Speaking to CarAdvice at Aston Martin’s Gaydon factory in the UK this week, Marek Reichman admitted that topping the current Vantage will not be easy but the brand has taken the best of what made the current car popular and styled it in a different context.
“I can’t do the same, I can’t repeat that [current Vantage], but that sparks an emotion straight away. When you see a Vantage, it’s compact, it’s direct, it’s a single-line approach if you like.” Reichman told CarAdvice.
“DB10, the [James] Bond car, has that rawness to it - it’s a very, very different looking car to the Vantage, but it has that raw appeal, there is an immediate reaction to it."
"What do you do you about the next-generation vantage? First you have to have a philosophy, and our philosophy is we are going to make 7000 sports car and they are going to be made in Gaydon. So this is the core of the sports car product range, so first of all it has to be dynamic, because it’s a sports car and it's about the driver.
"It’s about someone that wants to drive, so immediately I want it to appear compact, I want it to have an athletic nature, so these are the things I am playing on.”
The next-generation Vantage is expected to use the 4.0-litre V8 bitubro Mercedes-AMG engine currently found in the C 63 S (375kW, 700Nm), but while its driving character will change from a naturally-aspirated 4.7-litre V8 to a turbo, its essence will remain the same.
“I understand where Vantage was, it’s not known for being outrageous, it’s not known for being a Lamborghini or Ferrari - it’s known for people saying ‘you know that’s a beautiful looking car’ so it has got to have oodles of beauty," Reichman said.
“DB10 got a great reaction, so I can pull things from the DB10 where people say, 'wow it is different, it does look different but I can tell it's an Aston Martin' and it was small and compact and it was designed to be driven in the movie so I can pull a lot of that.
“We have also just shown and have been driving Vulcan, and Vulcan is our ultimate sports car so I have to take some Vulcan and say that’s what a sports car means to us in that layout, in a front mid-engine layout, what do you take from Vulcan into the next-generation of on-road Vantages? So all of those things go into the melting pot and come out [as the new Vantage]."
The most notable change, though, will be how different the new Vantage will look from the recently launched Aston Martin DB11, with the British brand promising that its new models will be significantly more differentiated than before. A big change from the DB9 (and its derivatives) and current Vantage.
“We have an internal desire for product separation more and more to show the character… We have a vision and a direction, and part of that vision is to truly show the separation of character that we know our cars can have. And that has to happen first visually, we can’t wait until the customer drives it and says ‘oh, I get it’ - it has to be in the showroom.”
Reichman says the customer and media reaction to the DB11 has been very positive, which has spurred the team on even further.
“What is more exciting is that we are exceeding our own expectations of where we believe we can go. The reaction to DB11 has been fantastic, that has been down to a lot of hard work and determination.
"I know the Vantage reaction will be spectacular, because I have even presented it to our board, and you know I love DB11, but this thing… it sets another milestone.”
Even so, don’t expect to see hints of the new recently announced Aston Martin AMRB001 hypercar in the new Vantage, Reichman says they are from a “completely different world.” Before adding that Aston Martin's showrooms in 2018 “will not be recognisable to anyone”.
It's also unclear whether the company will fit the new 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12 found in the DB11 to the new Vantage at launch.
The 2018 Aston Martin Vantage is expected to make its debut towards the end of this year or early next year.