IT HAS BEEN A YEAR SINCE THE EDITOR PEDALLED THE NEW VANTAGE AROUND THE DOWNS, BUT NOW WE GET TO CHECK IF THE AMG-ASTON IS A WORTHY 911 RIVAL ON ROAD
Sometimes you pen an opinion piece and someone takes exception. Long story short, I haven’t driven an Aston for ages. However, situations change and Astons are back on my agenda. I’m rather glad it was the new Vantage I got to drive too because last time I reported on a Vantage V12 things didn’t turn out so well.
Things actually weren’t looking all that auspicious this time either but more because of the dismal weather. Still, in our brief time with the car we got one dry day, so managed performance testing in reasonable conditions and also the drive of this high-output rear-drive sports car in appropriately dry and grippy circumstances. What bliss.
There are big changes here too; in place of the anachronistic robotised manual is an eight-speed auto, hooray, and there’s a new twin-turbo V8. As before the lack of active cruise control, even as an option, is a glaring omission but with a new powertrain the latest Vantage is a marked step-up on its forebear. Is it a match for its like-priced peers?
We first encountered the new glamour-puss at a prelaunch session in Aston’s glitzy new Auckland home. It has claws to match the new aero look, in the form of its AMG-sourced V8. Packing twin snails between the heads, it offers 65Nm extra over the V12 kicking off at 3000rpm less. Despite a 46kW deficit it promised to be faster than any regular production Aston to date, with a 3.6sec claimed sprint time. Would the new transmission and added low-rev grunt make this happen? All without launch control?