Driven: Aston Martin Vantage S

The best Aston Martin V8 Vantage yet is the new Vantage S, driven here in Coupe and Roadster form

Evo rating
  • Looks, engine, sharper chassis
  • Ponderous gearchanges

What is it? The Aston Martin Vantage S, a sharper, more powerful V8 Vantage with styling tweaks inspired by the V12 Vantage supercar. It costs £102,500 as a coupe, £110,700 as a roadster. Technical highlights? The 4.7-litre V8 engine has its maximum outputs boosted by 10bhp and 15lb ft, rising to 430bhp and 361lb ft. There’s a new gearbox, too, a Prodrive-developed single-clutch automated manual with seven speeds. It’s called Sportshift 2, and is air- rather than oil-cooled, unlike its predecessor, and is said to be 24kg lighter and boast 20 per cent faster shift times. There’s a quicker steering rack and beefier brakes compared to a regular V8 Vantage, too. What’s it like to drive? Its wieldy, short-wheelbase body and light, reactive steering have an instant rightness to them while the ride is reasonably firm, but never intrusive. The Vantage S can play the part of both cosseting cruiser and sharp sports car.  The front end (near-full of V8 engine) still feels a touch heavy should you pile hastily into corners. But enter a bit slower and you’ve more opportunity to utilise its front-engine/rear-drive balance, enjoying a lovely V8 wail on the way out of the turn. It sounds utterly fantastic: there’s a subtle burble on part throttle or at low revs, but press the Sport button and go for it and you’re treated to a sonorous, racecar-like sound that can’t fail to make a keen driver smile. The only real let-down is the gearbox, a ponderous delay between the flick of a steering wheel-mounted paddle and an upchange. In the days of DSG and fancy twin-clutch transmissions it’s disappoining to drive a car with such a stagger between gears, a slight easing of the throttle needed to smooth off a trip through the ratios. Changes on the limiter during harder driving are much snappier, though. How does it compare? A hundred grand buys a lot of car these days. A £100K slice of Porsche 911 or Audi R8 would be more dynamically adept but (to this tester’s eyes) nowhere near as good looking as the Aston. £97,000 now buys you a 542bhp Jaguar XKR-S with similarly emotive looks and soundtrack. Anything else I need to know? While subtle styling tweaks mean it may look much like every other V8 Vantage sold in the last six years, the car has developed a lot since launch. This is the best example yet.

Specifications

EngineV8, 4735cc
Max power430bhp @ 7300rpm
Max torque361lb ft @ 5000rpm
0-604.5sec (claimed 0-62)
Top speed189mph

Most Popular

McMurtry Spéirling fan car claims Goodwood FoS hillclimb record
McMurtry Spéirling
Electric cars

McMurtry Spéirling fan car claims Goodwood FoS hillclimb record

The McMurtry Spéirling has dethroned the Volkswagen ID R as the fastest car to complete Goodwood hillclimb
26 Jun 2022
BMW M 50th Anniversary special previewed for the first time
BMW M 50th
BMW M4 coupe

BMW M 50th Anniversary special previewed for the first time

Think BMW M’s M3 Touring, M2 and XM were enough to celebrate the big 50? Think again…
27 Jun 2022
‘It was as if Jesus himself had blessed Porsche with a new suspension system’
Jethro opinion header
Porsche

‘It was as if Jesus himself had blessed Porsche with a new suspension system’

The deifying of Porsche has left Jethro with a worrying affliction – Porsche fatigue
28 Jun 2022