2007 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Coupe (Sportshift) Road Test
Price as Tested: $275,290 – Other than paint and wheels, I really do think that the rest of the so-called options have no right to be called such.
Where it sits: The V8 Vantage is the baby of the Aston Martin range. It’s also the most affordable and offers a truly viable alternative to Porsche’s 911. The Sportshift feature is an automated manual transmission that allows super-fast automatic shifting or manual shifting via paddles. It’s been introduced into the Vantage model range to attract new buyers to the brand.
When the man from Aston Martin said we could have the latest V8 Vantage with the new Sportshift transmission for a few days, we couldn’t hit the eject button fast enough. Alborz flew in from Brisbane and Paul from Melbourne, armed to the teeth with camera and video gear.
Aston Martin calls the V8 Vantage “the world’s most desirable sports car,” that’s no sales pitch, just indisputable fact. It doesn’t matter what angle you care to view the Vantage from, the rear, the side or front on, the styling is drop dead, Oh My God.
If I won Lotto and won it big – there are several cars I’d need to purchase before the house. A Porsche Turbo or GT2, Ferrari 430 Scuderia, Audi RS4, etc, etc. But none of them have been blessed with the perfect form of an Aston Martin V8 vantage. It is truly a work of art.
This meant that whenever the brake pedal was released, the car would slip the clutch to move the vehicle forward, this wasn't an issue on flat roads, but sitting on a hill, special care was taken to avoid clutch issues.
The gearbox offered a somewhat love-hate relationship when trying to drive under most conditions. During hard driving, it would shift with utter brutality and slam through gears with no relent. But, during slow speed manoeuvres – such as parallel parking and reversing – it proved to be quite a pain.
If Hypershifting isn't your cup of tea, you can switch to the manual mode – controlled via the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters – and the V8 Vantage turns into a totally different machine.
Our test bed was a private road nested within a spectacular rain forest. Come into a tight bend at speed and the feedback through the steering wheel mimics that of a go-kart – direct, tight and heavy.
Driving the Vantage evokes a whole list of emotions, fear is one of them. This car defies the laws of physics. No corner, no bend, nothing feels untameable in this. You can push all you want, but there is still more left.
One problem we encountered during driving was the position of the key and key fob. The knees of all three drivers continuously made contact during regular driving, which became a bit frustrating after some time.
No doubt one of the V8 Vantage’s most redeeming features has to be the sound track that exits the rear pipes. At 4,000RPM the V8 Vantage alters its persona in an instant. Keep the throttle buried and the noise will simply tear ear drums.
Under the bonnet, a 4.3-litre V8 sends power through the rear treads via a 6-speed clutch-less manual transmission. The engine produces some 283kW (around 380Bhp in the old money) and 410Nm of torque. 0-100km/h is achieved in 5 seconds flat.
For so long now, the 911 has held the crown of the perfect day-to-day track car, and while this may true in many regards, the Vantage betters it with style and a sense of exclusivity.
For a minute there I was thinking that why not four exhaust tips instead of two before I slapped some sense into myself and agreed that two is perfect!
After two days of intensive driving and camera work with the Aston – we pulled into that famous Sydney Hamburger joint close to the Tom Ugly's Bridge to refuel. A well dressed gentleman parked his Alfa 159 and wanted to know if it was a DB9 we stepped out of – “no mate – it’s a V8 Vantage,” He then replied in a rather serious tone, “I’ll have to get one those.”
I’m sure he thought the Alfa was a great looking car, that is, until he laid eyes on the Vantage. Such is the desire for this car.
Anthony Crawford, Paul Maric and Alborz Fallah