We’ve driven the new 2019 Aston Martin V8 Vantage in the UAE and with Mercedes power it’s a real cracker…
Let me say this at the outset; the biggest misconception I’ve had about the all-new Aston Martin V8 Vantage was that it was merely a British version of the Mercedes-AMG GT. In my defense, it’s got the same 4.0-litre, twin-turbo engine as the German sports car and several bits and bobs from Stuttgart’s part-bin. I’ve spent plenty of time with the AMG GT, two months to be precise, and that engine was the defining characteristic of that car, so my apprehensions were not unfounded.
However, and let me state this emphatically, the V8 Vantage is not a facsimile of the said Mercedes. The differences are many. First up, the ride quality is decidedly better and you can’t help but marvel at how, such a small car manufacturer (relatively speaking, of course) could build a sports car that almost outshines the efforts of one of the most pre-eminent manufacturers in the world.
The answer could lie in the following two words: Matt Becker. For those who are unaware, Matt is an ex-Lotus engineer who has developed some of the finest sports cars of our times and was the man behind tuning the V8 Vantage. The balance between handling and ride comfort that he and his team have achieved is phenomenal – there are few cars out there that toe this fine line with greater conviction.
Even though the 2019 V8 Vantage is based on an abbreviated DB11 platform, it does not have the skittish tendency of the latter. The DB11 is a great car, but one you cannot take liberties with – if you don’t want to end in a smoldering mass of metal and body parts, at least. The V8 Vantage, meanwhile, is punchier. It’s more predictable and given its size – which is smaller than a Porsche 911 – you can really rag it out of corners.
The gearbox is an old eight-speed slush ’box job, straight out of the DB11, which makes it feel recalcitrant, especially during downshifts. For context, the AMG GT’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission was equally horrendous at launch.
The power output from the engine remains unchanged at 503bhp and 685Nm of torque, however, despite a nearly 1,600kg kerb weight, the Vantage smashes the benchmark 0-100km/h run in just 3.6 seconds – that is properly quick. That said, the 992 911 Turbo is just around the corner and we’ll wager that will easily outdo these figures.
But here’s the key difference between the new Aston Martin V8 Vantage and its rivals such as the aforementioned Porsche and the Audi R8. It looks and feels special, both inside and out. The details in the cabin are stunning and while there is a whiff of Mazda MX-5 about those headlights and the front end, it is a glorious thing to behold in the metal.
Granted it’s AED677,000 in our tester’s guise – and that’s before tax – it’s not a car you would buy for white-knuckle thrills. A Porsche 911 Turbo would likely blow it out of the water on pure technical ability. It’s a car that’s beautiful and turns every journey into an occasion. The precise reason I loved the AMG GT as well.
With Merc’s technology and the Aston ethos, Gaydon has come up with a car that well and truly embodies everything the company stands for. It’s a remarkable achievement for a manufacturer that was until quite recently building cars that were, let’s say, not up to scratch. The new V8 Vantage is testament to why Aston Martin remains one of the most desirable brands in the world. Don’t take my word for it; drive one and then tell me I’m right.
2019 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 | eight-speed automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive | 503 horsepower and 685Nm of torque | 0-100kph in 3.6 seconds and top speed of 313kph | AED677,000 as tested