The Vantage nameplate enjoys a long history under the Aston Martin banner, first seeing use in 1951 as a high-performance variant of the DB2. Eventually, the Vantage became a unique standalone model, and over time, secured its spot as the single most successful vehicle in the brand’s history. Framed as a more accessible GT two-door, this “entry-level” Aston offers daily driver comfort wrapped in a smaller, lighter, and more agile package. Now, there’s a new generation, coming proper with fresh styling, a new interior layout, more dynamism behind the wheel, and ever-higher levels of performance.
Right off the bat, this thing has us excited. We’ll admit it – we’re suckers for a sports car from Gaydon, and at first blush, this new Vantage has all the right boxes ticked. It looks great, oozing with 007 goodness. It’s got a luxurious, yet sporty interior space that’s sure to provide plenty of coddling on longer trips. And more importantly, it’s got tons of go thanks to front/mid-mounted V-8 stuffed by twin turbochargers. Excited? Read on for the details.
How can you not like a hot-to-trot Aston Martin? Any sports car that makes you look like James Bond get a thumbs-up in our book, and the 2018 Vantage is no different. Like the model that came before it, this latest Aston gets a highly attractive two-door body style, with short overhangs, a broad stance, and a wide rear end. The proportions make for a long hoodline and cab-back position for the greenhouse, the kind of stuff you’d expect to see crossed up in a glorious display of smoky oversteer. Lovely.
That said, the 2018 Vantage gets a slew of updates that help to visually advance it into the next generation. First up, there are new designs for the headlights and taillights, with the units up front moved further towards the outer edges of the fascia and made more horizontal, enhancing the car’s visual width as a result. LEDs are used for the high beams and low beams, while integrated turn signals, full daytime running lights, and a “lock/unlock graphic theatre” round it out.
In back, the taillights are now much thinner, stretched across the reshaped tail in a single stripe. LEDs are once again used as the lighting element, and there are dynamic turn signals here as well.
Twin tailpipes spit the good noises, while a clamshell hood reveals the party piece in the nose. The front grille was also tweaked, offering a similar grille shape, but now with a lower position in the fascia, integrating directly with the front splitter.
Speaking of splitters, the 2018 Vantage gets updated aero tricks to go with the fresh style, with the aforementioned front wing, front intakes, and rear diffuser all getting revamped. The side “gill” vents are also new, integrating with the body surface and acting to discharge built-up air pressure from the front wheel arches, while the rear spoiler gets a much more defined up-turned flick. And although Aston didn’t provide exact figures, the British automaker assures us the Vantage makes a “significant” amount of downforce at speed. Fair enough.
In the corners, customers will have multiple designs to choose from for the forged alloy wheels, plus a variety of finishes as well. Standard spec includes a 20-inch diameter for the rollers.
The 2018 Vantage also comes standard with a graphite exterior body pack and graphite rear diffuser. Titanium coloring is used for the front grille, while a silver cross brace can be found under the hood. Dark Anodized brake calipers spruce up the anchors, with options including finishes in black, red, grey, yellow, satin silver, red, blue, or orange. Further aesthetic enhancements are possible with the optional carbon fiber trim packs, matte black exhaust finishers, and a black under-hood cross brace.
In terms of exterior dimensions, the Vantage has grown a bit for the next generation. It’s now a bit wider, a bit taller, and a bit longer, both in terms of overall length and in the wheelbase. It’s still a relatively compact vehicle, but the inevitable dimension creep is definitely evident.
|Width (incl Mirror Caps) (Inches)||84.76|
|Width (excl Mirror Caps) (Inches)||76.45|
While the basics of the new Vantage’s interior are the same, with two seats and a driver-focused layout, the whole shebang gets a major redesign going into the 2018 model year. Aston says it focused on creating sharper, more focused lines, as opposed to the longer, more fluid lines seen in the previous model. We think it all looks great, with a much more exciting appearance that does away with the old model’s simple (and if we’re honest, rather bland) arrangement.
This time, there’s a lot more going on, with tons of little details that fill the space with copious sporting cues. It reminds us a bit of something you might get from AMG, and that’s meant as a compliment.
To help the driver and passenger feel more encapsulated inside the cabin, there’s a high waist line and lowered driving position, giving the Vantage a sort of low-slung cockpit feel that’s perfectly in tune with the rest of the car’s demeanor. There’s also more passenger space, including significantly improved headroom, plus more cargo room behind the seats with a double-tier storage system.
Gloss black trim, carbon fiber bits, and contrast stitching pervade throughout. Inputs are made thanks to an array of rotary and toggle hard buttons, while the transmission buttons are arranged in a triangular “PRND” layout at the crux of the center console and central tunnel. Looking good!
Features include automatic climate control with dual-zone temperature specification, keyless start and stop, a parking distance display, and park assist with front and rear parking sensors. Handling the infotainment duties is an 8.0-inch LCD screen mounted high on the dash just above dual squared air vents, while Aston’s branded audio system comes as standard. Premium Audio is an optional extra. Buyers also get Bluetooth connectivity, phone streaming features, an iPod connector, USB playback, and satellite navigation.
Alcantara and leather upholstery are the materials of choice. Supporting backsides is a standard memory seat function, plus optional ventilation and heating functions. Further upgrade choices include Sport Plus seats and a Sports steering wheel with the Sports Plus Collection, as well as a full leather interior.
Take a peek under that clamshell hood, and you’ll find the 2018 Vantage’s all-alloy twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 powerplant. The engine is mounted at the front/mid-position for more even weight distribution, and pumps out 503 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 685 Nm (505 pound-feet) of torque at 2,000 rpm. That’s a monumental boost over the previous model’s V-8, which produced just 430 horsepower in top-trim form.
Features for the lump include quad cams, water-to-air charge cooling, CNC-machined combustion chambers, and a 10.5:1 compression ratio. The stainless steel exhaust also get an electronically controlled flap for more or less noise, as desired. And of course, Aston takes care to mention the specially tuned intake and exhaust systems, which should give this thing that badass sound we’ve grown accustomed to hearing.
Mounted at the rear/mid- position (once again for optimal weight distribution), you’ll find an automatic eight-speed transmission from ZF, another substantial upgrade over the older model’s seven-speed slush box. No word yet on whether or not Aston is bringing back its manual, but here’s to hoping. Helping to send the muscle exclusively to the rear wheels is an alloy torque tube and carbon fiber prop shaft. Final drive ratio comes to 2.93:1.
An electronic rear differential provides extra traction, making the 2018 Vantage the first Aston to get an E-Diff. The diff mates with the electronic stability control for a more integrated control system and offers faster operation than a traditional LSD, going from locked to open in just milliseconds.
Neat. But what about those performance numbers?
Well, for starters, the 0-to-60 mph run is done in 3.5 seconds, besting the old model’s low-4-second time. Top speed is also improved, clocking in at 195 mph for the 2018 model year.
And, just in case you care, mileage figures look like 19.7 mpg in the city, 34.3 mpg on the highway, and 26.8 mpg combined, with a 73-liter (19.3-gallon) fuel tank providing the go juice. Not bad.
|Engine||4.0 liter twin turbo V-8|
|Horsepower||503 HP @ 6,000 RPM|
|Torque||505 LB-FT @ 2,000-5,000 RPM|
|0 to 60 mph||3.5 seconds|
|Top Speed||195 mph|
|Transmission||ZF eight-speed automatic transmission|
|Fuel tank capacity||73 liters|
|Min Dry Weight||3,373 Lbs|
Under the lovely looking skin, the 2018 Vantage gets bones evolved from the DB11, with a bonded aluminum structure for low weight and high rigidity. However, while it may share some similarities with the bigger, badder DB, Aston says 70 percent of the components on the 2018 Vantage are new.
That includes a solidly mounted rear subframe, which helps the coupe feel more connected in the twisties. A speed-sensitive electric power assist steering set-up helps it corner with 2.4 turns lock-to-lock. In front, there are double wishbones, coil springs, and an anti-roll bar, while the rear uses a multi-link with coil springs and an anti-roll bar.
Of course, any modern high-end sports car worth its Alcantara needs some kind of adaptive componentry, and the 2018 Vantage doesn’t disappoint. Keeping it shiny side up is an Adaptive Damping System, incorporating Skyhook technology and multiple drive modes. Drivers can choose between Sport, Sport Plus, and Track, which not only affects the dampers, but also integrates new settings for the engine, transmission, E-Diff, Dynamic Torque Vectoring, Dynamic Stability control, and steering. Further electronic aides include emergency brake assist, traction control, and positive torque control.
To help haul it down, there are 400 mm (15.7-inch) discs in front and 360 mm (14.2-inch) discs in back, both of which are made from steel. An electronic parking brake keeps it stationary.
Handling this thing should be an enjoyable experience. Thanks to the low, central-mounting position for the engine and transmission, the 2018 Vantage boasts a 50:50 front-to-back weight distribution, tipping the scales with a dry weight of 1,530 kg (3,373 pounds).
Finally, Pirelli P Zero tires make the traction. Aston also mentions that the compound was tweaked and tuned specifically for the new Vantage. Sizing is set at 255/40 in front and 295/35 rear.
|Front Suspension||Double wishbones, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar|
|Rear Suspension||Multi-link, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar|
|Brakes||steel discs, 15.7-inch front, 14.2-inch rear|
|Dry Weight||3,373 pounds|
|Tires||Pirelli P Zero, 255/40 front, 295/35 rear|
The 2018 Aston Martin Vantage is on sale now, tagged for 120,900 pounds in the U.K., 154,000 Euros in Germany, and $149,995 in the U.S.
Optional packages include the Sports Plus Pack (Sports Plus seats, Sports steering wheel), the Exterior Black Pack (matte black front grill mesh, matte black window surround), the Tech Pack (keyless entry, blind spot monitoring, auto park assist, touchpad, glass switches), and the Comfort Pack (16-way adjustable seats, heated seats, closed storage and armrest).
Deliveries are scheduled for the second quarter of 2018.
If you’re looking for a high-performance coupe for around $150,000, then the 911 Turbo is pretty much the standard. While a bit more expensive than the Aston at $161,800, the Stuttgart superstar has more than enough performance to justify the extra outlay, hitting 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds thanks to 540 horsepower and AWD grip. Making all that go is a rear-mounted 3.8-liter flat-six, which sends the muscle through a PDK transmission. Plenty of options are on the table to make it faster or more comfortable as well.
In many ways, the AMG GT C Coupe is a lot like the Vantage. Like the Aston, this Merc gets a cab-back proportions and an aggressive grand touring-styled exterior, plus a fire-breathing turbo V-8 up front. Power for the German rival comes to 550 ponies, all of which hit the rear wheels through a seven-speed automatic to make the 0-to-60 mph run in 3.6 seconds. The Merc also gets an exquisite interior spec, plus a few options for greater handling chops, if desired. Pricing starts at $145,000, but if you’re feeling frisky, you can upgrade to the even-faster GT R Coupe for an extra 12 grand.
By all accounts, the 2018 Vantage is a worthy successor to the first-gen model. It’s got all the good stuff we could want from an Aston – it looks dead sexy, it’s got oodles of comfort in the cabin, and its got a substantial wallop waiting for you when you put your foot to the floor.
If we had to nitpick, we’d say the interior might look a little too “tuner special” for some, while more speed can be had elsewhere. That said, you can’t really beat the Vantage when it comes to style, and that counts a lot in this segment. Just another 911, this thing is not, and that’s perhaps one of its greatest advantages.
All said, things are looking good for the new Vantage.