Things at Aston Martin, everyone's favourite British sports car manufacturer and the brand of choice for a certain super-spy whose name rhymes with pond, has taken an interesting turn. It seems Aston would like to shake off its classy, composed and elegant image and adopt a sharper, rowdier, hooligan one while pushing forward. This switch manifests in one of Aston's most important models, the Vantage.
The small Aston has competed, quite successfully, in a segment that has been dominated by the Porsche 911 for more than five decades – the sub-supercar sports car segment has been increasingly cluttered since the turn of the millennium, with able competitors coming from unlikely sources like Chevrolet and Nissan. The Aston Vantage was a left field choice for the kind of people who would be liable to turn their noses at the 911's (and its competitors') vain attempts at performance through the employment of garish wings, deep ducts and general in-your-face looks; the same kind of people would be shocked to the core by the Vantage's sudden transformation.
For one, most people say the unthinkable about the new horse in Aston Martin's stable – that it is, without much room for debate, quite ugly. Resembling a slightly elongated and significantly bulkier Mazda MX5 both from the front and back, the new Vantage is clearly not winning fans for its looks. The interior is pretty trumped up as well – garish accents, over-the-top jet fighter influenced switch-gear placement, and an overall lack of…class. Could be the new partnership with Mercedes Benz and AMG – Aston has seemingly lost the composed restraint in its design as part of the deal.
Will it perform? On page, the all new alloy 4-litre twin turbo V8 engine produces 503 HP and 485 lb-ft torque, with a rear mounted 8-speed ZF automatic, adaptive damping for the bonded aluminium chassis, electronic rear differential and torque vectoring. It'll do a claimed 60 MPH run in 3.5 seconds and run all the way to 195 MPH. But those are just numbers and features – how it does on the road and track will determine whether the performance can overcome the divisive looks and make the new Vantage a “proper” Aston.