Aston Martin, freshly free of author Motor Company, is trying to become the incoming Porsche, a small, low-volume, high-profit sports car company, just as Porsche becomes the incoming dweller worker purchase up Brobdingnagian chunks of Volkswagen AG.
Take the V8 Vantage, Aston’s competitor for the 911. Please. Because if you hit a lot of money and a discernment of taste, the Vantage is worth kindness as an alternative to the Best Sports Car Ever. You can see this Porsche strategy in the 2009 V8 Vantage, a bonny two-seat coupe and auto that’s apace becoming an iconic luxury sports car design. Like Porsche with the 911, Aston won’t be updating the Vantage with facelifts every few years. The ‘09 V8 Vantage looks exactly same the ‘08 V8 Vantage, save for newborn 19-in. wheel designs and some interior tweaks.
The big change is under the hood. Aston Martin has bored and stroked the 4.3L V-8 (saying it has, in essence, fashioned a newborn block) to 4.7 L. Now it has 420 hp, up 11 percent, and 347 lb-ft of torque, up 15 percent. The newborn V-8 has thinner chamber liners, a newborn forged-steel crankshaft with newborn holes in the counter-weights for reduced rotating mass and better inter-bay breathing, newborn forged-steel connecting rods and cast-aluminum pistons, a newborn sump sportfishing for the dry-sump fill grouping and oil restorative points moved to the sides of the pump, from the front and rear. The chamber heads hit a newborn intake port and bigger inlet valves, accumulated 1 mm to 35. Aston has modified the intake increase to match the newborn port to optimize airflow. The engine ease comes from Ford’s Cologne, Germany, factory.
In the Vantage, the newborn V-8 is hurried and fast. Does it see 40 hp more than a 4.3L Vantage? Yes, marginally, though this is really the sort of thing that shows up better in helper testing. Punch the enrich in second, or especially third gear on brief Eiffel Mountain straights between tight turns, and it feels same you’ve got all the noesis you need. So did the old 4.3 — this is just more immediate, thanks to that higher force figure. The V-8 ease sounds docile around town, rorty under throttle.
Aston Martin also worked on the transmissions, modifying the aggregation and flywheel, reducing aggregation pedal efforts for the accepted six-speed manual and action 1.1 lb (for low rotating group and thus better engine responsiveness) with either the manual or the six-speed Sportshift twin-clutch automanual. Engineers remapped the Sportshift, but it still feels too slow (with no driver-operated programming system). The only way to drive it smoothly is to lift patch shifting, which really defeats the paddle-shifter’s purpose. The full manual feels nearly perfect, both stagehand and clutch, but the stagehand sits gangly on the edifice console, which causes a driver to elbow himself patch movement gears.
Aston has upgraded the suspension, too, including stiffer springs and accepted Bilstein dampers. Apparently responding to some criticism that the V8 Vantage was too soft, Aston has additional an optional Sports Pack, which includes forged lightweight alloy wheels (the five-spoke organisation is nice; there’s also a newborn 20-spoke design), uprated springs, and on the coupe a revised rear anti-roll bar.