With increased displacement and improved suspension, the performance of the 2009 Aston Martin Vantage matches its handsome good looks. Enthusiastic driving accompaniment is provided by the Vantage’s symphonic V-8.
“There [aren’t] many engines on the planet whose exhaust note alone can convince you that $136,630 is an entirely reasonable sum to pay for an automobile,” says Motor Trend.
“The engine has grown from 4.3 to 4.8 liters, and output has leapt by 40 ponies to 420 hp, just as torque has climbed by 44 lb.-ft. to 346,” reports Popular Mechanics, adding, “those larger pistons are also lighter, and the effect is magnified when they’re spun to 7000 rpm. The engine mods result in an improved zero-to-60 times of 4.7 seconds, plus a top speed of 180 mph.”
Automobile Magazine says, “Aston engineers added power exactly where it was missing. Midrange punch is vastly improved and the pull up to the 7200 rpm rev limiter is strong. We pushed the new V8 Vantage past 160 mph on the Autobahn with little effort, making Aston's claim of a 180 mph top speed seem accurate.” “Amazingly, the engine is able to deliver 77 percent of its power at just 1500 rpm which means you are in for tire squealing, tachometer thumping, driver crying levels of excitement while behind the wheel,” remarks a NADA Guides reviewer.
“The transmission’s clutch and flywheel have been upgraded to cope with the increased power,” notes Popular Mechanics. “The Sportshift gearbox benefits from a revised control strategy, which enables the transmission—not the engine—to determine torque delivery during cog swaps. New software offers finessed off-the-line acceleration and shifts that happen in 200 milliseconds.”
Not all was rosy with the Vantage’s new transmission. Motor Trend reports, “Around town and in spirited driving, the auto-clutch transmission was no match for the full manual, proving both sluggish and clunky. And now the really bad news: The auto-clutch car wouldn't allow an aggressive track launch. Instead, it simply attempted to roast its clutch. Opting to spare the car from self-flagellation, we recorded no additional timed runs.”
When it comes to handling, Automobile Magazine finds that, “where the old car always felt outshined in outright handling by a Porsche 911 and in ride quality by the Jaguar XKR, the new car is an improvement in both areas. It still has a stiff low-speed ride, especially with the sport suspension fitted, but it's perfectly in line with the character of the car. All these revisions turn the Aston into a real back-roads weapon.”
“The V8 Vantage Roadster managed each corner with controlled poise and each straight with unbridled enthusiasm, its engine revs kept high and response to throttle input immediate and thoroughly enjoyable,” observes Automobile.com.
In the braking department, Popular Mechanics says, “strong stops require firm pedal pressure, and though the ventilated four-piston Brembos offer potent deceleration, a more aggressive setup (or perhaps optional carbon ceramics) would feel better suited to this car’s abilities.”