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Canon Moment: 2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster

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2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage copyright 2009 by Martin Padgett for High Gear Media

2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage copyright 2009 by Martin Padgett for High Gear Media

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While Rex Roy showed you how beautiful the 2009 Nissan Cube can be, earlier this morning, I'll try to one-up him with a slide show from my own archive.

The weekend before last, I had the chance to spend a Southern California day in the 2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage roadster, which sees a midlife refresh this year. The major changes occur under its sleek hood, where a 4.7-liter V-8 cranks out 420 horsepower, a boost of 11 percent over the former 4.3-liter eight. A newly mapped shift schedule for the SMG-style Sportshift transmission has been programmed in, and the Coupe and Roadster both get a sport suspension option along with new switchgear and new trim. In the case of our test car, trim options include a gorgeous gloss piano black with red-stitched black leather. (Our advice? Bring a lint-free cloth for photos.)

I spent a day tooling around San Diego and Long Beach in the British beast, discovering its personality one mile at a time. Think of it as a speed-seeking missile: it's amazingly fluid in handling and potent at nearly any speed. Tourists swear you're a celebrity, and even D-list celebrities stop to ask about the cool LED lighting and the rather minuscule trunk space.

I'll reserve the driving story for next week -- but for now, you can soak up the Vantage in one of its natural habitats in our complete gallery of Aston Martin Vantage images. You can also find Aston Martin pricing, specs, safety information and videos from around the Web on our full review pages.

Then, stay tuned: I'll have our new road test of the 2009 Vantage next week, along with a full scan of the opinions from other respected Web sites.

2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage copyright 2009 by Martin Padgett for High Gear Media

2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage copyright 2009 by Martin Padgett for High Gear Media

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