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Future models - Aston Martin - Vantage

First look: Aston Martin uncovers all-new Vantage

Vantage point: The Vantage uses the same AMG-sourced V8 engine that is also offered in the larger DB11.

All-new V8-powered Aston Martin Vantage set to hit Australia mid next year

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Aston Martin logo21 Nov 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON

ASTON Martin has ripped the covers off its striking all-new Vantage V8 coupe that will become the British sportscar marque’s top-selling model in Australia once deliveries kick off in July next year.

The sleek two-door, two-seat twin-turbocharged V8 Vantage is the latest salvo in Aston Martin’s plan to increase its share of the global sportscar market and refresh its model range under the ‘Second Century’ strategic plan led by company CEO Andy Palmer.

Ahead of this week’s reveal, GoAuto was given the opportunity early last month to preview the new Vantage in the metal at an embargoed media event at the Aston Martin Melbourne dealership in Richmond.

Prior to the media preview, Aston Martin held customer preview events – dubbed Aston Martin Confidential – with existing and potential new customers in Melbourne and further afield.

Aston Martin’s regional manager for Australia and New Zealand Kevin Wall told journalists at the media preview that the company had ambitious sales targets for the Vantage across the two markets.

“We put figures up on the wall for Australia and New Zealand dealers and they said, ‘Are you kidding?’” he said.

Mr Wall said there were about 120 clients at the Aston Martin Confidential customer event, and that “we had about a whisker under 20 per cent of our next annualised volume covered”.

“So we are doing okay,” he said.

Mr Wall added that he has not seen the kind of pent-up demand for the Vantage with any other Aston model, and suggested that some buyers may face a lengthy delay for delivery.

“The factory has already pulled us back on supply for next year, which is unfortunate. But that’s the car business,” he said.

“Some of those loyal customers won’t be all ready to take a new car in July next year so we will keep them happy over a period of time.”

Mr Wall acknowledged that the Vantage would outsell the DB11 in Australia and New Zealand, and highlighted that while the two models were “totally different cars”, there might be some sales cannibalisation.

“The market will dictate that. Yes (Vantage) will outsell DB11 for sure,” he said.

“I think there will be a cross-over with the V8 DB11. We had some people here on Saturday afternoon (Vantage customer event) who said, ‘This is an amazing car, now come and show me a DB11.&rsquo.”

Mr Wall said the DB11, which is priced from $368,000 in V8 guise and $428,000 for the V12, is seen as a grand tourer in the Aston Martin range, while the Vantage is a more performance-focused sportscar with a harder edge.

The outgoing Vantage coupe, which dates back to 2005, is priced from $219,895 plus on-road costs in Australia for the V8 GT, rising to $345,300 for the V12 Vantage S.

Mr Wall said the new-generation Vantage would be priced from circa-$300,000 when it hits Australian showrooms next year.

“Circa because we don’t know what the currency is going to do between now and July (2018) and circa because it is not fixed, but with the competitor set we have been talking about we would have to be around that,” he said.

The cheapest Porsche 911 Turbo starts at $390,000 while the Mercedes-AMG GT R is $348,711 and the McLaren 540C kicks off at $325,000.

Given the demand for the Vantage, Mr Wall said there would be an increased marketing presence in Australia and New Zealand to boost brand visibility.

“It is the right time and with the increased volume comes increased budget,” he said.

“Three years ago, Aston Martin was selling 350-360 cars in Asia-Pacific (excluding mainland China). Next year our target will be over 800.

“Asia-Pacific has been a big area of growth for us. We were late to some of the markets – not major markets but important markets like Indonesia and Philippines and when you put those in with Vietnam the volume … goes up really quickly, but with those volumes comes increased marketing budgets.” The latest version of the Vantage – a nameplate that stretches back seven decades – is based on Aston’s new-generation aluminium architecture that also underpins the larger DB11, however 70 per cent of the components are unique to the Vantage.

It is the second Aston model following the DB11 V8 to be offered with a Mercedes-AMG-built 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8, although it has been tweaked by the engineers at Gaydon.

Under the wide clamshell bonnet of the Vantage, the engine pumps out 375kW at 6000rpm and 685Nm from 2000-5000rpm, driving the rear wheels via a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission.

The 1530kg coupe – which has a perfect 50:50 weight distribution – covers the 0-100km/h sprint in 3.6 seconds on its way to a 314km/h top speed.

The Mercedes-AMG GT R, which uses an uprated (430kW/700Nm) version of the same engine, finishes the 0-100km/h dash in exactly the same time, while the 397kW/660Nm six-cylinder Porsche 911 Turbo covers the same distance in 3.0 seconds when optioned with the Sports Chrono pack.

Combined fuel use for the Vantage on the European combined cycle is 10.5 litres per 100km and CO2 emissions are rated at 245g/km. The AMG GT R uses 9.4L/100km and emits 219g/km.

At 4465mm long, the new Vantage is 284mm shorter than the DB11 and 34mm shorter than a Porsche 911. It is 2153mm wide, 1273mm high and has a 2704mm wheelbase, 254mm longer than the 911.

Cargo space is 350 litres – enough for two golf bags, according to Aston – which is well above the Porsche 911 that can swallow just 115L.

Aston says the “predatory stance” of the Vantage was inspired by the extreme track-only Vulcan, and in the metal it looks much wider than its dimensions suggest.

Up front it has slimline LED headlights surrounding a lower-set, reimagined Aston grille, and there are few creases or lines in the body, although the subtle bulge on the bonnet and massive rear wheelarches hint at its performance capabilities.

Designers prioritised aerodynamic purpose and the Vantage has ditched the side strakes in favour of an integrated side gill that bleeds air from the front wheelarch to minimise lift and feed air along the flanks of the car, as well as giving it a more shark-like look.

At the rear the Vantage has a striking ultra-slimline LED tail-light signature running the width of the tailgate, sitting above the active diffuser and pronounced kick in the upswept deck lid that show how the vehicle uses the airflow over its surfaces to generate stability-enhancing downforce. Inside, the flowing lines and central waterfall console of old Astons is gone in favour of a more compact look to the cockpit that shrinks around the occupants and carries a far more modern look.

The automatic transmission does without a traditional shifter, instead using PRND switches that form a triangular shape at the top of the centre console, while Aston says it has paid careful attention to the paddle shifters to ensure the driver does not have to reposition his or her hands on the carbon-fibre steering wheel when shifting gears.

Aston says the protruding forms on the instrument cowl “act like blinkers to focus the driver’s gaze”, and the seating position is 10mm lower than before to enhance the immersive feel.

Sport and Sport Plus seats are available in the new Vantage, with the more heavily bolstered optional seats said to provide even better support during dynamic driving.

The deal with AMG is clear in the cabin thanks to the use of Mercedes’ Comand controller in the centre console and its related screen and connectivity system.

Aston says the dynamic brief for the new Vantage was to make the car “as exciting and engaging as possible without compromising its everyday usability or making it too challenging for drivers of all abilities”.

Sport, Sport Plus and Track drive modes alter the sharpness of the throttle, gearshifts, the steering and suspension.

The suspension is a forged double-wishbone design at the front and a multi-link system at the rear. Adaptive damping is standard, with sensors detecting the driving conditions, as well as the demands the driver is making of the car.

The Vantage comes with dynamic torque vectoring and an electronic rear differential (E-Diff) that’s connected to the electronic stability control system, so it can ‘learn’ the car’s behaviour and react to direct power to the relevant wheel.

It has ventilated two-piece 400mm cast-iron discs at the front and with ventilated 360mm discs at the rear that are gripped by six-piston front and four-piston rear callipers.

Vantage is offered with a choice of two 20-inch wheel styles, including a cast wheel and a forged machined lightweight wheel, with Pirelli P Zero tyres – 255/40 at the front and 295/35 at the rear.

Standard kit includes a full-leather interior, treadplates with sill plaques, twin stainless-steel silver exhaust tailpipe finishers, automatic temperature control with dual-zone climate control, keyless start, memory seats, Aston Martin audio system, an 8.0-inch LCD screen, DAB digital radio, USB ports, Bluetooth and sat -nav.

On the safety front it has tyre pressure monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, parking distance display and park assist, among a host of other electric systems including hydraulic brake assist and positive torque control.

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