- A V-12 soundtrack
- Stunning looks
- Superlative performance
- Simplified model range
- Crystal keychain, no keyfobs allowed
- Cramped interior
- Small-ish cargo area
The 2017 Aston Martin Vantage is one of the few remaining bespoke sports cars, likely one of the final years before the automaker capitalizes on its partnership with Mercedes-Benz.
The 2017 Aston Martin Vantage is the company's truest sportscar, even if it shares much of its looks with the larger Vanquish grand tourer. It's the most affordable Aston, but that's relatively speaking: the V8 Vantage GTS starts at around $137,000 and tops out at more than $200,000 for a V12 Vantage S convertible.
For 2017, the Vantage line has been pared down to two models available in either coupe or convertible versions: the V8 Vantage GTS, and the V12 Vantage S. Both cars can be paired to manual or automatic transmissions, but only 100 V12 Vantage models will be made with the manual and only 100 versions of the V8 Vantage GTS will be made altogether.
The Vantage earns a 7.2 out of 10 overall on our scale. Its good looks are only exceeded by its towering performance and beautiful interior, but befitting its British sports car pedigree, the Vantage is incredibly thirsty. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
All Vantages have the same seductive dimensions: a long hood; low hoodline; wide rear haunches; and a sleek windshield that cuts a precise, but very loud, hole in the wind. There's more room for air to circulate on the V-12-powered Vantages, with more intakes slit into the hood, and the bigger-engined model wears 10-spoke wheels—V8 Vantages only get five-spoke wheels.
The cabin's carried over with Aston's crystal keyfob taking center stage, and metal and Alcantara accents framing a well-organized dash—with carbon-fiber trim on V12s taking on accent colors.
The exterior of the Vantage ranges from mild to wild, depending on paint scheme and customization options. All models sport the iconic Aston Martin grille—which has inspired quite a few lookalikes—and outboard exhausts that blast the Vantage's exhaust note into our collective unconscious.
Outside of hypercars or exotic one-offs, the Vantage is Aston Martin's most electrifying performer.
The U.S.-only V8 Vantage GTS—which consolidates the Vantage S and Vantage GT models—is powered by the same 4.7-liter V-8 that produces 430 horsepower and 361 pound-feet of torque. It's paired to either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed automatic transmission. It's good for ripping off runs to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, according to Aston Martin, all the way up to its top speed of 190 mph.
The V12 Vantage S is Aston's top performer outside of the ultra-rare Vulcan. The V12 Vantage S is the company's smallest car with one of its biggest engines: a 5.9-liter V-12 is planted as far back behind the front axle as physics and a firewall will allow, churning out 565 hp and 457 lb-ft. It's capable of motivating the car up to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, and a top speed of 205 mph. It's available with the same 7-speed automatic as the Vantage GTS, but just 100 V12 Vantage S models will be bestowed with the company's 7-speed manual instead. (Aston Martin charges $11,000 more for the privilege of a manual than for the automatic.)
Predictably, the soundtrack on the V-12 model is jaw-dropping—and so is the fuel-economy. V-12 equipped Vantage models manage 12 mpg city, 18 highway, 14 combined; V-8 versions are rated at 14/21/16 mpg.
All Vantage models exhibit crisp steering and suspension responses, with perhaps a sportier bent than you'd expect in this luxury class. The V12 Vantage S features an adaptive suspension offering Normal, Sport, and Track modes that ramp from firm to firmer to firmest, though all allow agile moves. The suspension mode settings also tie in to the throttle, shift speed, and exhaust note to further enhance—or rein in—sportiness. (For a more detailed description of the V8 Vantage's handling, read this first drive report of the V8 Vantage S at Motor Authority).
Grippy, track-ready Pirelli P Zero Corsa 19-inch tires are standard, but for a slightly more compliant feel, P Zeros are a no-cost option. The V12 Vantage S's carbon-ceramic brakes are stupendously powerful, with some of best pedal feel—not at all grabby—of their kind.
Exclusive confines too
The entire Vantage range shares a similar cockpit and seating position, with low-slung and comfortable buckets, a wide and simple center stack and good visibility. It's a good environment for sporty driving—but not necessarily a cabin built for a crowd.
Aston Martin prides themselves on creating beautiful cars at their own pace, and the Vantage is the epitome of that craftsmanship. The range exudes a hand-made quality, right down to the individual variations in some panels. The all-new DB11, by contrast, speaks to a higher aspiration for the company—no more idiosyncratic carbuilding techniques found there.
Leather (Luxmill, semi-aniline, or Glen Coe), Alcantara, and metallic trim are the main staples of the Vantage cabin, with tasteful use of high-end plastics to fill the gaps. Aston's trademark crystalline key fob is also found here, plugging into the dash to become the push-button starter. We'd opt for the available carbon-fiber interior trim, which covers the center stack and door pulls in the material, even tinted if you so desire.
Like you'd expect from a high-performance two-door model, there isn't much room for luggage or other gear. The cargo area is just 10.6 cubic feet, which is enough for a weekend getaway at most and there's very little storage in the main passenger compartment. Given the Vantage's objective—high-speed touring and sporty weekend driving—that's probably not an issue for most buyers.
The V8 Vantage GTS and V12 Vantage S come with plenty of standard features including a 700-watt Aston Martin audio system, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors, and power adjustable front seats. The V12 Vantage S adds Aston Martin's infotainment system as standard, including Apple CarPlay. A Sport Plus Pack is also available on V12 Vantage S models that adds Alcantara and leather seating, lightweight wheels with a graphite finish, and a small power bump.
In addition to the strong base feature set, there are many available upgrades, plus Aston Martin's ability to personally configure your car with nearly any feature you might want—provided a large enough bank account.
The IIHS and federal regulators haven't crash tested any version of the Vantage due to its high price and low volume—and it'd be tragic to crumple something that good looking, we say.