By The Lenspeed Team
Remember our road test of the V12 Vantage S? While being a highly polarising car that drew the Lenspeed team into a hissy fit (kidding!), we thought it appropriate to sling by our staff V8 Vantage just to see the most basic and the most tricked out Vantage models side by side.
The V8 Vantage started it all for Aston Martin in the compact sports car segment. Being dimensionally almost as compact as a Porsche Boxster, the Vantage elevated promises of better handling and a more focused Aston Martin. Growing up during its early production years, Lenspeed can remember its trademark machine gun fire noise of the 4.3-litre V8 very fondly, and who could forget its looks? Next to an equivalent 911 Carrera S, you’d be forgiven to think the Vantage was worth twice the money. Such is the integrity of its design that up till today its looks have barely changed and the car still is fresh and desirable.
Fast forward to 2008 and the Vantage receives a major update, not withstanding a large 4.7-litre V8 engine that is a result of new cylinder liners that are pressed into the aluminum block instead of original cast-in variants, and increased bore and stroke. The result is an 11% increase in power and a 15% increase in torque, giving the car the pace that the 4.3-litre increasingly lacked with more powerful rivals. Our staffer has this 4.7-litre V8, and equipped with a manual gearbox too. We would not have it any other way.
In 2009 Aston Martin officially revealed the frankly ridiculous V12 Vantage, and before we even got used to the idea of a V12 inside such a small car Aston gave us the V12 Vantage S, which we had the privilege to drive. The most powerful Vantage of the range ever, it has a whopping 145 more horses than the 4.7 Vantage. However, being exclusively equipped with the Sportshift III semi-automated manual gearbox, we were not so sure that the pairing was ideal when we took it out for a spin.
From the base model to the most extreme, there is no denying that the Vantage has captured the hearts of many, and is thoroughly a true Aston Martin. We hope that the new ZF 8-speed gearbox applied cleverly to the Vanquish and Rapide S will find its way to the Vanquish as well, whether now or in the future.
Check out more unpublished photos of the two cars on our Facebook page!