Aston Martin never did provide us with the hardcore 911 GT3 rival we all yearned for, but in the Vantage’s final years, we did receive the GT8 and V600 special editions. In this week’s car pictures from issue 274, we dive into the highlights of our time with two of Gaydon’s finest achievements of recent years.
The AM305 Vantage was strong competition for the 911 when it was launched in 2005, with a similar price tag and competitive performance. Over its staggering 13 year production run, however, a hardcore series-production Vantage never materialised, but are the GT8 and V600 what we always wanted?
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With a price difference in excess of £1m, it’s clear that the two models execute the hardcore brief in vastly different ways. Commissioned by a customer and built by Special Vehicle Operations, just seven V600 coupes and seven roadsters were built; each sold for the price of £1.2m.
Design is comparatively understated when stacked up against the GT12 and GT8, thanks to the removal of the race-inspired aero, wing included. 50mm of additional width over standard, lightweight centre-lock wheels, and a number of bespoke elements do still set it apart from an ordinary car.
Despite its introverted design, the V600 boasts Aston Martin’s 5.9-litre naturally-aspirated V12, sending 592bhp and 461lb ft of torque to the rear wheels through a 7-speed manual gearbox. Though it’s an undoubtedly special machine, is its appeal proportional to its price tag?
The GT8 was dreamt up by Aston Martin itself, and was a welcome break from the raft of sticker-and-plaque special editions from the brand’s marketing department. A 4.7-litre naturally-aspirated V8 sits under the bonnet, and although hilariously loud, it’s an element that often leaves us wanting more. Race-inspired performance additions can be found throughout, however, reducing the kerb weight by 100kg from standard and improving dynamics. With a surprisingly sane £165,000 price tag, might it be the best Aston Martin we’ve seen in recent times?
Pick up a copy of evo issue 274 to read Richard Meaden’s full story. If you’ve been unable to make it to the shops, single issues are available for purchase via magsdirect.co.uk.
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Car pictures of the week: archive
Below are some of our favourite images from previous editions of evo car pictures of the week. Click on the pictures for the full galleries.
Click below to see all the images of our first car pictures of the week gallery, here featuring the indomitable Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, mk1 Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Shelby Mustang GT350 and the stunning Porsche 911 re-imagined by Singer.
Here we dig further back into the evo archives where we pull out some iconic images of the Ford GT slightly out of context in the European Alps, a TVR Sagaris in central London, the Audi RS2 as well as one of our most iconic twin tests between the Ferrari 599 GTO and Lexus LF-A.
The previous-generation Bentley Continental GT seemed to get better with age, a notion mirrored by the Jaguar E-type when in modern ‘lightweight’ form. Both of these British icons, as well as the Aston Martin Vantage GT12 feature in gallery three.
Fans might have cried fowl when Ferrari decided to turbocharge the Ferrari 488, but it’s not like Ferrari don’t have a history with turbocharged V8 engines. Here the 488 co-stars alongside the stunning F40, while elsewhere in this gallery we take a Porsche Cayman GTS to Japan for a stunning mountain blast.
Italian twelve-cylinder supercars seem to be the main agenda in the fourth evo car pictures of the week gallery, here featuring four V12 Lambos and the stunning 599 SA Aperta limited edition alongside its 550 Barchetta predecessor.
A gallery of new and old, here the McLaren 720S cemented its place as a truly great supercar alongside a daring night shoot with an Audi R8 LMX, pitch a Nissan GT-R and Audi Quattro against each other on Welsh mountain roads and drive the original 'Hakosuka' GT-R.
Ford's RS200 in a moody dark garage is just one of many amazing shoots in our 8th gallery, click on the image for the full gallery
Click on the image below for our ninth car pictures of the week gallery, including this hardcore lot!
Our tenth gallery turned it up another notch, including the wettest shoot in history (apparently).
The best hardcore Ferrari supercars and more feature in our 11th car pictures of the week gallery.