Aston Martin V8 Vantage 2012 vantage

Aston Martin V8 Vantage Review

Aston Martin's 2012 V8 Vantage features a price cut and its biggest update since 2008.
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The Aston Martin V8 Vantage has been revitalised with a price cut and the most comprehensive update since 2008.

An $18,000 price cut to $231,500 also means the new Aston Martin V8 Vantage is now line-ball with Porsche’s updated 911. But, that doesn't mean you get less for your hard earned.

Taking on a blend of elegance and aggression, you never would have imagined that the V8 Vantage has now been around for seven years, arguably making the new Porsche 911 look plain in comparison.

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage updates come in the form of a lower front splitter and new rear diffuser finished in matt black (taken from the 321kW Vantage S). The rear diffuser can also be optioned in a tasty carbon fibre finish. The side sills also pick up a more pronounced design – although not as extreme as the V8 Vantage S.

Inside the cabin, the only real change is red stitching to coincide with the new Red Lion paint colour. That’s not such a bad thing though, as it’s true to the original design and still feels special when you grab hold of the wheel.

Your $230,500 investment is seen at work with a leather-wrapped dashboard, suede headliner, and chunky metal switchgear. But, the pop-up navigation screen falls short of the fanfare with fiddly controls and lack of speed. In fact, it feels a full generation behind the 911’s navigation system.

While Aston Martin hasn't tinkered with the fire-breathing 313kW 4.7-litre V8, the steering ratio, brakes, suspension settings and tyres have all been tweaked. The V8 Vantage comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but can be optioned with a seven-speed Sportshift II automated manual gearbox for $11,269. Fuel use isn't too staggering at 13.8L/100km.

When you jump behind the wheel and begin attacking corners, the first thing you notice is the reduced steering ratio – down to 15:1 from 17:1 - which takes a few corners to get used to. The whole car feels more alert with a flick of the wrists, but doesn't feature the nervousness some short-ratio racks inherently come with. The gradual load up of the steering rack during cornering helps the driver place the car, but could do with a little less load at lower speeds.

The treads at all four corners gain an additional 10mm width, which means more speed into corners, but the downside is more tyre roar within the cabin. There was also an innocuous whine from the test vehicle’s six-speed manual transmission that sometimes drowned out the Aston’s roar beyond 4,000rpm.

Changes to the suspension settings have softened up the V8 Vantage’s ride, which helps on rough B roads and luckily doesn't affect body roll mid-corner, proving that you don’t need rock hard suspension to make a sports car handle.

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster also benefits from a price decrease, with the six-speed manual benefiting from a $14,198 price drop to $260,500, with the seven-speed Sportshift II automated manual an additional $7,795.

One of the best things about the Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster is that you don't get the feeling of a flexible body courtesy of the missing roof. The rigid chassis and attention to engineering detail ensures a compliant and stiff ride through corners and over rough stretches of road.

While the new Porsche 911 is technologically ahead of the Aston Martin V8 Vantage in terms of engine technology and fuel consumption, there's no question about which vehicle looks better. Sometimes one simply has to purchase with the heart and not the head.