2021 Aston Martin Vantage, the best sports car daily?
Checking whether 2021 Aston Martin Vantage is a genuine progression that continues to define the sports cars market or just a reshaped AMG GTs
Ever since the first, modern generation Aston Martin Vantage release back in 2005, the world of sports cars has changed for the better. The car quickly became the pinnacle of what sports cars are all about and sold in volumes that other fast cars manufacturers could never dream of. First-gen Aston Martin V8 Vantage was a thing of beauty, with its smooth flowing lines designed by Henrik Fisker and a unique to Aston Martin engine, which although was in some ways a derivative of the Jaguar's AJ-V8, carried a true character of its own. Therefore, when the new Aston Martin Vantage came out in 2018, it was surrounded by an incredibly high level of expectations and faced a behemoth challenge, to stand up for everything that was previously achieved by its predecessor and not become a disappointment.
As a result, I have decided to take out the new Aston Martin V8 Vantage for a test drive and see what it feels like, 3 years after the start of its production. Is it a reshaped Mercedes-Benz AMG GTs or a real and genuine Vantage that continues to define the market? Is it still the car, we the car nuts would look back at after walking away from it? Let's find out, shall we?
Expectations come first
I think that the word scepticism is the best way to describe my initial expectations. Think about it, the new Aston Martin Vantage boasts a 4.0 litre V8 engine direct out of the Mercedes-Benz AMG GTs and at the time, I knew that the similarities don't end there. Apparently, interior bits and pieces, as well as the multimedia, were also taken directly from the AMG GTs. Even if we don't take the interior into consideration, well, it is a known fact that the engine usually makes the car. Especially when we talk about sports and supercars, right? Hence, my expectations were mainly centred around the fact that I am about to jump into an Aston Martin's version of an AMG GTs, my ex, the car I recently part ways with, documented on Misha on Wheels channel. Moreover, let's not forget that Aston Martin as a company, is now managed by ex AMG boss Tobias Moers, who took place of Andy Palmer. Yes, this change happened only last year, but hey, you never know what happens behind the curtains, right?
First impressions count
Anyone who has ever driven a sports car or a supercar, knows that these cars are all about the emotions they grant your soul with. Usually, you quickly forget about all the little things you hate about such cars, as in the end, it becomes all about the way they make you feel. As an example, I had a chance to drive the first modern gen Aston Martin Vantage and although its performance on paper can be blamed for putting you to sleep, the shouty engine and the hard steering makes you feel like you are sitting on a rocket.
This is why I was keen for the new Aston Martin Vantage to shatter my expectations and jumped in it as soon as I was given the keys to it by the amazing people of Pegasus Automotive.
Inside, in the comfy interior, I was surrounded by lovely leather Aston Matins are known for and multimedia that came straight out of the Mercs (very old school). Is it a bad thing that the electronics and electrics migrated to Vantage from the Benzes? I don't necessarily think so. In reality, these components are break-proof and if anything, this is a good move by Aston. At the end of the day, we all know that developing your own multimedia is often a difficult task even for the largest of car manufacturers and hence, why the hell not use something that works and works great!
Driving the 2021 Aston Martin Vantage
I started the engine and was met by the rumble that in some ways reminded me of my GTs, still though, there was something incrementally different. The pitch was different and quite pleasing, showing signs of pedigree. As for the sitting position, well, it is night and day compared to the AMG. The Merc had a bonnet longer than the English channel and generally provided for quite a poor experience behind the wheel. Aston Martin Vantage, on the other hand, felt as if I can take on thousands of kilometres in Grand Tour style and thoroughly enjoy the experience.
Oh, and it was when I started driving and reached the Swiss mountain passes, when my original expectations, expectedly shattered into tiny pieces and were blown into thin air by the Aston's four-pipe exhaust…
Perfect time to recall the 2021 Aston Martin Vantage specs:
>Engine: twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection.
>Power: 503 hp @ 6000 rpm
>Torque: 685 N⋅m (505 lb-ft) @ 2000 rpm
>Acceleration 0–62mph (0–100km/h): 3.6s
>Gearbox: Rear-mounted 8-speed auto by ZF
>Weight: 1,530 kg (3,373 lb)
Driving the Aston Martin Vantage is somewhat freeing in a sense of the emotions dosage you get from driving it. Whilst its performance characteristics match the assumptions we have of sports cars and supercars, the benefit of a Vantage V8 is that it makes these figures accessible. They are reachable, not scary and despite the whole load of 503 bhp being sent to the rear wheels, you feel in control and confident enough to attack even the blindest of twisties.
It doesn't feel like a supercar, with poor visibility, stiff suspension, super hard handling and all the other perks supercar owners usually have to deal with, whilst turning heads and breaking necks of the crowd everywhere they go. Instead, the Vantage V8 boasts a soft suspension, precise but not overly weighted steering and a wonderful trait of hiding its weight well.
I am even prepared to go as far as to state that the 2021 Aston Martin Vantage is the perfect sports car that you can actually daily, without discomforts that are typically undetachable from the herd that is its competition. You floor the thing out of a turn, lean hard on the ceramics before the next and then repeat over and over again, soaking yourself and your passenger in g-force rollercoaster that won't send you off the mountain if you come too hard. Last but not least, are the brakes. We finally reached the point in car production evolution, when ceramics are no longer the unusable option that resembles the ON/OFF switch!
Summary of my Aston Martin Vantage Review (all roads lead home)
This, here, guys, is a two-faced beast. It is elegant and grown-up, as well as a prospective track weapon. Of course, if track is where your heart belongs to, you can opt for the Vantage AMR as it comes with different dampers, some weight saving, a new LSD and a MANUAL, yes, manual dog-leg gearbox by Dana Graziano, the same company that manufactures the Pre-Cog (SSG) gearboxes for the Mclarens we all love and adore.
All in all, it is a car that in my opinion is a perfect daily sports car. There is enough space for your grocery shopping, great performance for when you feel like an F1 driver and plentiful of complaisance for everyday usability…
The best part about it though, is that Mercedes underpinnings add durability into the sports cars world and you can now snatch a used Aston Martin Vantage without being worried about hidden surprises the car may bring to your wallet. And finally, Vantage is still the real Vantage! A car that still sets the benchmark for daily usability vs power vs design vs emotions…