Tim Wright, an ex-RAF Fighter pilot, business entrepreneur, who teaches aerobatics for fun, and is an avid historic racer who has won several UK and European historic sports-car championships in a 1960s Lotus Elans. He is after a new road car, with three currently on the shortlist – a Porsche 911 Carrera, McLaren 540C and the new Aston Martin Vantage. After testing the new Vantage, he is now sitting on the horns of a dilemma.
Tim had last driven an Aston Martin V8 Vantage five years ago. According to him, it was an impressive model but left him feeling that there were other supercars he would rather own. The Aston Martin Vantage is the daintier, sporty offering of the Aston Martin range, allowing drivers a more refined, athletic feel. Powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, the Vantage is capable of reaching 62mph in 3.6 seconds before hitting the limiter at 195mph. It is the first of the range to be fitted with an electronic rear differential, the Vantage can react according to the dynamic situation and direct the engine’s power to the relevant wheels. We prefer to let Tim give you his insights below.
“This latest Vantage derivative is barely recognizable from the earlier V8, it feels completely sorted with much higher levels of grip, an intelligent differential and suspension tailored to accommodate the myriad of road surfaces and conditions we endure.”
Taking the car down the same test route he does with other vehicles gives him a marker to compare to. The route offers a wide variety of road types meaning he can test the car’s dynamics. ”I was struck not only by how planted the car felt but also the seamless, slick gear change. I should also mention that the shorter wheelbase meant the car felt more direct in a stable way over previous models.”
“In terms of looks, the new Vantage is a much more striking and purposeful sports-car having shed its more sedate GT appearance. Perhaps not to everyone’s taste but with over 500bhp on tap and significant torque through the rev range, I feel the aero curves are entirely appropriate. What’s more relevant is the affiliation with Red Bull F1; the diffusers and aero tweaks aren’t only cosmetic but effective at higher straight-line and cornering speeds.”
“The cockpit is much better designed and it’s very easy to find a snug ergonomic fit for drivers of all shapes and sizes. I particularly liked the secure feel it gave me at higher lateral G-forces.”
As with all Aston Martins, the exhaust note is something that can’t be left out and Tim has left that till last, “the traditional Aston guttural engine growls are undiminished and are an integral signature of their V8 fleet. This car has leapt into the genuine supercar want list and, in my mind, competes with the McLaren 540C and the new Porsche 911 Carrera on an equal footing.”