Make / Model Search

Future models - Aston Martin - Vantage - V8

First look: Aston's 911 rival

Classic lines: The AMV8 Vantage incorporates classic Aston Martin design cues.

Aston Martin reveals its small sports - and it's a beauty!

15 Jan 2003

TINY UK sports car maker Aston Martin produced one of the sensations of the Detroit auto show when it ripped the covers off the concept version of its forthcoming Porsche 911 rival, the AMV8 Vantage.

The good news is that the sweet proportions of the concept appear certain to translate almost unchanged into the production car, which is due to start rolling out of Aston's brand new Gaydon (UK) facility in 2005.

It will sit below the DB7 and the flagship Vanquish in the lineup and play a key role in the Ford-owned company's expansion ambitions - from 2002's 1500 record to more than 4000.

It's got a fair chance of doing that considering US pricing is tipped to be around $100,000. Australian pricing and arrival timing is as yet unknown, but if you're interested we'd suggest getting your deposit in now.

If a two-seater coupe doesn't interest you, then spin-offs are tipped once production starts, including a convertible.

The Vantage name will stay for the production car, reviving a famous Aston Martin nomenclature, though this time it's a specific model name rather than being used to denote a high-performance version.

The Vantage concept is powered by a new mid-front mounted low emission all-alloy 260kW 4.3-litre V8 engine mated to a rear-mounted six-speed close ratio transaxle for a 50/50 weight distribution. The production car is expected to offer the choice of a sequential automatic transmission also.

The body and chassis are in aluminium and composites. The chassis is especially significant because it marks the first appearance of Aston Martin's VH (vertical/horizontal) platform strategy, which will form the basis for all future models from the marque.

But it's the shape that the alloy has been moulded into that had tongues hanging out at Detroit, with plenty Aston Martin design director Henrik Fisker basking in the glory.

"Even if you put your hand over the badge, you know it's an Aston Martin," explained the former BMW designer. "The design brief was to make the car look like a muscular athlete." The brief has certainly been achieved, thanks to the signature Aston grille, bonnet louvres, side strakes and long bonnet, and the powerful wheel-at-each-corner stance.

Inside, Mr Fisker says precision watches and home entertainment systems are credited as the inspiration for the switchgear and instruments, but there is still plenty of leather in evidence, although wood makes way for anodised aluminium in the concept car. However, production car customers will be offered a wide range of individualisation.

The first appearance of the AMV8 is a triumph for Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez, a former development boss at Porsche (he also worked for BMW and Daewoo) who played a key role in the development of such famous models as the the 993 generation of the 911, the Carrera RS and the 911 Turbo.

Certainly, when you check the measurements there's no doubt Dr Bez had the 911 in his mind when developing the AMV8 Vantage. In size it's very close to the classic German sportscar, only on wheelbase is there a major discrepancy, the Aston longer by a sizeable 250mm - 2600mm versus 2350mm.

"The Aston Martin AMV8 Vantage will enable us to appeal to a larger market. Aston Martin will never ever become a volume car manufacturer, but this model will allow just a few more people to enjoy the Aston Martin experience," said Dr Bez.

"The AMV8 Vantage is a really significant model for us as it will allow Aston Martin to become a true player in the global sports car market."

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Aston Martin models

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here