Just as its styling borrows nothing from the outgoing model, so the new Vantage owes nothing to the old car beneath its skin. As we’ve heard, it’s built around an evolution of the DB11’S new bonded aluminium structure, which is said to save weight (though only a dry weight of 1530kg is quoted) while increasing rigidity.
The weight savings are somewhat offset by the fact that the new Vantage is bigger than its predecessor – 80mm longer overall at 4465mm, 104mm longer in the wheelbase (now 2704mm) and 131mm wider at 2153mm (including door mirrors). The old car always felt brilliantly compact, so this is a concern, but we’ll wait for our first drive before passing judgement.
What’s certain is that the new Vantage won’t lack for performance with AMG’S biturbo 4-litre quad-cam V8 beneath the bonnet, as it is in the DB11 V8. Changes wrought byaston include new engine mounts and a slimline wet sump that allows the engine to be mounted lower for an improved centre-of-gravity. Revised induction and exhaust systems, plus careful calibration of the engine mapping are said to give the Vantage a distinctive voice befitting an Aston sports car.
The old V8 was characterful but struggled to deliver the performance expected from a car sitting at the Vantage’s price point. The new engine has no such issues, with headline figures of 503bhp at 6000rpm and 505lb ft of torque from 2000-5000rpm. It’s worth remembering this is the entry-level Vantage and these outputs stand comparison with both the outgoing naturally aspirated V8’s 420bhp and 346lb ft and the V12 Vantage S’s 563bhp and 457lb ft.
With so much torque across such a broad spread of revs, the new Vantage promises ingear performance beyond that of even the old V12, backed up by a claimed 0-60mph time of 3.6sec and a top speed of 195mph. The new engine also brings improved fuel economy and emissions figures, with an EU combined mpg figure of 26.8 and a CO2 figure of 245g/km.
Though there is talk of a manual gearbox, to begin with the Vantage will be available only with a rear-mounted close-ratio ZF eight-speed automatic, again as in the DB11 V8. This can either be driven in self-shifting ‘D’ mode, or operated via fixed paddles. Using the latest adaptive software, when left to its own devices the gearbox will choose the optimum gear for efficiency or response, depending on the dynamic mode selected. The paddles themselves have been extended so they are within fingertip reach even when steering lock is applied. The shift quality of the paddles has also been made more positive, for better feel and connection.
Though not the purist choice, the ZF auto is a cracking gearbox. Given the old ASM Sportshift was always a bit off the pace when it came to incisive shifts and low-speed manoeuvering, it should address the old car’s shortcomings, both in everyday use and on the open road.
Left Mercedes-amg 4-litre twin-turbo V8 sits well behind the front axle line. Peak outputs are 503bhp and an astonishing 505lb ft – and this is just the ‘entry-level’ Vantage. Only gearbox available initially will be the ZF eight-speed auto with paddleshifters