It has revealed a two-door coupe that redefines the entry point for the British high-performance brand and must continue to build momentum for the company.
With a hand-built Mercedes-AMG 4.0-litre V8 under its clamshell bonnet, the radically restyled Vantage comes to the competitive high-end sportscar market packing a 375kW punch thanks to twin turbos and a tune unique to Aston.
That positions the power output at just above the entry-level 350kW Mercedes-AMG GT, which is powered by the same unit, and below the 384kW Mercedes-AMG GT S. But Aston’s engineers made torque the priority when fettling the Vantage’s engine management software; with 685Nm the Aston has just 15Nm fewer than the Merc-badged GT R performance flagship.
Power usurps the outgoing V8 Vantage, which produced 321kW from a naturally aspirated 4.7-litre V8, and although the 5.9-litre V12 version pumped out up to 444kW in AMR tune, the new version is faster than both.
Vital statistics look like this: Zero to 100km/h in 3.6 seconds and a V-max of 314km/h.
But the new arrival assumes a greater mantle than simple performance figures and Aston Martin predicts the new-gen Vantage to contribute to its continued global growth.
Speaking at an early preview of the 2018 Vantage, Aston Martin Australia and New Zealand regional manager Kevin Wall said significant growth was possible for the business, driven by the all-new model.
“We see some significant growth just focusing on our existing owner base I guess we would expect volumes similar to what we’ve been achieving, but with our focus now broadening to a large number of volume competitors, we see significant volume increase for the brand overall with this car,” he said.
With 20 percent of the 2018 allocation already spoken for, Australian sales are already looking healthy, despite a price tag that will eclipse the outgoing V8 Vantage by about $80,000. Exact pricing is yet to be finalised but a figure “circa $300,000” should be expected, said Wall.
But that’s unlikely to deter well-heeled Aston fans who have already set their heart on the new model, which brings a significant evolution in styling and cues from both the unhinged Vulcan track-star and even the manic Valkyrie.
The new Vantage will also bring a greater focus on boosting the brand. Expect to see an increased Aston presence in 2018 with all areas of promotion and marketing under the microscope.
“Three years ago Aston Martin was selling about 350 to 360 cars in Asia-Pacific,” said Wall. “Next year, our target will be over 800. It is the right time and with the increased volume comes increased budgets.”
Wall would not reveal how many vehicles the company believed it could sell with the arrival of the new Vantage, which joins forces with the DB11, followed by another significant shot in the arm , the DBX SUV. However, Wall did say the Vantage would outsell the DB11 and it is likely the company’s first high-rider would trump both sports cars.
For now, Vantage customers are being offered a two-seat rear-drive coupe with credentials that appear to stack up well against its contenders in the high-end sports segment, with the prospects of more potent versions on the cards.
It is widely known that the Mercedes-AMG GT maximum power and torque output is limited by its seven-speed dual clutch transaxle, but Aston has opted for a more traditional and tougher torque-converter auto for the Vantage, with eight speeds. That decision could spell a significant power-up for the Vantage S when the more potent variant is made official.
The adoption of a transaxle and front mid-mounted engine has resulted in a 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution for the ultimate in handling and balance, according to Aston.
Unlike the AMG, which has a dry-sump lubrication system for the lowest engine positioning, the Aston uses a slimline wet sump.
Traction is optimised with an electronically controlled differential, while torque vectoring and 20-inch wheels are standard. Customers with a little cash to splash can upgrade to lighter forged versions of the same diameter in a number of different designs.
While some steel body components appear to be a link to Aston’s more traditional heritage, there are plenty of modern construction methods under the Aston’s skin, including extruded aluminium panels, and aerodynamics that were central to the design concept.
Most exterior aerodynamic components are crafted in carbonfibre for strength and minimised weight, helping to contribute to an overall dry weight of 1530kg.
Handling braking are six-piston calipers and 400mm discs on the front axle, and four-pot calipers with 360mm rotors at the rear. No mention has yet been made of an optional carbon ceramic set. The Pirelli P Zero tyres measure 255/40 on the front and 295/35 at the rear.
Forged double wishbones form the front suspension with a multilink set up at the rear, supplemented by adaptive damping.
“The Vantage is never less than a sports car,” Aston said. “Consequently, while ride comfort and pliancy remains an important quality, the Vantage is not attempting to deliver GT levels of suppleness.”
Inside, there are more clues to the AMG connection with an information and entertainment system dial and 8.0-inch screen lifted straight from the German car’s cabin, as well as other switchgear. But interior styling including the Alcantara-clad seats are a more dramatic departure.
The company will also offer a bespoke customisation service to make the Vantage more personal while distancing it from the related AMG.