Aston Martin V8 Vantage

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The modern Aston Martin V8 Vantage is a sports car from British manufacturer Aston Martin. Aston Martin has previously used the “Vantage” name on high performance variants of their existing GT models, notably on the massively powerful heavyweight Virage-based supercar of the 1990s. The modern car, in contrast, is the leanest and most agile car in Aston’s three-model lineup. As such, it is intended as a more accessible model to compete with cars such as the Porsche 911.

Introduced all-new for the 2006 model year, the V8 Vantage was first seen at the Geneva Motor Show in 2005. The two seat, two door coupé has a bonded aluminum structure for strength and lightness. The 172.5 inch (4.38 m) long coupe features a hatchback-style tailgate for practicality, with a large luggage shelf behind the seats.

The V8 Vantage is powered by a 4.3 L (4282 cc) quad-cam 32-valve V8 which produces 380 hp (283 kW) at 7,000 rpm and 302 lb-ft (409 N·m) at 5,000 rpm. Though based loosely on Jaguar’s AJ-V8 engine, this engine is unique to Aston Martin and features race-style dry-sump lubrication, which enables it to be mounted low in the chassis for an improved center of gravity. The cylinder block and heads, crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons, camshafts, inlet and exhaust manifolds, lubrication system, and engine management are all unique to Aston Martin. The V8 is assembled by hand at the AM facility in Cologne, Germany, which also builds the V12 for the DB9 and Vanquish.

The engine is front mid-mounted with a rear-mounted transaxle, giving a 49/51 front/rear weight distribution. The V8 Vantage can accelerate to 60 mph (97 km/h) in a manufacturer claimed 4.9 seconds (62 mph (100km/h), 5sec) and reach a 175 mph (280km/h) top speed. As a testament to the car’s performance, handling, and endurance, an almost-stock Vantage entered and completed the 2006 Nurburgring 24-Hour race finishing 24th overall at the race, among a field of largely motorsport-homologated cars. The only modifications to the car were a roll cage, racing fuel system, fire protection, racing seat, and hydraulic jacks. The car was otherwise completely standard, including a regular production engine, transmission, suspension, and bodywork.
The V8 Vantage retails for £79,000, US$110,000, or €104,000, and Aston Martin plans to build up to 3,000 per year. Included is an exclusive interior with leather-upholstery for the seats, dash, steering-wheel, and shift-knob. A two-tone full-leather interior is available as an option, as are heated front seats, navigation, rear parking sensors, and xenon headlights.

There is expected to be a V8 Roadster in early 2007.

In their 2006 readership survey, readers of Car Design News voted the Aston Martin V8 Vantage as the best current production car design. The survey results were based on over 1000 responses, most from working automotive designers and students of industrial and automotive design. The vantage was also voted one of Automobile magazine’s 2007 “All Stars” for it’s performance, road manners, and design. The V8 Vantage is also one of the only two cars to be added to “the fridge” – reserved for the super-“cool” – on the BBC’s Top Gear (on which it is described as the baby Aston to differentiate it from the V12 powered DB9). The program rates cars from seriously un-cool to sub-zero. The fridge was an extra category added when the presenters deemed the Aston Martin DB9 too cool for the sub-zero category. In the 2005 awards, Jeremy Clarkson declared the V8 Vantage as the best car of the year, while the award winner was actually the Porsche 911. This resulted in Richard Hammond (“Hamster”) eating the piece of paper. The noise created by its V8 engine has been described by Clarkson as, “Like Tom Jones being mauled by an alsatian”.

During the 2006 British Motor Show, Aston Martin revealed a variant of the V8 Vantage that was set to go racing in the Nurburgring 24 Hours endurance race. The car, now known as the V8 Vantage N24, was driven by Aston Martin CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez, development engineer Chris Porrit, development driver Wolfgang Schuhbauer and Hans von Saurma in the 24 hour race and finished 4th in class and 24th overall, before being driven home on public roads. Modifications to the car include extensive lightening and strengthening, the addition of a front splitter and extended door sills for aerodynamic efficiency as well as equipment to make the car race ready (roll cage, racing fuel tank, etc.), the engine is left relatively untuned from the regular V8 Vantage, with most of the performance coming from the lightening and revised settings. The N24 is considered Aston’s rival to the Porsche 911 GT3 RS and both cars share similar performance figures, both reaching 62 mph from a standstill in 4.2 seconds. Unlike the rival Porsche however, the N24 will not cost any more than the regular car (price is currently set at about £82,000) as Aston does not believe in the Porsche strategy of charging more for a car with less equipment. Only around 20 or so examples of the N24 are expected to be built.

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The V8 Vantage is a hand-crafted sports car that offers electrifying performance and outstanding agility. The most affordable of all Aston Martins, it fuses traditional Aston Martin style and everyday usability. The result is the world’s most desirable sports car.

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Scribbled on April 5th 2007 in Aston Martin, Aston Martin V8 Vantage
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