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Aston Martin V8 Vantage

andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,617
edited December 2013 in Aston Martin
Aston-Martin has just introduced their new smaller V8 Vantage sports car which is specifically designed to steal sales from the Porsche 911.

There's no way I'll be able to afford one of these $100 vehicles but I think everyone has a car they aspire to and even though I've been a Ferrari and Porsche nut all my life I think right now I'd take the new Aston over anything they offer.

The best car I ever drove was a '67 E-Type 4.2 and I consider the V8 Vantage with it's gorgeous styling the 21st century equivalent of that glorious car.

Did I mention that it's gorgeous image

2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

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Comments

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,617
    http://www.autoweek.com/article.cms?articleId=101796.

    What do you think, is this a solid shot at the 911 market or a boutique car?

    Is Ford going to succeed in the US with this car?

    Is 390 hp enough for a $100k car?

    Let's talk V8 Vantage.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,617
    I was beginning to think I was alone in my admiration for this great new car but Edmund's
    agrees with me after theirfirst driveYou need to rev this engine hard to deliver its best, the instantaneous low-down thrust associated with the V12 is lacking. But to drive it hard is to discover the depth of its talent.. Sound like a real sports car, com mbined with looks like this....

    image

    .....I am in serious car lust! :blush:

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    It will likely take away sales from the 911.

    I'm glad that Aston Martin won't sell out and make an SUV or a sedan.

    check these three great articles about Aston Martin and Henrik Fisker. Fikser was Aston Martin's director of design from 2001 until December of last year. He styled the BMW Z8 while at BMW.

    Inside Aston Martin part one

    Inside Aston Martin part two

    Inside Aston Martin part three

    Aston Martin only has one robot at the factory which fits the body to the frame again using adhesives.

    Aston Martin will avoid distracting gadgets per autoweek.com 7-21-2004.

    Dr. Ulrich Bez, Aston Martin's CEO (since July 2000), used to work for Porsche. Ulrich Bez directed the design, development and introduction of the classic 993.

    check the link for an interview with him

    Dr. Ulrich Bez

    image

    Aston Martin announced in December 2003 that they would be returning to sports car racing and created a new division within Aston Martin known as Aston Martin Racing.

    Aston Martin Racing

    Aston Martin got a new factory in 2003.
  • bsumnerbsumner Posts: 39
    I have seen the recent press arond the Vantage. It is a good looking machine. I am taking delivery of a 997 Carrera 4 in November . . . which is a pretty good chunk of change in and of itself (and more than I ever reasonably thought I'd spend on a car at this point in my life). One thing that makes me very comfortable about buying a 911, despite the annoyance of their dealers (about on par with BMW in my view--and severely deficient to Lexus dealers), is that the car is widely known/distributed/etc. If I have a problem, I know that there will be parts, knowledgable service people, etc. I am beginning to understand why some people shell out the $$ they do for turbos, GT2/3s etc. rather than F430s, Gallardos, Vantages, etc. . . . when you actually get closer to writing the check, you want to be sure that the Company has the wherewithal to stand behind the product.

    Just my $0.02. If I weren't as relatively parsimonious as I am--and didn't want to take the social and door-ding risk of driving a spectacle (which is another HUGE downside to AM, Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc.--though some people would argue that the 911's ubiquity is a downside in-and-of itself), I would definitely be tempted. But, bottom-line, until it has more of a track record, it feels too niche for me.

    -BS
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I was unable to open your link or find an Autoweek road test of the Vantage. I would like to learn more, before forming a final opinion.

    That said, I do not think the Vantage is as directly competitive with the 911 as a true sports car, as it might be with the 645i, SL500/SL55 and certain other GT cars that push luxury over sport in both their design and marketing. It's a heavy car - 3,461 lbs - which is 150 lbs heavier than my 911 S Cab, 300 lbs heavier than the 911 S Coupe and 400 lbs heavier than the base 911 Coupe. It's cd of 0.34 isn't very good by sedan standards, let alone compared to the 0.28 for the 911.

    I don't think the question of whether or not 390 horsepower is enough for a $100k+ car is the right one. The question is one of performance. With a manufacturers estimate of 0-60 in 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 175, the Vantage appears to be right in line with the $65k Cayman, and discernibly below the 911S. Porsche figures for the 911 S are very conservative compared to what it has been independently tested at, so perhaps the Vantage will fare better. But more important to me than the 911S's 3.9-4.2 second 0-60 ability is the crisp steering and nimble handling. I may be wrong, but I suspect the heavy Vantage, with more of an emphasis on comfort, will be well below the 911/Caymen in the handling department.

    Finally, on the looks front, I am not a big fan of the BMW Z8, which the Vantage designer refers to as one of his favorite designs. The Vantage certainly looks better than the Z8, but if I were going exotic, I'd have to say that it's no Ferrari. Purely subjective opinion.

    All that said, the Vantage appears to be an interesting alternative, that I suspect will do well. But I think it will capture more market share from potential buyers of SL's or 6-series that view it as a sports car by comparison, than 911 buyers like me that view it as a semi-GT car by comparison. And then again, I may be wrong.

    P.S. I happened to own a 1970 E-Type 4.2 4-speed for a glorious 5 months in 1979. bought it from a friend for a whopping $5,000, who then turned around and bought it back from me for $5,000 after I determined I needed relaible transportation to take back to college. Your question "is Ford going to succeed in the US with this car?" sends a few chills through me. I know Jaguar fell out of grace with sports car enthusiasts before Ford took over. But look at them now. Big powerful engines mated to sloppy slushbox transmissions and slightly better than Crown Victoria suspensions. Anyone that can appreciate the E-type must refrain from vomiting. I sure as heck hope the independence of AM in making decisions can be maintained. I would be concerned that, however subtle, Ford might "guide" AM to what it thinks the typical American consumer wants. I may be an atypical driving enthusaist, but as far as what I want, Ford doesn't have a bloody clue.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,617
    Well, I think perhaps too much has been made of the Vantage vs. 911 thing. They are as you say different kinds of cars and I too think it's a bit heavy for a sports car but, if the literature is to be believed it's the kind of sports car that can be very involving to drive and that to me is the mark of a true sports car.

    You say it's no Ferrari in the styling department but as a lifelong tifoso I lament the loss of the voluptuous fluidity that characterized the great Ferraris of the past. They're going for a very techno look now ceding the beauty crown to Aston IMO.

    As for Ford and Jaguar you say:

    But look at them now. Big powerful engines mated to sloppy slushbox transmissions and slightly better than Crown Victoria suspensions.

    That ship sailed long before Ford, about the time the E-Type 4.2 was replaced by the V12 but I agree there's a danger that Ford will be tempted to pitch A-M to the lowest common denominator but for now let us rejoice that they've produced a wonderful new sports car/GT (take your pick).

    Xkss, thanks for the links, all good stuff.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    I know Jaguar fell out of grace with sports car enthusiasts before Ford took over. But look at them now. Big powerful engines mated to sloppy slushbox transmissions and slightly better than Crown Victoria suspensions. Anyone that can appreciate the E-type must refrain from vomiting. I sure as heck hope the independence of AM in making decisions can be maintained. I would be concerned that, however subtle, Ford might "guide" AM to what it thinks the typical American consumer wants. I may be an atypical driving enthusaist, but as far as what I want, Ford doesn't have a bloody clue.

    Umm..The new Jaguar XJ has an aluminum chassis and a 6 speed ZF automatic transmission.

    image

    "In development testing on the Nürburgring's Nordschleife, Mike Cross, Jaguar's Chief Engineer of vehicle dynamics, has already turned laps with the naturally aspirated car within four seconds of the eight-minute, 36-second lap times posted by the supercharged XKR, which makes nearly 100 hp more."

    - autoweek.com

    As those links pointed out, Aston Martin knows where they are going and Ulrich Bez knows customers don't want a Aston Martin suv or a sedan like what Porsche is doing and will do within a few years. Aston Martin has returned to racing this year and with victories at Silverstone (FIA GT Championship) and at the 12 Hours of Sebring (against two factory Corvette C6-Rs and several other GT1 cars).

    Also, the new V8 Vantage is indeed more of a competitor to the 911 than an two-ton SL or 6 series.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "As those links pointed out, Aston Martin knows where they are going and Ulrich Bez knows customers don't want a Aston Martin suv or a sedan like what Porsche is doing and will do within a few years."

    "Also, the new V8 Vantage is indeed more of a competitor to the 911 than an two-ton SL or 6 series."

    I think you and AM might be forgetting that both the Vanquish and DB9 are (more than) two-ton cars now. Aston Martin can try calling these GT behemouths "sports cars" in all of their marketing literature all day long. The reality is that they are no different in positioning than the 6-series or SL. (I don't even want to give Jaguar credit for building anything today that could be remotely mistaken for a sports car).

    Whether a car company like AM that has been 100% focused upon the GT market can dial up their engineering gears to produce a real sports car to compete with the 911, is to be determined. But the Vantage is still a heavy car, with performance that, it now appears, is below the level of the Cayman. That may be fine for the majority of affluent buyers of GT cars that want a sportier image. Probably not for those of us that want the driving feel of a real sports car.

    I know from your previous posts that you are a long time antagonist of Porsche, which is your perogative. I have nothing against AM, in spite of my fears of Ford, GM, Daimler Chrysler and the UAW. I'm willing to evaluate the 3,500 lb Vantage on it's own merits. But that won't be based upon their corporate PR claims, it will be after I'm called to test drive a 6-speed model for myself. Unfortunately, I am told, fewer than 10-20% are expected to be fitted with a manual and I may have to wait a few months. Not a good start for a "sports car".
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    The new V8 Vantage is only available with a manual transmission right now.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    The V8 vantage will not be available until next spring. The dealer I would buy from has 10+ names on the list for an expected allocation of 6-7 cars. I've been invited to see the promotional car currently touring the country, which will be at their dealership Thursday night. Unfortunately, I have an out of town conflict.

    Also, FWIW, the sales manager does not think the Vantage will be cross shopped with the 911 as much as other sport "GT's" such as the SL55, M6, etc. The average age on his list is "mid to late 50's". He indicated most currently own Mercedes, BMW's, Jaguars and Bentleys. He thinks the biggest market will actually come from prospective purchasers of Vanquishes and DB9's that decide to downsize into something more sporty. But, in his words, most of the buyers on his list are not "pure sports car" shoppers to begin with and are looking for a "heavy dose of luxury, style and exclusivity" to go along with "highly adequate, but not harsh or neck snapping" performance. Many on the list also have a particular affinity for British cars. Mind you, this is only one dealer, but I found his comments and observations interesting.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I think at some level all these cars compete with one another when a rich person goes looking for new wheels. Those comments were interesting indeed, including one aspect I never really thought about - " Many on the list also have a particular affinity for British cars". Never thought about that. Just like there are folks who like Japanese or German or American or Italian, there is a British enthusiast also. You gotta have some money for have an affinity for British because just like Italian cars there really aren't any cheap ones sold here. Well I guess the Jag X and S-Types are cheap compared to Astons/Bentleys/Rollers, but they haven't exactly been the object of much desire.

    I can see why someone would have a thing for British cars, they are in most case very curious items and usually pretty good looking or in the case of the DB9 - gorgeous!

    M
  • Well, last week I did get to see the "touring" Vantage in person at Rahal Motors outside of Pittsburgh. Strictly look and touch, but no test drives.

    Conclusion: Porsche would have had some very serious competition, were they still producing the 928 S4 or variant. Other than the fact that the Vantage is strictly a two seater, that is the Porsche it would have competed against very effectively. The Jaguar XKR should be worried. The Mercedes SL as well, although the fact that its a convertible will limit direct competition.

    In discussing the car over wine and cheese with several other attendees, the above assessment as to who will likely be buying the car appears to be right on. Two couples I spoke with are considering getting the Vantage in lieu of a Vanquish, now that they are empty nesters. But I could tell that neither of them would be comfortable in a more serious sports car like the 911. Neither of the wives could (or would ever) drive sticks and even the husbands were asking when an automatic would be available.

    Whether or not the Vantage can compete with the 911 or Ferrari 360 in performance appears to be moot. It doesn't look to me like it will be being bought as a serious sports car, but rather as a sexy luxury sport tourer. And on that front, it is likely to be a winner.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    And its a looker too.....

    image

    M
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,617
    Great shot! Just downloaded it to my wallpaper. :)

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,617
    of today (well next year)?

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • Hold up - you are drooling on your computer. ;)

    Have you seen the car in person? I have and while it is certainly attractive, I didn't think I was looking at something out of this world. Frankly, it reminded me of the first time I saw the Jaguar XK8. Or the Mercedes SL.

    If the car has a weak element, it's clearly the front grill. It's too busy for my tastes and the opening rides too high up on the hoodline. And, as I suspected, the aerodynamics of the car are pretty poor by today's sports car standards. The Vantage may claim a top speed of 175, but I think that would be an unstable 175 compared to a 911 or Ferrari 360/430. Too much air will be pushed under the car rather than over it and I suspect lift would become a serious issue as one approaches maximum speed.

    Perhaps I see too much of the desinger's previous BMW Z8 in the front end of this car. I drive a 2003 M5 and have been a loyal fan of BMW for several decades. But, that said, the Z8 was just awkward looking to me. And, coincidentally, it doesn't match the high speed stability of other sports cars in its class. The Vantage is certainly more elegant than the Z8 from the midpoint back, but the front end is still not quite right, IMO. In spite of being the old kid on the block, I actually prefer the looks of the Porsche 997. Probably because it looks more purposeful and has the appearance of high speed stability. At least to me. I also prefer the 360/430, but not as much.

    To each their own, however, and I certainly wouldn't kick a Vantage out of my garage.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well I think the problem (if it has one) with the Vantage is that it looks like a shrunken DB9. The DB9 which I've seen a lot gets my vote for the best looking production car in the world today. The Vantage I've only seen in prototype form back in 2003 at Detroit.

    M
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,617
    my friends, and I can't really argue with them. I haven't seen a V8 Vantage in the metal, for that matter I have yet to see a DB-9 (I live about 75 miles from the nearest A-M Dealer :()

    Both the DB-9 and the Porsche 997 are fabulous-looking cars and it might turn out I'd like them even better if I saw them in the same place but I think based on photographs the smaller car is better looking than the DB-9 and fresher looking than the 997.

    As for non-visual attributes, the Cayman S is probably a better sports car than any of them.

    Yes, Mr. Fisker does tend to repeat himself but I've developed a new appreciation for the style of the Z8 based on the photos in a recent issue of Roundel.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    This car is like the bimbo on the centerfold of a D-class porn magazine. C’mon my brothers, get your act together, there’s a real and better world out there.

    ;-)
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    that picture is of the 2003 concept car.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Stunning to look at IMO.

    image

    image

    image

    Article

    M
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    It is indeed a good "looker" but not quite as stunning to drive, as I somewhat expected, according to the article:

    "Porsche has been building 911s for more than 40 years. The V8 is very capable, but it’s short of that final, magical polish that separates a good car from a great one – the polish that comes from endless refinement. Its performance is strong enough, and its dynamic repertoire, while no threat to the 911’s, is broad."

    Certainly will give the SL500/55 and BMW 650i a run for thier money, though.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Oh I'm not surprised. It would take a small outfit like Aston-Martin years to knock off the 911, if possible.

    Porsche doesn't have much to worry about especially so many variants of the 997 (Turbo, GT2, GT3, RS) coming over the next year.

    I still suspect that the Aston is still more of a GT car than a full-on sports car.

    M
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Agreed on the "GT" comment. And, other than the stiffer price, I can also see them pulling lots of sales away from the new Jaguar XKR. The Aston is better looking inside and out, equal or better performing, and a much more exclusive British car for those with put exclusivity and "British" on their priority list.

    That may not be what Ford had intended, but I think it is possible that they will cannibalize at least as many Jaguar XKR sales as 911 sales.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Everything still all-good with the 911 CS Cabrio?

    M
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,617
    to continually compare the A-M V8 to the 911
    as they are obviously different kinds of cars.
    Given the general layout and size of the car
    it's closer to being a British Corvette than
    a British 911.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Except that it's a lot closer to a 911 in price. I think it would be a leap to think that too many $45k-$65k Corvette shoppers are going to cross shop a $110k Aston Martin.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Other than an annoying little rattle in the convertible roof, everything's great at 3,800 miles. I just need to take the time to get the car back to the dealer 60 miles away to get it fixed. That's one of the downsides of shopping for the best price, but the $10k discount is worth a little aggravation, I guess.

    Thanks for asking. I feel like you should have been honorarily named on the title. ;) If you ever get to DC on business or pleasure, a free drive is awaiting. :)
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    As for the new Jaguar XKR...

    It isn't even out yet.

    How does the V8 Vantage compete with an SL500? The SL weighs around 800 pounds more. The new XK convertible will compete with the SL even though the XK weighs hundreds of pounds less and over 500 pounds less than a BMW 650Ci convertible.
  • I ordered a new AM V8 last week paying $125k sticker for it. The car will be delivered in May or June -- the waiting list for the St. Louis dealer, the newest in the US, is short.

    If I don't like the car, I can unload it at a $20 - 30k profit.

    I am in my late 50's, was a fan of British cars in their heyday owning numerous of those problematic beasts. I didn't buy a Porsche because they are as common as mud where I live and I have already owned one. FWIW, I used to race and don't need an automatic.
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