(Mirror) Mention Aston Martin, and most people think of the lovely and iconic DB5, introduced for 1963 and now associated with Ian Fleming's James Bond.
I am sure that, like me, you probably wanted the secret agent driving it more than the car, and who could blame you?
Ironically, the DB5 marked a period in Aston Martin’s history that saw the company withdraw from racing, a hallmark of the brand since its inception in 1914. More than four decades later, in 2006, Aston returned to the track, which led to the development of the Vantage.
So, it’s more than fitting that Aston Martin provided the chance to drive the latest Vantage sports car, timing it just as the Aston Martin Red Bull Formula 1 Racing team sprinted to a podium finish at the United States Grand Prix at the able hands of team driver Max Verstappen.
Lust after Daniel Craig, Pierce Brosnan, Roger Moore or Sean Connery? Thank you, I’ll take Verstappen.
Actors and drivers aside, the Vantage arrives for 2020 with some minor updates, including reworked headlights and taillights, while retaining this exquisite coupe’s powerfully sophisticated, yet muscular, demeanor.
As if its aggressive looks don’t relay that, its full-bodied exhaust note does. Long known for crafting comfortably fast, exquisitely-built GTs, this ill-mannered offspring is more concerned with performance than comfort. Its superb twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 produces a smile-inducing 503 horsepower through a rear-mounted eight-speed automatic transmission on its way to the rear wheels. A seven-speed manual transmission is offered.
This is a true driver’s car, one that reaches 60 mph in 3.6 seconds on the way to 195 mph top speed, more than fast enough to keep up with its many competitors, including the Porsche 911 — something you’d never say of other Astons.
Tackling the twisties of Texas Hill Country outside of Austin, the Vantage comfortably contains the worst shocks while remaining taut through corners due its adaptive damping system and its active torque-vectoring electronic rear differential. There’s exquisite driver control, although the tail will dance when intended, with the exhaust unleashing its brawny baritone. It’s an intoxicating time, one worthy of its price.
Still, it might surprise you that the V-8 is supplied by Mercedes-AMG, which uses a similar, but powerful, V-8 in its AMG-GT. But the Vantage doesn’t sound or feel like a Mercedes-AMG; it’s too primal for that. (For the record, in 2013, the German automaker agreed to supply V-8 engines and other systems in exchange for a five percent non-voting stake in the company).
But for all its brutish athleticism, it’s still an Aston Martin GT, and so there’s a lavish cabin with room for two, lined in scrumptiously soft aromatic leather, and pseudo suede. The instrument panel contains an 8.0-inch flat-screen that’s controlled by a rotary knob and ancillary buttons on the center console. Bluetooth is standard. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not offered. But a comfortable ride is, as is a sensible amount of cargo space.
It’s an incredibly fun proposition, one that, like all good-looking propositions, is sure to shake and stir you.
Larry Printz is an automotive journalist based in South Florida. He can be reached at .
2020 Aston Martin Vantage
Base price: $149,995
Engine: Twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8
Top speed/0-60 mph: 195 mph/3.6 seconds
EPA fuel economy (city/highway): 18/24 mpg
Wheelbase/Length/Width: 106.5/175.5/76.5 inches
Cargo capacity: Not available
Curb weight: 3,373 pounds
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