The Car Connection Aston Martin Vantage Overview
The Aston Martin Vantage is a rear-wheel-drive, two-seat luxury sports car available in both coupe and convertible forms.
The Vantage has the lowest base price of any Aston Martin, but still manages to deliver high performance in part thanks to its small size.
Two engines are available: a V-8 and a V-12 and the James Bond factor plays into its undeniably gorgeous Aston shape. Racing-inspired variations boost the Vantage's reputation, and on some, raise the already not inconsequential price up beyond other Aston models.
MORE: Read our 2016 Aston Martin Vantage review
The new Aston Martin Vantage
The current Vantage lineup was launched in 2005 as the V8 Vantage, and joined in 2009 by the V12 Vantage. This crop of sports cars and near-supercars bearing the Vantage name offers a range of coupes and convertibles, V-8 and V-12 engines, and special-edition models. Today it even includes a racing variant that is available in a streetable version.
The V8 Vantage is powered by a 4.7-liter V-8 engine rated at 420 horsepower and 336 pound-feet of torque. A choice of either 6-speed manual or 7-speed Sportshift II automatic transmissions is available. All current Vantage models are rear-wheel drive.
Before the 2015 model year, V12 Vantages used a 5.9-liter V-12 engine that was good for 510 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. So equipped, the Vantage was able to hit 60 mph in a scant 4.2 seconds and go on to a top speed of 190 mph. The larger engine added just 110 pounds compared to the weight of a V8 Vantage.
Aston Martin replaced the V12 Vantage in 2015 with the V12 Vantage S. The 5.9-liter V-12 engine was upgraded to 565 hp and 457 lb-ft of torque. The manual transmission was dropped, and it went automatic-only with a single-clutch Graziano transmission used elsewhere in the Aston lineup. With this combination, the V12 S can hit 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and run on to a top speed of 205 mph. The V12 S also benefits from three-stage adaptive damping.
An S version of the V8 Vantage coupe and roadster is also available. It offers an extra 10 horsepower over the standard V8, for a total of 430 hp, along with a different suspension tune, additional styling flourishes, and more standard equipment than on the regular V8. It uses a seven-speed transmission in place of the six-speed unit from before.
A Vantage GT model joined the range in 2015 as an entry point to the brand, lowering the price while giving it the engine from the V8 Vantage S.
Aston also announced it would build 100 examples of what was originally to be called the Vantage GT3, a slightly toned down race car for the road. It makes use of carbon fiber everywhere, including the roof and hood, and is powered by a massaged version of the corporate V-12 that makes 591 hp. Shortly after the variant was unveiled, Porsche took issue with the GT3 name, as it uses it on high-performance 911s, and so Aston agreed to change the name to GT12 as a reference to the engine's cylinder count. The Vantage GT12 went on sale in 2015, but not in the United States.
The Vantage lineup changes little for 2016. Updates include a new touch interface for the center stack, as well as the addition of several new interior colors, a new wheel design, newly available Glen Coe leather, and two new exterior colors: Cinnabar Orange and Ultramarine Black.
Aston Martin Vantage history
The Vantage has a long and distinguished—though somewhat disjointed—history at Aston Martin. The Vantage name has been appended to vehicles in fits and starts since 1951, when it debuted on the DB2 Vantage. After a two-year run, the Vantage name went on an eight-year hiatus until 1961-63 when it returned for the DB4 Vantage. That began a succession of cars running through 1969, including the DB5 and DB6 Vantage models.
All of the DB-prefixed Vantages evolved a common theme of design and performance that built the Vantage name and, in many respects, Aston's reputation for style and speed.
Following the original DB-series cars, another short hiatus saw the name lie dormant until its return for a two-year run in 1972 and '73 as, simply, the Vantage. Returning once again in 1977, the V8 Vantage would run until 1989. In 1986, a Vantage Volante convertible joined the coupe, also ending its run in 1989.
This second batch, the V8 Vantages, took both the name and the Aston Martin brand in new directions, both stylistically and in terms of performance. Almost a sort of luxurious British muscle car, the Vantages of this era were V-8 powered (as the name implies), larger, heavier cars that moved into the grand touring realm.
From 1999 to 2003, the DB prefix returned with the DB7 V12 Vantage, bringing with it another advance, this time into the modern era of Aston Martin design and proportions. This car was designed during Ford's ownership of both Aston and Jaguar, and the DB7 began life as a concept for an F-Type that wasn't built. Based on a modified Jaguar XJS platform, the 420-hp DB7 V12 Vantage nevertheless managed to stake out its own territory in the exotic sports car world.