2020 Aston Martin Vantage Review by Larry Nutson +VIDEO
A proper driver’s car
By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
The array of two-seat sports cars available on the U.S. market are priced well into six figures. The Aston Martin Vantage is one of those elite six-figure cars.
It’s not often I get to spend an extended amount of time in a car like the Vantage. More often than not it’s usually a brief drive experience at a performance event.
I had the pleasure of living with a Vantage Coupe finished in China Grey. The Vantage was completely new for 2019 with new styling, a new turbocharged V8 and infotainment enhancements. Its last update was over a decade ago.
I would have loved to go on a long road trip, driving interstate highways and then somewhere into the mountains to fully appreciate the capabilities of the powertrain and chassis. However, I stayed relatively close to my Chicago home heading west towards Iowa for some less-traveled interstates and exploring some fun roads in northwest Illinois.
The Vantage design is both sensuous and brawny. You don’t see many of them on the road and it noticeably is a head turner by folk of all ages. Personally, I liked the view from the rear with the duck-tail shape and well styled taillights. The interior provides decent room for two. Alcantara trim evokes a number of pleasant emotions.
Entry and exit from a low-set sports car takes being limber. Once settled inside the driver’s seat is well positioned for, well, driving. Controls are conveniently placed within the center console, avoiding that hunt to find a certain switch somewhere on the instrument panel.
A push of the center-mounted start/stop brings the engine to life. The throaty exhaust rumble brings focus to the 503hp from the twin-turbo 4.0L V8. A rear mid-mounted ZF 8-speed automatic and an electronic rear differential delivers power to the rear wheels. Selectable drive modes default to Sport. That says something. The other choices are Sport+ and Track. There’s no Econ, because…
Aston Martin says zero to 60 mph is in 3.5 seconds. Top speed is 195mph.
With 50:50 weight distribution, adaptive damping controls ride and handling. Twenty-inch Pirelli P Zero tires in staggered 255/40 front and 295/35 rear make the connection to the road.
There’s some storage behind the seats and a modest boot (trunk) under the rear hatch. My wife and I did do some household errands including grocery shopping and a stop at the dry cleaners. Yes, there is some practicality to this grand tourer.
Navigation, premium audio, 360-degree camera, Bluetooth phone connection, USB ports, satellite radio and more all provide plenty of touring comfort.
Suggested MSRP on the coupe I drove is $152,995. Options brought the total to $170,231. There are no options related to performance. Only choices in style and comfort. A look at the model configurator showed a choice of thirty different colors.
My time with the Vantage was without a doubt enjoyable. Its sport defined character can make for occasional less comfort in routine driving. But, that’s the nature of the beast. Its looks are superb. If I were buying I might have a tough time picking a color, although the China Grey worked just fine for my taste. I’m not a red or yellow car guy.
The Vantage certainly could be a daily driver. However, its use may be best left for the weekends or select daily excursions. There were a couple of occasions I chose to leave the Vantage safely parked and used ride-hail service.
The Pirelli P Zero tires are summer tires and should not be driven in very cold ambient temperatures. Aston Martin does have a winter tire that’s approved for use in colder climates and has a winter wheel/tire package available that customers can get.
Wanting to eke out the performance potential of the Vantage would beg for a membership in a private club such as Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, IL or participation in club driving events at a local track.
If you’re tempted, more on the Aston Martin Vantage can be found at www.astonmartin.com. Note, there’s a Vantage Roadster coming for 2021.
One bit of Vantage trivia: I searched for the hood (bonnet) release in the usual suspect places so I could check out the engine. Well! It’s on the right side in the passenger footwell, where it certainly belongs in the UK in the RHD home-market version.
A testament to the Vantage is Aston Martin’s motorsports competition and success in the recent 24 hour of Le Mans and the World Endurance Competition (WEC). Aston Martin won the 88th 24 Hours of Le Mans. Last victorious in this world famous event in 2017, it recorded its best ever result by winning both GT classes and ended with three teams standing on the podium. The result meant that Aston Martin scored enough points to secure the FIA WEC manufacturers’ title with one round remaining.
If you’re considering a bit of something personal like an elite luxury sports car and want to be somewhat more unique I suggest taking a test drive.
© 2020 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy