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Vantage S hits Oz at $275K

Aston Martin: The lighter and more powerful Vantage S, seen here in convertible guise, will be priced at a tick under $300k.

Aston Martin’s slick new Vantage S hits Australia with a starting price of $275,000

23 Mar 2011

ASTON Martin has announced a $275,000 starting price for its lighter, sexier and more powerful new V8 Vantage S, which will make its Australian debut at an exclusive invitation-only event in Melbourne this Friday night.

Timed to coincide with both the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in the same city and the range-topping new V8 Vantage model’s global media launch at the Ascari racetrack in Spain this week, the event will mark the car’s first appearance outside Europe since it made its world debut at the Geneva motor show earlier this month.

First local deliveries of the V8 Vantage S Coupe and Roadster, which is priced $24,600 higher at $299,600, will take place on schedule in early June, following the arrival of the first dealer demonstrators early next month.

Aston Martin Lagonda’s Australian and New Zealand operations manager Marcel Fabris told GoAuto that both V8 Vantage S models had attracted strong interest locally, where about 30 examples are still expected to arrive this year.

“A solid bank of expressions of interest for the Vantage S has been taken across all Australian and New Zealand dealers,” he said.

“We now expect to convert the very strong customer interest into firm orders. At this stage, we’re still confident of about 30 Vantage S deliveries during 2011. However, this will be dependent on availability.”

For the lower than anticipated $25,000-odd price increase over the standard V8 Vantage Coupe and Convertible, more driver-focused S flagships offer more power and torque, a new sequential-manual transmission, enhanced dynamics and V12 Vantage-inspired looks.

44 center imageThe standard Vantage’s mid-mounted all-alloy 4.7-litre 32-valve quad-cam V8 has been modified to deliver 321kW of power at 7300rpm and 490Nm of torque at 5000rpm – up 8kW and 20Nm respectively.

It is matched with a new Sportshift II seven-speed single-clutch automated manual transmission, which was developed with Graziano and – combined with a unique electronic stability control calibration and the introduction of hill-start assist technology for the first time – is claimed to shift 20 per cent faster than the standard V8 Vantage’s optional six-speed Speedshift gearbox.

As we’ve reported, the V8 Vantage S also comes with a shorter 4.182:1 final drive ratio and 30kg of weight savings (at 1610kg for the coupe and 1690kg for the convertible), thanks to the 24kg-lighter rear transaxle and the use of carbon-fibre, as seen on the special-edition N420 version.

All that is enough to shave three tenths of a second from the standard V8 Vantage’s claimed 0-100km/h acceleration time, which falls from 4.8 to 4.5 seconds for the coupe, although top speed remains the same as both the regular V8 (and V12) Vantage at 305km/h.

The revised engine/gearbox combination produces a combined fuel consumption figure of 12.9L/100km and CO2 emissions of 299g/km – around the same as the standard V8 that returns 12.6L/100km and 295g/km in Australia.

Apart from steering column-mounted shift paddles, a ‘sport’ button that quickens the gear changes and delivers more aggressive throttle response and a rortier exhaust note thanks to exhaust bypass valves that open across most of the engine speed range, the Vantage S also comes with a host of chassis upgrades.

There is a quicker rack ratio of 15:1 (compared with 17:1 on the standard Vantage) for the Servotronic speed-sensitive power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, which reduces the number of turns lock-to-lock from 3.04 to 2.62, and larger-diameter ventilated and grooved front brake discs (now 380mm, up 25mm) with new six-piston front callipers, plus 330mm rear discs with four-piston callipers and a new brake booster.

Suspension upgrades include new springs and dampers for the double wishbone systems at both ends, while standard wheels are 19-inch V-spoke alloys (silver painted with a diamond-turned finish) with specifically designed Bridgestone Potenza RE050 rubber at each end – 8.5x19-inch rims and 10mm-wider 245/40-section tyres up front and 10x19s with 10mm-wider 285/35s at the rear.

Also differentiating the S from lesser V8 Vantage models is a V12-look cosmetic package comprising a new front bumper with a larger air-intake and carbon-fibre splitter, which combines with a more pronounced rear boot-lid spoiler to produce more downforce at speed.

A new bumper (with carbon-fibre diffuser) and side sills are designed to reduce rear lift and make the car look broader than the standard Vantage, while highlights within the updated two-seater cabin include distinctive three-track stitching on the doors and seats and a new ‘shark-gill’ leather trim design.

Options will include carbon-fibre/Kevlar composite sports seats and a piano-black interior pack developed exclusively for the Vantage S.

Meantime, apart from fielding local interest in the multi-million-dollar One-77 supercar and, at the other end of the model spectrum, the Toyota iQ-based Cygnet due on sale here next year, Aston Martin is also accepting expressions of interest in Australia for the new Virage, which also debuted in Geneva this month.

First customer deliveries of the Virage – a new DB model variant designed to fill the gaping $124,000 price gap that separates the $353,558 DB9 and $477,593 DBS – begin in July and Mr Fabris is confident of delivering 15 examples this year.

“Aston Martin dealers across Australia and New Zealand already hold a bank of strong expression of interest and a number of firm orders,” he said.

Aston Martin expects to sell even more cars this year in Australia than it did in 2010, when some 121 vehicles were delivered locally by the bespoke British brand – up some 63.5 per cent on 2009 numbers, thanks largely to the 30-odd examples of the four-door Rapide delivered Down Under last year.

After two months of this year Aston sales are static at 15 units, but Mr Fabris said he expected Rapide sales to also increase this year, making 2011 one of the most successful years ever recorded in Australia for Aston Martin.

“Rapide exceeded our expectation during its first year on sale in Australia during 2010,” he said. “We put this strong performance down to it being the most beautiful four-door sportscar on the market, coupled with exceptional driving dynamics.

“We expect 2011 to be an even stronger year for Rapide sales as the public sees a few more on the road and word spreads about its uncompromising beauty and performance.

“The entire Aston Martin product range is performing well in Australia and we expect to exceed our 2010 sales performance in 2011,” said Mr Fabris.

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