There are some cars that look good, and then there are a few cars that look downright gorgeous. Astons fall into the latter category (except for the DB9 Volante). This Vantage coupe with its DBR9 racing green paint job is hard to miss--not for being an over-the-top, outlandish-styled car like a Lambo, but because it's just so beautiful. A long hood line, the Aston front end and slopping roof all mesh together seamlessly.
But what's style without performance to back it up? Well, the Vantage has plenty of that. The chassis is probably one of the stiffest ones you will find on the market with all the bracing running under the hood, in the cabin and in the trunk (which cuts into storage space). It doesn't make for the most pleasant ride around town, but if you have some open and curvy roads in front of you, there is nothing better.
Steering is direct with lots of feedback, quick response and good weight. You have the utmost confidence in this car when you take on a bend with the gobs of grip. With traction aids deactivated, throttle-induced oversteer is easily done.
Power from the V8 builds nicely to redline, and the exhaust note is addicting to listen to. You'll be hard-pressed not to snap down a couple of gears to hear the engine churn at full song. Bolted to the engine in our test car is Aston's automated manual transmission, which is neither the best paddle-shift gearbox we've sampled nor the worst. In fully automatic mode, it'll jerk you around some, which made me opt to manually select the gears. Smooth shifts require lifting of the throttle before snapping the paddle back, and the higher up in the rev range you do it, the smoother it is. As always, I suggest going with the standard manual transmission.
As expected, the interior is also very appealing with its leather-covered surfaces and large, accent stitching throughout. The seats are firm and comfortable but could benefit with some deeper side bolsters. Besides that, I found the Vantage to possess one of the most comfortable driving positions that I've come across in a while.
I do believe that the dream garage of mine just had another spot filled--and it's for one of these.
2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Coupe
In Fleet: July 10-17
As-Tested Price: $141,015
Drivetrain: 4.7-liter V8; RWD, six-speed automated manual
Output: 420 hp @ 7,300 rpm, 346 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm
Curb Weight: 3,595 lb
Fuel Economy: (EPA/AW) 15/15.2 mpg
Options: Sports pack with five-spoke wheels ($3,785); satellite navigation ($2,655); DBR9 racing green exterior paint ($1,895); premium audio ($1,595); HID headlamps with wash and leveling ($795); Bluetooth ($750); front parking sensors ($450); black brake calipers ($450); heated front seats ($450); cruise control ($450); powerfold mirror assembly ($450); memory seats and mirrors ($450); high-spec alarm ($295); garage-door opener, auto dim ($295); battery conditioner ($150