The Aston Martin V8 Vantage is all about looks and sound. It makes an incredible noise, whether in early 4.3-litre V8 form or the later and more powerful 4.7-litre V8. I’d argue it’s a modern, more upmarket interpretation of the classic TVR. It is often bought by former owners of TVR s, who have since made their money and been able to trade up.
These would have been buyers also looking at a Porsche 911 or a Mercedes SL 55 AMG. By prioritizing low running costs and high ease of use, Aston Martin was able to draw them in with the V8 Vantage. However, it is worth noting that a good proportion has since traded back to the German alternatives. The beauty and sound of the Aston Martin was not enough to keep them in the brand.
I prefer the later 420bhp 4.7-litre models. The gearing on 4.3-litre models is rather compromised, and the frequent need to stir the level is not in keeping with the muscular nature of an Aston. It’s also worth noting that the Sport shift semi-auto software was updated for 4.7-litre cars.
Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadsters are rarer – they’re newer and there are fewer of them about. Buyers also seem to prefer the coupe, although this may change in time, as the car falls into more enthusiasts’ hands.
The latest variant to join the range is the mighty Aston Martin V12 Vantage. For this car, Aston has installed the race derived 6.0-litre V12 from the DBS, giving it a full 510bhp for 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds. It is a staggeringly able machine, with the handling to match. The company has pumped up the looks just enough for it to look special: price tag apart, it’s a real connoisseur’s car.
See, the £138,000 ticket remains a lofty ticket for a Vantage, so I look forward to seeing these age a little to find used examples at more sensible price points. Really, I wish Aston had taken a page out of Audi’s book – there, the difference between V8 and V10 is £10,000. Aston is doing exactly the same as it did with the DBS: the market is already correcting this. Rumours of an announcement of a V12 Vantage Roadster are providing some excitement. I hope that the pricing is more sensible at launch.
Another part of the Aston Martin brand is the James Bond look. This means that Tungsten Silver and Meteorite Silver Grey take more than half of Vantage sales. If you do want something else – well, you can get away with blue, and we’re beginning to see a few brave buyers taking up white.
Red, though, is an absolute no-no. What’s more, Aston offers a bespoke paint service, meaning you can choose any colour you like. For example, some buyers specified Ferrari or Bentley colours. The trouble is, the configurator at franchised dealers was poor – it was little more than a box of colour samples and leather trim cuttings. This made it hard for car buyers to visualise the final result of their choices meaning some of those early adopters chose colour combinations that, today, are virtually unsaleable. I’ve seen bright red interiors, totally mismatched to the exterior colour.
The above is extracted from a 68 page luxury car market report that can be found on www.clivesutton.co.uk.