Overview & Reviews
It might seem strange to describe a $117,000 car as "entry level," but that's exactly what the Aston Martin V8 Vantage is. Meant to sell in greater volumes than its larger and more expensive brand mates, the V8 Vantage is aimed squarely against lofty, performance-proven competitors from Germany.
Like most of the cars from this iconic British brand, it is simply gorgeous. At the same time, Aston upped the fun-to-drive quotient in the Vantage to make it a true sports car rather than a grand tourer like the DB9. Although many have said the V8 Vantage is the best-driving Aston Martin ever, it still falls short of the Porsche 911 in terms of overall performance. Yet, that car is practically ubiquitous compared to the rare Aston, which will always have an advantage in terms of cool sophistication and dazzling visual allure. The V8 Vantage is one instance where the "entry level" is a wonderful place to be.
Current Aston Martin V8 Vantage
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage seats two people and is available as a hatchback coupe and a convertible roadster. There are two trim levels that deliver a different degree of performance: Vantage and Vantage S. The V12 Vantage is reviewed separately.
Both models seat only two people and come with almost identical features. Standard items include 19-inch wheels, xenon headlights, a 10-way-adjustable power sport driver seat, automatic climate control, a six-CD changer, auxiliary audio jack and iPod interface. Leather upholstery is also standard, and is available in nearly countless color combinations, giving buyers the option of a fully customized interior. Curiously, common items like cruise control, Bluetooth, heated seats and seat memory are options on this car that costs more than $100,000. The Vantage S at least gets the cruise control and Bluetooth along with revised suspension tuning and unique styling elements. A pair of upgraded audio systems and a Garmin-sourced navigation system are optional on both.
For power, the base V8 Vantage relies on a 4.7-liter V8 capable of 420 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque. The Vantage S gets a version of the same engine bumped up to 430 hp and 361 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the base car, while a seven-speed single-clutch automated manual transmission is optional on the base Vantage and standard on the Vantage S.
Inside, the Vantage has an overall look that's nearly identical to every other Aston Martin. Expect high-end leather and other trim types, but build quality not up to the level of Porsche. The Vantage's interior is smaller, however, with only two seats. The coupe's hatchback trunk can swallow 10.6 cubic feet of stuff, while the roadster has a typically small 5 cubes of space. The roadster's power-operated cloth soft top can be lowered in 18 seconds, even at speeds of up to 30 mph.
In reviews of the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, we've found that it is indeed a true sports car. On curvy roads, it moves confidently, sliding progressively and returning to its intended path with little drama. Its steering and chassis are highly communicative, delivering useful information about what's happening between tire and pavement.
The roadster's added weight hampers its handling and performance somewhat, but it still offers plenty of grip and high-speed composure. We did note, however, that neither Vantage models matches the performance levels of more mainstream rivals, while the narrow seats and footwells may be uncomfortable for larger drivers.
Used Aston Martin V8 Vantage Models
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage debuted for the 2006 model year only in the coupe body style with a six-speed manual transmission. The roadster and a traditional six-speed automatic transmission were available thereafter. Prior to '08, V8 Vantages lacked steering-wheel audio controls, an auxiliary audio jack and console-mounted cupholders and featured a body-mounted antenna (versus glass-embedded). The 2008 model year also featured the limited-production high-performance Vantage N400, which would be quite the find at your local exotic used car shop.
The most important distinction between the current V8 Vantage and those built prior to '09 is that the engine displaced 4.3 liters, with an output of 380 hp and 302 lb-ft of torque. The suspension and Sportshift automatic transmission also didn't have the revisions given to the '09 car. These earlier Vantages also had a less ergonomic and attractive center control stack, as well as an older, DVD-based optional navigation system. A newer hard drive nav became standard the next year, but it still wasn't good, and was eventually replaced for 2012 by a Garmin-sourced unit.
The Vantage S was not available until 2012.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 28.00
Exclusive!!! - 2006 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
By Vasi - April 9 - 6:33 am
I am another Porsche guy that switched to Aston. The last 10 years I had 5 different Porsches including the latest 997 C2S. Exclusivity is the key. Porsches are extremely common and Astons are so special. I know there is a lot of talk about reliability issues but the moment you hear the engine sound above 4000 rpm you forget about all the bad things and you get big satisfaction without even the need to go fast. A very cool car, no doubt!
Best fun on wheels! - 2006 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
By Petter - April 4 - 7:13 am
I took delivery in May and have had my best driving experiences ever since then. The looks of this car gets almost too much attention, but it is always a thumbs up.
Love that V8 Vantage - 2006 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
By bob garvey - March 31 - 1:33 am
I have to say I love pushing the crystal ignition button, hearing the gutteral vroom that gets me on my way. I love the looks and drive of this vehicle. I previously drove a BMW 540i and I currently also own a Dodge Viper. Have had no major problems with the vehicle.
N420 A Drivers Car - 2011 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
By newcreature - September 4 - 6:42 pm
Recently took delivery of 2011 N420 roadster with 6-speed manual. Came out of a Porsche 997 C4S cabriolet, my second 911 C4. Loved the Porsches, but was in mood for a new driving sensation. N420 is magnificent. Very fast, comfortable, beautiful. The torque is amazing in every gear. Sport suspension a bit firmer than 997 in normal mode, but not as firm as Porsches sport mode. An excellent balance between the two. Firm yet compliant. The sport exhaust is perfectly tuned. Under 3K sound is subdued. Cross 3K, especially under rapid acceleration and the beastly growl is unleashed.
Classy - 2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
By Shawn - June 24 - 11:50 pm
I completed a long (18 month) but fun process of driving all exotics out there except for Bentley, and at the end the Vantage was the clear winner. The key in my mind is that the Aston is pure motoring bliss. It looks, feels, and sounds other-worldly, and is completely classy. Also, Ive been surprised by how much other motorists and peds love the car. Constant thumbs-up signs, digital photos.
Sportster Even More Fun - 2007 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
By kansashick - March 26 - 8:50 pm
I traded my 2006 coupe for a leftover 2007 roadster and could not be happier. The 06 had several of the early production problems -- sorted out by AM nicely. This car, OTOH, is simply perfect. IMO, it looks even better than the coupe and the sportshift (once you get used to it) is even more fun than the manual and allows for even more aggressive driving on the twisties. The top fits well and the car is quiet with it up. Wind buffeting is not much of a problem top down. I get even more thumps up and admiring looks in the roadster than in the coupe. This is a very special, very exclusive car. To the best of my knowledge. there are only three in KC and I have yet to see the other two.
AM Vantage V8 is a winner - 2006 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
By Rasscasse - January 14 - 4:50 pm
I have one of the first US Vantage V8s and it is a brilliant steer. Definitely better than any 911 that I have driven and the looks, build quality and excusivity are spot on. Well done AM!!
A sports car you can use everyday! - 2012 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
By kpetree - July 12 - 8:16 am
I have owned this car for about 3 months and have put about 5600 miles on it already! I absolutely love driving it! Putting the top down and listening to the exhaust is pure bliss. Who needs a radio when you have this 4.7L V8 symphony? Its extremely comfortable, Ive driven it hundreds of miles on day trips and never felt tired. The trunk space isnt much but its plenty to fit my golf bag, shoes and backpack at the same time so its good enough for me. The only real complaint I have about the car is the transmission. In auto mode and in normal driving its slow and jerky but in sport with the throttle down its much better.
Constant Transmission Problems - 2008 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
By Ken Jaggers - March 6 - 5:53 pm
I loved the car for its curb and higway appeal. But both the manual and automatic transmissions were simply not reliable. I first had a 2007 standard transmission Vantage Coupe that stalled on a freeway or highway five times. After being frightened out of my mind, I was able to get the car to limp back to the dealer. It was a lemon, so Aston Martin replaced the car with a 2008 Vantage that was equipped with an Automatic Transmission. That transmission was always rough at the start of the day, with the vehicle shuddering at each stop. The dealer never recognized the problem and said I did not know how to drive the car. At considerable expense, I paid off the lease early and got rid of the car
Simply the best - 2006 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
By KansasHick - May 4 - 2:20 pm
I am overwhelmed by the beauty and performance of this automobile. Not easy for a big guy to get into but once seated everything is perfect. In fact, there is almost nothing that could be changed to make the car better.