbuckling and irreverent (Prince Harry and Jason Statham).

The brand-new Aston Martin Vantage fully inhabits the latter category. The totally reengineered coupe forges a new style for the marque, flouting overt musculature inside and out. There’s no quiet reserve here—this is a fiery, two-seat sports car that speaks loudly and carries a big stick.

Beneath the exterior’s bravado lies engineering that places the Vantage alongside such greats as the Porsche 911. The company has teamed with Mercedes-AMG, which has gifted its classic twin-turbo V-8 engine, this time delivering 503 hp and 505 ft lbs of torque. The motor snaps and cracks at start, but gives rise to a howl as the rpms rise. It’s a great engine, especially teamed with a ZF eight-speed-torque-converter transmission, which moves the Vantage easily around town but meets every quick-shifting, sporting challenge. While it’s not yet available, a manual transmission will also be an option welcomed by purists.

Aston Martin Vantage

Rearview  Photo: Dominic Fraser

Another new focus is the suspension. The firm has hired Lotus’s former chassis aficionado, an English chap named Matt Becker, who talks about movement and fluidity like a world-class sommelier speaks about the nose, legs, and finish of a Château Lafite Rothschild. Becker’s team started with an ideal 50/50 weight balance, and also outfitted the Vantage with a very modern electronic rear differential and torque vectoring. As for the steering? It is nothing short of brilliant.

That attention pays off in the car’s ability to flow down a serpentine road with a soulful rhythm. This isn’t the remote, effortless feel of many new sports cars, but rather the old-world connection of a fine tool in need of an attuned master—in this case, the very lucky driver. As for the interior, it too gets a serious makeover, trading pretty elegance for overt functionality.

All those features—and its aggressive appearance—help make the Vantage the new bad-boy prince of automotive performance. (from $150,000)

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