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Aston Martin has confirmed pricing for its compact Vantage sports car, set to arrive in Australia during the third quarter of 2018.

With a starting price of $299,950 before on-road costs, the car will be around $18,000 more expensive than the Porsche 911 GTS. That price similarity is no accident.

Speaking to media at the launch of the Vantage and DB11 Volante in Melbourne, Patrik Nilsson, Asia Pacific director for Aston Martin, didn’t mince words when discussing the car’s rivals.

“The new Vantage is spectacular,” he told the assembled crowd.

“I’ll come out and say that this is the new 911 hunter – and that’s me sticking my neck out.”

Along with the ubiquitous rear-engined Porsche, the Vantage is priced in direct competition with the AMG GT S ($298,711).

Both the AMG and Aston Martin are powered by an AMG-developed 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, producing 375kW in both applications. By way of comparison, the 911 GTS makes 331kW from its turbocharged flat-six.

Previously, the Vantage has been offered with a V12 powertrain. Although it acknowledged the V12 DB11’s engine would likely fit in the Vantage, Aston Martin says a more powerful compact model, complete with more cylinders, isn’t currently planned.

The company confirmed, however, we can expect to a see a manual gearbox in future.

“Andy’s [Palmer, Aston CEO] first job as an apprentice was… working on transmissions, so he’s a gearbox head,” Simon Sproule, Aston Martin vice president, told the assembled crowd.

“It’s one of the reasons, when you sit in that car, it has such a cutaway [in the centre console] – you can imagine where the manual shifter would sit in the car,” Marek Reichman, Aston Martin chief creative officer, elaborated.

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