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Future models - Aston Martin - Vantage - V8

First look: "Baby Aston" ready for production

"Baby sized": At 1570kg, the V8 Vantage is the smallest model in the Aston range.

Aston Martin unveils its Porsche 911-rivalling V8 Vantage in Geneva

10 Mar 2005

THE production version of Aston Martin’s third model, the Porsche 911-rivalling V8 Vantage, was one of the showstoppers in Geneva last week.

First shown in concept form at the Detroit auto show in 2003, the “baby Aston” starts its international rollout from Aston’s British (Gaydon, Warwickshire) production plant in the coming months and should come to Australia late this year or early in 2006.

The striking Henrik Fisker-designed exterior stems from a low, sleek body, long bonnet, short front and rear overhangs, two-seater cabin and, unusual for a sports car of this type, a rather practical rear hatchback providing access to the 300-litre luggage compartment.

At 4380mm long, the compact hatch is also the smallest model in the Aston range.

Said to have endured the most extensive testing and development program in the company’s 91-year history, the V8 Vantage uses Aston’s unique VH (vertical horizontal) architecture, a bonded-aluminium structure with aluminium alloy, steel, composite and magnesium alloy body. Kerb weight is 1570kg.

An all-new (and unique to Aston, for now) 283kW/410Nm 4.3-litre 32-valve quad-cam V8 is used in a transaxle configuration, whereby the front mid-mounted engine is connected to the rear mid-mounted transmission via a cast-aluminium torque tube and carbon fibre propshaft. This layout provides the rear-drive car with a 49:51 weight distribution.

Aston has also adopted a dry-sump lubrication system for the V8 Vantage, allowing the engine to sit low in the body, lowering the centre of gravity and in turn improving handling and overall balance and stability. For the time being, the sole gearbox available is a six-speed ‘Graziano’ manual.

Bottom line in performance terms is a 0-100km/h time of 5.0 seconds and a 280km/h maximum speed. The brakes comprise 355/330mm front/rear ventilated grooved steel discs with radial-mounted four-piston Brembo monobloc callipers.

Wheels are 10-spoke alloys measuring 8.5J x 18 at the front and 9.5J x 18 at the rear, with 18-inch Bridgestone Potenza tyres (235/45 front, 275/40 rear). A 19-inch wheel/tyre package is also available.

Standard equipment includes ABS brakes with brake assist, traction control, stability control and positive torque control (PTC). Interior features run to ‘technical grain’ leather, alloy finished console fascia, anthracite interior fittings, 10-way electrically adjustable seats, automatic climate control, battery disconnect switch, trip computer, dual-stage driver and passenger airbags, side airbags and an alarm.

Other models in the Aston range are the V12-powered Vanquish S and DB9, the latter using the same architecture as the V8 Vantage. All future models will be built from this platform as well.

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