2020 Aston Martin Vantage

2020 Aston Martin Vantage

The new Vantage is an absolute thing of beauty.

Aston Martin’s entry level model is the only one to get a real name – Vantage – as opposed to a combination of letters. The two-seat performance model from Gaydon has been in its current iteration for just over a year now, having debuted for 2019 on an all new platform. While related to the VH architecture of the previous model, the new Vantage is said to be lighter, more rigid, and significantly faster. As an owner of the previous naturally-aspirated model, I was excited to spend a few days behind the wheel of the 2020 Aston Martin Vantage Coupe and see how it compares to its predecessor.

First off, the styling, an aspect that has been somewhat controversial around our office. The previous vehicle was penned by Henrik Fisker and influenced heavily by Sir Ian Callum, and that era of Aston Martin has been long touted as being some of the most timeless automotive designs ever. The new model is certainly a looker, with a beautiful rear end graced by a light bar, but I’m not entirely sure it’s timeless. It’s fresh and modern, and even somewhat reminiscent of Mazda’s stunning MX-5, and definitely reflective of the current direction of Aston Martin.

Inside, the new Vantage is an absolute thing of beauty. All of the materials are exquisite, with supple leather and crisp design cues everywhere. Our tester had a Phantom Grey leather interior with gorgeous red contrast stitching, and red Aston Martin embroidery on the seatbacks. We found the seats in the Vantage to be much nicer than those in the DB11 (reviewed here), and the overall driving position is also much better. The Vantage is a two-seater and not a 2+2 like the DB11, and its overall proportions reflect this.

The biggest point of sadness with the old Vantage’s departure was the simultaneous loss of the V12 model which could be had with a dogleg manual transmission. Nonetheless, the Vantage now gets the AMG-built 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8, outputting 503 horsepower at 6,000RPM and 505 lb-ft. of torque at a low 2,000RPM. The ZF-built eight-speed automatic is the gearbox equipped on our test vehicle, however enthusiasts can rejoice, because a dogleg manual transmission is once again available! As it stands today, the Vantage is the only supercar on the market that still offers three pedals.

While nothing like a naturally aspirated mill, the 4.0-liter is extremely responsive and sounds just smashing. It already sounds great in the AMG models, and Aston Martin has put their heart into re-engineering the sound for what buyers expect from the Vantage. Power comes on strong at all RPMs with minimal turbo lag, and the Vantage can sprint to 100km/h from a stop in just 3.6 seconds. This is substantially quicker than the old 4.7-liter cars, and in line with the competition.

The Vantage is a remarkably balanced car, and the limited slip differential ensures maximum confidence when pushing it. The steering feels very electric but is extremely precise, with the car eagerly changing direction at the slightest twitch of the wheel. The squared off shape of the steering wheel has spots for the driver’s thumbs, and this small touch goes a long way to ensuring precision when in a performance setting. In standard “Sport” mode, the car already boogies, but set the drive selector to “Sport+” or “Track” and things sharpen up nicely.

Drivers can control the damping using a button on the steering wheel, and this translates to excellent ride quality when grand touring on the highway. It also means that the car firms up to a rock-hard state, optimal for track settings. The beauty of the Vantage has always been that it’s a spectacular grand tourer but also a genuine performance machine capable of track days. I’ve enjoyed numerous track days in my V8 Vantage and it’s a joy every single time – the new one will be a better sledgehammer in this regard.

It’s surprisingly efficient too – after nearly 400km of driving we averaged a frugal 11.0L/100km, and we saw some longer highway jaunts return as little as 9.8L/100km. The Vantage does require 93-octane premium fuel or higher, but if you’re mobbing across the country, the mileage won’t be nearly as bad. To compare, my own V8 Vantage can’t muster any better than 13.0L/100km in an all highway setting, no matter how light I am with my right foot.

Pricing for the 2020 Aston Martin Vantage Coupe starts at $175,944 in Canada, putting it in line with the likes of the Mercedes-AMG GT (reviewed here) and Audi R8 Performance. Our test car was equipped with a significant amount of options including premium audio, special Diavolo Red paint, Sports Plus Collection, Tech Collection, 20-inch wheels, smoked rear lamps, contrast stitching, and a black body pack. The total sticker came to $221,409, which is about right for the average transaction cost for the typical customer.

Technology wise, the Vantage uses the previous generation of Mercedes-Benz infotainment. It doesn’t get Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity, but we suspect this will be rectified with some tech updates over time. Bluetooth connectivity is on board including streaming audio, and the Aston Martin Premium Audio equipped is actually quite good. The Vantage also doesn’t offer active driver safety bits like collision detection or automatic braking, but let’s be real for a second. This is a supercar you’ve bought to drive, not be mothered by electronic nannies. It’s just fine as it is.

The Vantage is in an interesting spot on the market. The 911 Turbo is faster, and the Audi R8 (reviewed here) offers that singing naturally aspirated V10. But neither car is made by a brand as coveted as Aston Martin. This is a brand that, especially thanks to the James Bond connection, drivers from around the globe aspire to own. It’s a car that’s universally respected and appreciated. There are no negative stigmas around this supercar, and that’s what sets it apart. The 2020 Aston Martin Vantage is a truly exceptional performance machine and a true supercar in every sense of the word.

See Also:

2020 Mercedes-AMG GT R Coupe

2020 Audi R8 V10 Performance

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

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