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First look: V8 Vantage loses its head

Better vantage point: Aston's newest drop-top arrives here in September.

Aston Martin to go for Hollywood A-listers with its new V8 Vantage Roadster

20 Nov 2006

ASTON MARTIN has previewed its first direct rival for the Porsche 911 Cabriolet ahead of the V8 Vantage Roadster’s global debut at this month’s 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show.

In a clear indication of the target market the famed British sports car marque will aim at with its newest drop-top, the Ford-owned boutique brand will give US West Coasters a world-first look at the V8 Vantage coupe-based convertible on November 29.

First Australian deliveries of the V8 Vantage Roadster will arrive here by around September next year, and just 30 examples are scheduled to be sold Down Under in 2007 following their production at Aston Martin’s global HQ at Gaydon near Warwickshire in the UK in July.

Local pricing is due to be announced within two weeks, after which the Victorian, NSW and ACT distributor for Aston Martin cars, Trivett Classic, will be in a position to take official orders.

The company has already taken expressions of interest for the latest Aston to appear, as well as for the 2007 model year DB9 Coupe and DB9 Volante, the range-topping Vanquish S Coupe and the all-new DBS, which will be previewed in this month’s new 007 Bond film, Casino Royale, before being released here in early 2008.

Both the V8 Vantage Roadster and the V8 Vantage Coupe upon which it’s based, will be available with Aston Martin’s new automated manual transmission. The coupe made its Asia-Pacific debut at the Sydney motor show in October 2005 before going on sale here at a price of $236,000.

In line with Aston’s other models, the open-topped V8 Vantage will be priced at a premium over its hard-top sibling, which for manual versions of the 2007 model will cost $242,850 – making it Aston’s least expensive model.

“The V8 Vantage Roadster is a pure sports car, a car that heightens the senses and provides a dynamically thrilling driving experience,” said Aston Martin chairman and chief executive officer, Dr Ulrich Bez.

“The Vantage Roadster adds to the unbeatable thrill of open air motoring and by combining engineering excellence, technological innovation and physical perfection, will ensure every journey is one to remember.”

44 center imageSaid to represent the open sports car in its purest form, the Vantage Roadster features a hand-stitched leather interior in “the finest quality genuine materials”, and a hand-assembled 283kW 4.3-litre V8 within a hand-finished convertible body.

Its three-layer fabric hood design presents a taut, aggressive appearance when closed, while leather “speed humps” aim to create “a unique transition between interior and exterior” when it’s closed.

The folding soft-top stows beneath the rear tonneau cover and is either opened or closed at the press of a button located on the centre console in just 18 seconds. It can be operated at speeds of up to 50km/h.

Aston says the convertible was developed from the outset alongside the V8 Vantage Coupe launched in 2005, with which it shares its unique bonded aluminium Vertical Horizontal (VH) architecture – the backbone for all modern Aston Martins.

As with the coupe, the roadster’s driver and passenger sit close to the car’s centre of gravity and low in the new body, which is constructed from lightweight alloys, magnesium and advanced composites.

At 4380mm long, the Vantage Roadster will be the smallest and lightest Aston Martin available. The company says the roof mechanism and structural reinforcement have added only minimal weight to the coupe’s mass, but no kerb weight is given.

However, Aston Martin says the Roadster will have the performance to match its coupe stablemate. Claimed 0-100km/h acceleration is the same five seconds, while top speed is quoted at 280km/h.

Two transmission alternatives from launch, including the six-speed Graziano manual and Aston Martin’s new Sportshift self-shifting manual, which features steering wheel shift paddles.

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