New Aston Martin Vantage Repositions Itself as a 665 Horsepower 911 Turbo Rival
153 bhp. That’s how much the wick has been turned up on the heavily revised Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Has any car in history ever received such a staggering increase in power and performance from a mid-life re-fresh?
Such a jump in power is reflecting Aston’s bullish confidence, with sales and stocks on the rise, the V8 Vantage has been repositioned as an outright Porsche 911 Turbo S rival, rather than aligned against the 911 Carrera. With this comes a suitably reflective hike in price, with the Vantage’s list price purported to rise to £165,000.
Besides the leap in power and performance, the increase is justified by a new look clearly inspired by the One-77 limited-run supercar. Larger LED Matrix headlights, new front wings and a 38% bigger grill are the highlights of the new design. Changes at the rear are more restrained, restricted to a wider rear arches from the V12 (up 30 mm) and a new-look bumper incorporating side vents and larger diameter quad exhaust tailpipes. Ridiculous forged 21-inch alloys and a more pronounced shoulder line complete the external revisions.
To combat the inevitable creep of weight gain between generations, many of the new styling components are manufactured from lightweight materials, with the wings and bonnet being aluminium. The roof and both the front and rear bumpers meanwhile, are all crafted from composite. Aston Martin quotes a “dry-lightweight” (optional extra optimised and sans fluids) kerb weight of 1,605 kg, resulting in a dry power to weight ratio of 409 bhp/tonne.
New Aston Martin V8 Vantage - Cockpit Changes
The interior of the V8 Vantage has always felt a generation behind those of its rivals, but thanks to a completely modernised centre console, dashboard and steering wheel bringing the car into alignment with the DB12, that grievance has finally been addressed.
As expected from an Aston Martin, fine materials and craftsmanship is clearly abundant, with Bridge of Weir leather, a 1,170W Bower and Wilkins sound system and generous lashings of carbon fibre. Further bespoke customisation is available via Aston’s ‘Q’ branch.
Also ported over from the DB12 is a completely overhauled and modernised technology interface, with a 10” touchscreen, wireless charging and Android or Apple CarPlay connectivity. Refreshingly, Aston Martin has resisted the temptation to cram all major controls onto the user interface, with important elements such as the climate control utilising traditional buttons.
New Aston Martin V8 Vantage - Power Increase and Technical Changes
Under the bonnet of the Vantage remains the familiar hand built Mercedes-AMG 4.0 litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine, only with extensive changes to generate the new headline output. With peaks of 665 PS and a colossal 800 Nm of torque, the new Vantage offers 30 % more power than the outgoing model and becomes the fastest version in the storied nameplate’s history, eclipsing even the mighty V12 Vantage and twin-supercharged V8 Le Mans of the 1990’s.
The V12 might boast a fraction more power, however the reworked V8 offers a fraction more torque, and is a significant 190 kg lighter. The new Vantage is capable of a top speed of 202 mph and can reach 60 mph from standstill in just 3.4 sec. Sadly, the manual variant of the car has been killed off, with the Vantage now solely offered with ZF’s excellent eight-speed automatic.
The higher outputs have been achieved through the adoption of modified cam profiles, optimised compression ratios, and larger turbos, all specific to Aston Martin. Beyond the technical improvements, yielding the extra horsepower has - according to Aston Martin - created an engine with “a sharper, more visceral and more vocal character”.
Liberating the additional engine performance has increased thermal load, which has required a complete redesign of the engine cooling system. An additional low temperature radiator has been fitted to the charge cooler water circuit, with a further two auxiliary coolers added to the existing central main radiator to further increase thermal capacity.
The oil system has also benefited from extensive upgrades, with the auxiliary outboard engine oil cooler now boasting twice the face area of its predecessor. Thermal airflow has also been boosted with a 50% increase in the volume of cold air reaching the radiators thanks to the facelifted front grill.
The 8-speed ZF automatic transmission benefits from a shortened Final Drive Ratio (3.083:1) and revised shift calibration to “maximise response and enjoyment” and deliver “punchier in-gear acceleration”.
Handling and Dynamic Improvements
Unlike the Vantage’s new all-wheel-drive rivals such as the aforementioned 911 Turbo S and Mercedes AMG GT 63, Aston Martin remains committed to rear-wheel-drive. This hasn’t stopped the PR department from making some bold claims for the 2024 Vantage with the headline statement of “Engineered for real drivers”.
But filter through the hyperbole and you’ll find some real engineering substance behind the marketing chutzpah. Significant strides have been made in structural integrity thanks to a re-engineered and re-positioned front body cross member, plus the fitment of a stiffer-yet-lighter front engine cross brace for increased torsional rigidity.
At the rear axle, the Vantage benefits from a 29% increase in stiffness under cornering load due to increased lateral strengthening between the rear suspension towers. Together with revisions to front and rear undertrays for greater lateral stiffness, the combined improvements in front and rear mounting stiffness for the dampers mean tangible gains in precision, handling balance and driver feedback, together with an overall uplift in refinement. In other words, a double win.
The suspension revisions include new “state-of-the-art” intelligent adaptive dampers first deployed on the DB12, manufactured by Bilstein. With a 500% increase in bandwidth of force distribution over previous generation hardware, the dampers have allowed Aston Martin’s engineers to sharpen the Vantage’s dynamics towards a more “inherently sporting feel”. The Vantage’s EPAS has also come in for scrutiny, with the steering column being stripped of bushing to enhance driver feedback and increase precision.
The dynamic behaviour of the car has been further enhanced by ‘AML’ coded Michelin Pilot Sport S 5 tyres made specifically for the Vantage, measuring 275/35 R21 (103Y) front and 325/30 R21 (108Y) rear. As standard, the Vantage features 21” forged alloy wheels although three different designs will be offered in a range of colours and finishes, including Satin Bronze, first seen on the DB12.
Behind those monster alloys you’ll find drilled 400 mm front discs and 360 mm rears. To improve pedal feel, the brake booster has been re-tuned compared to the outgoing mode to give a firmer pedal. Carbon Ceramic Brakes (CCB) can be specified on Vantage as an option extra, saving a huge 27 kg in unsprung mass compared to the cast-iron system.
Faster Acting Driver Aids
On top of all the hardware changes comes the de-rigueur suite of electronic aids and driving modes. New Launch Control software co-ordinates the E-Diff, ESP slip control and engine torque management for an optimum launch, or should the driver desire, they can dial-in the precise amount of slip they desire via the Adjustable Traction Control (ATC) system, which offers nine tiers of assistance.
In addition, the ESP now measures the cars behaviour and manages responses across six axes of movement, with the Bosch suite of electronics now working with a far more powerful and predictive accelerometer, resulting in more accurate and progressive intervention.
Overall, the new Aston Martin Vantage looks to be a very promising and thorough re-engineering of the outgoing car with its significant power increase, revised styling and significantly improved cockpit. The first press drives are expected to happen in April with deliveries also beginning in Q2 of 2024.