Canadian pricing for the 2020 Aston Martin Vantage Coupe starts at $175,944.
The Vantage packs a punch that many have forgotten that Aston Martin can deliver.
Desperately beautiful and fast, the Vantage deserves more love.
The name Vantage is steeped in Aston Martin history, going as far back as 1951. Truth is though, unless you’re of old money, and considerably older, the name Vantage came to be in the mid-2000s with the superb V8 Vantage.
I’m slightly ashamed to write that I recall the Vantage that was produced from the late 70s until the late 80s. At the time, it was, after all, one of the fastest cars in the world. I was also Bond’s car in the film “The Living Daylights.”
The power to move you
The new car, introduced in late 2017, is the proper embodiment of the various Vantage that Aston Martin has offered over the last five decades. The 2020 Vantage is still very a British muscle car, with a dose of German engineering. The hand-built, Mercedes-AMG-sourced, twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 produces 503 horsepower and 505 lb.-ft. of torque between 2,000 and 5,000 rpm has all the might, and built-in attitude a Vantage could ever need.
Mated to an 8-speed ZF Automatic transmission, the Vantage leaps to 100 km/h from a standstill in only 3.6 seconds making it one of the fastest cars in its segment. In the Vantage, the AMG V8 is ferocious, revengeful, and more violent than in the DB11, but very similar in character to the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S I was reviewing the same week. The ear-drum bashing tone from the hot-in-the-V twin-turbo is reminiscent to that of the AMG with all the bass and burbling. The power is explosive, immediate, and relentless.
Although a wholly different beast than the DB11, Aston Martin used the same brilliant thinking process where the drive modes and adjustable damper settings function independently from one another. There is a huge difference, however. Where the DB11 has a GT mode followed by Sport and Sport+, the Vantage starts in Sport, which is tuned more like the DB’s Sport+. There’s also a Track mode which serves to reveal the Vantage’s true vocation.
Seriously tuned chassis
Alive and visceral, the 2020 Aston Martin Vantage spoke volumes to the pure driving enthusiast in me. The dampers have scarcely enough “give” in their resting position to completely soak up road irregularities but the ride is not uncomfortable. The right chassis and powertrain tune enabled the Vantage to deliver a more engaging and less punishing driving experience than the C 63 S. I know they’re not comparable however to say that a dedicated sports car is more refined than a C-Class Mercedes-Benz is an important indicator of the Aston Martin’s drivability.
The Vantage is far more agile and adroit on the road than I ever expected. The combination of a perfect 50/50 weight distribution, an electronic locking differential, and dynamic torque vectoring, the Vantage feels almost dart-y compared to the DB11, which I also drive on the same day. Steering is quicker and sharper and I was happy to discover a firm and responsive brake pedal.
Here’s another parallel: The Aston Martin Vantage behaved on the road, and through its controls, much like a Porsche 911 GT3, dialed back one notch, does. I felt involved, and relevant in the drive. The fact that the autobox won’t go back into automatic (or will drop to “N” if both paddles are simultaneously flapped) if I opted to shift manually meant, to me, that I was in control. Most automatics default back to “automatic” after a few moments without a gear change.
Now, as far as styling is concerned, the Vantage is endlessly attractive. Unlike the DB11, the Vantage shows no visual weaknesses, no matter the angle. The combination of the Diavolo Red, the exterior Black Collection, and optional 20-inch wheels endow the Vantage with a presence that is at once racy, powerful, elegant, and regal. Few cars can pull this off as easily.
The cabin is beautifully crafted and features Mercedes-Benz-sourced HMI controller and display menus. Where the DB11 favours simplicity and straightforward ergonomics, the Vantage for a plethora of buttons strewn all over the center console and lower center stack. Although I enjoy the look, I admit that this layout clashes with what is otherwise a posh environment.
Priced for the ultra-elite
With a base price of $175,944 in Canada, the 2020 Aston Martin Vantage is priced well above that of a 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S which is as quick. Compared to the 911, the Vantage is more “special” if mostly for the fact that it is a very rare sight. Perhaps in the past, I would have qualified the Aston Martin as nobler or more polished but the fact of the matter is that this car is extremely close in character, and more, to the 911.
The danger with the Vantage is that, with options such as fitted to my tester (Premium audio, Sport Plus collection (superb seats and steering wheel), Comfort and Tech Collections, to name a few) lifts the car’s price to just shy of $225,000, or about $7,000 shy of a basic 911 Turbo S…
Here, I am unable to come to a conclusion.