It was one of the central tenets of Andy Palmer’s reimagined Aston Martin that each new model would be distinct from the next in both look and feel. We’ll have to wait until we’ve driven it to comment on the latter, but there’s no question he’s kept his word on the former!
While based on the aluminium structure of the DB11, some 70 per cent of the components are new, so the Vantage is very much it’s own car under the skin. What the commonality does mean is that the new Vantage is a bigger car than the outgoing model. One that’s still shorter than the current, 991-generation Porsche 911, but one that’s considerably broader-shouldered than the car it replaces.
This has helped the design team create a car with terrific presence. Much of this is due to the all-new head- and tail-lights – something the designers would have killed for back in the days when Vantage, DB9 and DBS all shared the same light units – but it’s also thanks to the new car’s exaggerated haunches and muscular, predatory stance. If old Vantage was a clenched fist, new Vantage is a knuckle-duster.
Aerodynamics are playing an increasingly prominent role in shaping Aston Martin’s newgeneration cars. In the case of the Vantage, this manifests itself in a full-width front splitter that sends airflow beneath the car to feed the large rear diffuser, with ‘fences‘ to channel cooling air where it’s needed most. Side gills replace the classic side-strakes of old, but they now perform a function by bleeding high-pressure air from the wheelarches to reduce lift.
The combined effect of these features, plus the dramatically upswept tailgate, is that the new Vantage is the first core series-production Aston Martin to generate genuine downforce.
As with the exterior, the interior of the new Vantage is busier and more dynamic. It’s also roomier, with enough headroom for 95thpercentile male adults and plenty of stowage space behind the seats, plus a 350-litre boot.
Shunning the familiar fluid, graceful curves of the outgoing model for shorter, sharper lines, the Vantage has a true cockpit feel. Inspired by elements of the DB10 Bond car, which majored on technology and gadgetry, the Vantage positions major controls (such as the ‘PRND’ transmission buttons) in focused clusters, and uses a mixture of toggle and rotary controls designed to be quick and intuitive in operation.
Trimmed in a mixture ofalcantara and leather and with a choice of Sport and (optional) Sports Plus seats, it has all the hallmarks of an Aston Martin – that’s to say the best quality materials and hand-craftsmanship – combined with a high level of standard equipment. This includes keyless start-stop, tyre pressure monitoring, 360-degree camera with Parking Distance Display, Park Assist and front/rear parking sensors, plus an 8in LCD screen that controls all the major infotainment systems.
We had a brief sit in the car at Gaydon and the overall effect is a big departure from the old one. You sit low for a truly immersive feel, with the clustered switchgear and cowled instruments all subtly focused towards the driver. It’s a much more dynamic environment than DB11 but preserves an overall sense of simplicity and clarity. The seats have an encouraging mix of support and cushioning, while the interior itself feels roomy but still snug, as a sports car should.
‘It’s muscular, predatory… If old Vantage was a clenched fist, new Vantage is a knuckleduster’
‘With so much torque across such a spread of revs, it promises performance beyond that of even the old V12’