New & Used Aston Martin Vantage: In Depth
2011 Aston Martin Vantage SEnlarge Photo
The Aston Martin Vantage is available as either a two-door coupe or convertible with cachet worthy of Mr. Bond himself. There's the choice between a V-8 and V-12 engine, and the Vantage provides a mix of near-supercar performance and luxury that few others can match.
For more details on the current model, read our the 2014 Aston Martin Vantage review.
The Vantage has a long and distinguished--though somewhat disjointed--history. 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 saw 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 Vantages.
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 period reputation for style and speed.
Following the original DB series Vantages, another short hiatus saw the name lie dormant until its return for a two-year run in 1972 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 grand touring realms.
From 1999-2003, 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. Designed during Aston's ownership by Ford, which also owned Jaguar at the time, the DB7 began life as a concept for the F-Type that wasn't built. Based on a modified XJS platform, the 420-horsepower DB7 V12 Vantage nevertheless managed to stake out its own territory in the exotic sports car world.
That, finally, brings us to the current Vantages. Re-launched in 2005 as the V8 Vantage, and joined in 2009 by the V12 Vantage, the current 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.
The V8 Vantage is powered by a 4.7-liter V-8 engine rated at 420 horsepower and 361 pound-feet of torque. A choice of either six-speed manual or seven-speed Sportshift II automatic transmissions is available. All current Vantage models are rear-wheel drive.
The V12 Vantage upgrades to a 6.0-liter V-12 engine rated at 510 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. The extra power enables the V12 Vantage to reach 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 190 mph. Despite packing 50 percent more cylinders into the engine bay, the V12 Vantage weighs just 110 pounds more than the V8 Vantage.
Aston Martin also offers S versions of the V8 Vantage coupe and Roadster, bringing with them an increase of 10 horsepower to a total of 430 hp, sharper handling, sportier styling, and a higher specification of standard equipment.
A V12 Vantage Roadster model is offered as a limited-edition in Europe, but was not launched in the U.S.