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Future models - Aston Martin - V8 Vantage - N420

First look: Aston raises V8 Vantage bar – again

Eight is enough: Aston Martin's latest special uses Aston V8, not the V12.

Special-edition N420 version of Aston Martin’s superlative V8 Vantage emerges in UK

Aston Martin logo9 Jul 2010

By MARTON PETTENDY

ASTON MARTIN has revealed an even more exclusive iteration of its Porsche 911-rivalling V8 Vantage Coupe and Roadster, this time dubbed the N420 and featuring a range of aero, suspension and weight-reduction upgrades.

The N420 follows in the footsteps of the special-edition V8 Vantage N400 of 2007 and will enter production this month before first UK deliveries take place in August, but is not yet officially confirmed for Australian release.

Aston has set a UK price of £96,995 ($A167,900) for the N420 Coupe manual, which after freight costs and import taxes equates to an Australian price of around $285,000 – about $35,000 more than the standard V8 Vantage, which opens the Aston range at $250,358 plus on-road costs here.

As the first images show, the motorsport-themed N420, which is said to draw its inspiration from the company’s numerous Nurburgring 24-Hour campaign, will come with the option of Aston Martin’s exclusive new ‘Race Collection’ exterior paint colour range with contrasting hues for a range of components including the grille surround.

44 center imageAston Martin debuted the upcoming Rapide four-door in this year’s Nurburgring endurance race, but in 2006 a team of company employees led by CEO Dr Ulrich Bez drove the near-standard V8 Vantage to fourth place class finish and 24th overall from a field of more than 200 motorsport-homologated cars.

Included in the N420’s unique colour palette is the ‘Rose’ yellow of the original Nurburgring racer, along with ‘Kermit’ green, ‘Elwood’ blue and the traditional Aston Martin Racing green, while the black and white example in the images wears ‘Asia Cup’ livery.

It is under the skin, however, where most of the N420’s upgrades lie. Based not on the flagship 6.0-litre V12-engined Vantage but the V8-powered ‘base’ model, it runs the same 313kW/470Nm 4.7-litre V8 but comes with a new sports exhaust system to deliver “a suitably rousing soundtrack”.

There is also a weight reduction of 27kg over the standard V8 Vantage, thanks to the use of carbon-fibre components, plus the standard fitment of Aston’s normally optional Sports Pack suspension set-up, comprising revised springs, dampers and anti-roll bars for more dynamic handling response.

Further distinguishing it from lesser Astons, the N420 features wider side sills and a carbon-fibre splitter, side strakes and diffuser, plus 10-spoke diamond turned alloy wheels with gloss black finish. Black mesh vents and ‘Graphitic’ exhaust outlets complete the visual package.

Inside, the Vantage N420 scores an Iridium interior package, incorporating graphite instruments, a leather or Alcantara steering wheel, special N420 sill plaques and lightweight carbon-fibre seats with ‘Race Track’ stitching as in the V12 Vantage.

An optional Sportshift automated manual transmission will also be available for both the N420 coupe and convertible in Europe, while extra standard equipment includes Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control and parking sensors.

The N420’s reveal follows last week’s appearance of Aston Martin’s facelifted 2011 DB9, which also enters production in July and will land here by September but is already sold out to November – despite “nominal” but unspecified price increases over the outgoing DB9 Coupe ($345,363) and Volante convertible ($373,860).

Meantime, the $366,280 Rapide – first local deliveries of which commence in late August – is already a sell-out success this year in Australia, where about 30 confirmed orders have already been received.

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