AUTOBLOG: 2018 Aston Martin Vantage Drivers’ Notes Review

October 30th, 2018 by
Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore — The Vantage continues Aston Martin’s evolution as a modern sports- and supercar maker. This machine feels special. It’s gorgeous and translates Aston’s design language effectively. It sounds intoxicating. I blasted around Detroit’s sleepy suburbs one chilly night and felt a bit like James Bond. The AMG-sourced V8 is well-calibrated and works smoothly with the eight-speed automatic. Pulling the paddles is obviously fun. The steering returned proper feedback with adequate weight. The chassis is tight but not abusive. Considering the Vantage has so much power and technical prowess, it’s still imminently drivable. I was comfortable almost immediately, and it’s the kind of car that left me feeling satisfied and wanting more. That’s the essence of Aston.

Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Synder — The V8 Vantage holds a special place in my heart, and my heart was beating faster just looking at it in our parking lot. It’s a gorgeous car, and it stands up to close inspection. I love the detail, the colors, the look of the materials and how they accentuate the car’s design. That attention to detail is even more pronounced inside the car, where there’s something interesting going on everywhere you look, including the headliner.

Driving the car is a lot calmer than you might expect. Yeah, it’s fast and a bit stiff, but not jarringly so. The AMG V8 and eight-speed transmission work wonders together. The acceleration is smooth and linear, with shifts happening in an instant, and without drama. Plus, I love the giant paddle shifters mounted on the steering column. They’re thin, but extremely long, and they’re always right where you expect them to be when you reach out with your finger.

There were just a couple things that stood out to me as imperfect. On the infotainment interface on the center tunnel, the control wheel is tucked away, which helps keep you from accidentally bumping it, but makes it a little awkward to use. The other thing was that the whole driver seat moved around underneath me. I’m sure Aston saved some weight with these seats, but this didn’t feel very securely attached to the floor.

I forgot about both of those things as I found my way out of traffic and onto some curvy roads. This thing builds and carries a ton of speed with ease. And as good as it looks in its natural state of motion, this car was turning heads — and cellphones — when prowling through the parking lot.

Associate Editor Reese Counts — I’ll keep this short. The new Vantage is a real peach. It’s got sharp styling, though I’m still not bowled over by that grille. I also wish our tester was some color other than plain grey. It’s a bit boring and conservative for a car like this. The interior, too, is pleasant to look at. All the details look and feel premium. As Aston Martin told me at the DBS Superleggera launch, everything that looks like metal is metal. As others have mentioned, the AMG-sourced V8 is a screamer, a rich and dirty twin-turbo orchestra. I’m not sure it’s the car for me — I think I’d save some cash and stick with a Porsche 911 GT3 — but I’m certainly glad it exists. It’s also a good alternative for those not wanting just another 911.

Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale — The new Aston Martin Vantage is a real stunner. Walking over to it over the weekend, I took a few moments to drink in its vast, angry grille, which looked like it was ready to eat the pavement in front of it. I studied its many elegant yet aggressive curves, and smiled watching the doors gently rise upward as they were opened. I was also pleased to find that the interior matches the exterior. It’s aggressive and athletic looking, maybe a bit too much so, but it’s also excellent quality. If it looks like leather or metal, it is. The controls were a bit unfathomable, though, with map light switches mingling among climate control switches.

Coming back to the looks of the car, they really are amazing and one of the car’s highlights. And to borrow from LeVar Burton, don’t take my word for it. I took my brother for a ride, and he was bowled over by the looks, as well as the acceleration brought on by the 500-horsepower AMG engine. On that particular outing, I also brought it to a barbecue place in Ann Arbor, and the people working that evening spotted it, gushed over it, and asked me all about it. This car has genuine supercar visual cred.

As for the way it drives, I was less excited. The main problem is that, at least on public roads, nothing about it feels particularly special or characterful. The twin-turbo V8 makes some pretty amazing crackles in track mode, but otherwise sounds a little muted and raspy. It also doesn’t deliver explosive acceleration like you would find in a Z06 or Hellcat. It does corner very quickly, with virtually no body roll, and the nose darts in with every little input, but it feels extremely numb. I suspect the car would be more fun on a racetrack when it can be pushed to its limits, but on public roads, it doesn’t do enough to keep you feeling as special as you look to passersby.