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The Aston Martin Vantage is an absolute cracker that will satisfy even the most demanding driver.

02 Aug 2018

Remarkably, this new Aston Martin Vantage that you see here isn't just a regular two-seater sports car that looks undifferentiated from the rest of the models in the carmaker's lineup. No sir, not anymore.

More than that, it's quite the looker and it sure as hell is a sensational car that feels right at home on the track as it does on the road.

The new Vantage - what a looker even from the back

Tell me a little bit more, will you?

According to the carmaker, the Vantage takes the fight to the Porsche 911, as it rightfully should.

Where the Aston Martin DB11 is more of a captivating grand tourer that will take you and your partner from one state to another in style and speed, the Vantage is intended to be more of a bruiser rather than a cruiser.

That said, it never feels out of place on public roads, as we've tested. Despite its prominent length and width of 4,465mm and 1,942mm respectively (the Vantage is shorter but wider than the Porsche 911), the Vantage is never difficult to place on the roads.

The Vantage, while shorter than the 911, exudes more road presence than the Porsche

As a result, there is very little sense of intimidation even when you're piloting the car for the very first time on foreign, unfamiliar roads.

It goes like the wind, and then some...

Under civilised driving behaviour, the Vantage is a likeable thing. You feel the bumps and ruts on the road, but they never intrude the cabin, even if there didn't seem to be a GT (Comfort) mode to begin with like the DB11.

You don't even get the sense that this machine is made for the track because it feels so much more subdued and cultured than what its specs may suggest.

On the track, the Vantage feels right at home

But on the track, the car tells a completely different story. Toggle the setting to its sportiest (Track mode), and the Vantage immediately comes alive.

Backed by a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 from AMG (same engine found in the V8 DB11), the Vantage churns out a healthy dose of 503bhp and a generous helping of 685Nm of twisting force from the word go.

This immediacy and aggression can be felt the moment you turn out of the pit lane and on to the first turn. The ZF eight-speed automatic transmission shifts with absolute alacrity and feels every bit piercing and precise as you see the speedo needle climb quickly and steadily.

There are just so much feelings of engagement involved behind the wheel of the Vantage. From Sport to Sport + and onto Track mode, the car never fails to sensationalise every turn on the track. The very fact that the talkative steering wheel is weighty, accurate and quick to make directional changes further enhances the driving connection between man and machine.

Drivers can toggle the tautness of the suspension (left) and driving modes from the steering wheel

Love at first sight

As for how the Vantage looks, it is - to our eyes - an undeniable piece of art. While it's easily recognisable as a serious Aston on first glance, it's certainly very un-Aston.

Not a bad thing, at all, we reckon. From the huge grille that looks like it's disconnected from the nose to the swooping curve that encircles its quad tailpipes, this Vantage makes its predecessor look conservative. It's a look that will certainly grow on you...

The cabin, on the other hand, seems a tad more mild than merciless. Everything in here comes across as luxurious and refined, with an arrow-shaped centre console housing the array of buttons and controls.

Cabin is a lovely place to be in, with its high levels of refinement and luxurious touches

It's a rather alluring place to be in, honestly. Not quite the spicy, out and out race car like say a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, where you need some time to get used to the location of buttons and overcome the intimidation of how to settle into a car that will go from nought to hundred in just 3.6 seconds.

To James Bond or to James Dean?

The Vantage is the sort of all-rounder that feels right at home on the track with its relentlessly vicious attitude and yet retaining its crucially comfortable and refinement on the road just to make sure you don't get too much of one good thing.

4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine produces 503bhp and 685Nm of torque

But that's not why we will have a Vantage over a 911, even if the 911 remains to be an extremely formidable car. In more ways than one, we see the Aston as a car that's highly desirable and immensely dynamic.

At $699,000 (excluding COE and options), we see the Vantage as an Aston Martin that ought to be driven and appreciated.

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