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Aston eyes Porsche with cheaper 2012 Vantage

Vantage, Aston Vantage: James Bond brand’s 2012 Vantage gains more power and a seven-speed auto for 2012.

Upgraded Aston Martin Vantage V8 range to be $18,000 more accessible from June

23 Feb 2012

ASTON MARTIN has revealed what it describes as the V8 Vantage’s most comprehensive update ever, Australian pricing for which will open more than $18,000 lower than before when the first examples arrive here in June.

Now priced from $231,500 plus on-road costs (down from $250,272) for the entry-level V8 Vantage Coupe manual, the bespoke British brand’s most affordable model is now just $1600 more expensive than its most direct rival – Porsche’s redesigned 911, which arrived in Australia this week with a higher $229,900 starting price.

Similarly, the upgraded 2012 V8 Vantage Coupe automatic – which features a seven-speed Sportshift II transmission to replace the outgoing model’s six-speed Sportshift I gearbox – now costs $11,269 less at $247,400 plus ORCs.

Meantime, the improved 2012 V8 Vantage Roadster is $14,198 less expensive than before at $260,500 plus ORCs, while the revised V8 Vantage Roadster auto, which also gains the new automated manual transmission, continues to top the range but is now $7795 more accessible at $274,300.

“The 2012 model year Vantage range will come to Australia and is expected to be very popular with both its keen entry price point and high level of basic specification, including a new seven-speed Sportshift II automated manual transmission,” said Aston Martin’s Asia Pacific marketing and communications manager Marcel Fabris.

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“The new Vantage range is available for customer order now, with first deliveries expected to arrive with Australian Aston Martin dealers during June.”

Revealed this week in the UK, the 2012 V8 Vantage range also borrows upgraded braking and steering systems from the premium Vantage S, including 380mm two-piece ventilated front brake discs and six-piston callipers, said to increase stopping power and pedal feel.

There is also a new steering column, revalved power-steering pump and quicker steering ratio - up from 15:1 to 17:1 – to increase feedback and agility, along with more grip from 10mm-wider tyres and the addition of a hill-hold function.

Design updates include the front splitter inspired by the Vantage S and limited-edition N400, a new rear diffuser and reprofiled side skirts, while Aston Martin says the V8 Vantage’s new automatic transmission offers tighter ratios, a lower final drive, quicker shifts and better shift qualityThe higher-performance Vantage S continues on sale, at least in the UK, offering a more powerful 4.7-litre V8 than the standard Vantage (up from 313kW and 470Nm of torque to 321kW and 490Nm) and the new Sportshift II gearbox as standard.

The S now also gains a sports exhaust, motorsport-derived and carbon fibre-detailed aero additions a more sumptuous hand-stitched leather interior, plus standard satellite-navigation, Bluetooth and cruise control.

There is no sign of an upgraded V12 Vantage Coupe at this stage, which continues to be available from $386,892, and employs its 380kW/570Nm 6.0-litre V12 to sprint to 100km/h in 4.2 seconds on its way to a 305km/h top speed.

Also continuing on sale here is the V12 Rapide sedan (from $371, 300), the V12 DB9 Coupe (from $361,954), the V12 Virage Coupe (from $371,300), the V12 DBS Coupe (from $495,391), the DB9 Volante convertible (from $392,963), the Virage Volante (from $402,300) and the range-topping DBS Volante (from $526,359).

Apart from being priced closer to the 911 than ever, the V8 Vantage should also remain far more exclusive. Last year Porsche Cars Australia sold 201 versions of the outgoing 997-series 911 (down from 301 in 2010), while Aston sold a total of 101 vehicles here – down from 121 the year before.

Beyond the updated V8 Vantage’s arrival from mid-year, Aston will also release a new range-topper for the Vantage range in the form of the limited-run V12 Zagato Coupe, which will make its world debut in final production guise at next month’s Geneva motor show.

Shortly after its March 6 premiere, the V12 Zagato will be shown to prospective buyers in Australia, where first deliveries are expected to arrive in early 2013 following its release in the UK late this year.

As we’ve reported, the first Australian example – from a total global production run of just 150 cars - was sold before Christmas and more than 50 have been ordered worldwide.

Australian pricing has not been announced, but in the UK the V12 Zagato is priced at £330,000 ($A484,000), which similar to the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead that costs more than $1.35 million in Australia, so expect it to be Aston’s new flagship.

Of course, that is before the arrival of Aston’s smouldering new One-77 super-coupe, which premier UK media outlet Autocar received a ‘ride’ in recently and will cost around a gob-smacking $4 million here, where the 560kW 7.3-litre V12-powered rocket has already received federal design certification.

At the other end of the Aston Martin spectrum, the Toyota iQ-based Cygnet city-car remains on track for Australian release this year.

2012 Aston Martin V8Vantage pricing (plus on-road costs):
Coupe&nbsp $231,500 (-$18,772)
Coupe (a) $247,400 (-$11,269)
Roadster $260,500 (-$14,198)
Roadster (a) $274,300 (-$7795)

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