Aston Martin’s Vantage delivers  panache & performance.

It’s impossible to encounter an Aston Martin without connecting the fictional British spy. Go ahead, try. I thought so. In fact, when Lotus, then BMW were substituted in Bond films a decade or so ago, it just didn’t seem right. We can tolerate different actors in the lead role, but please leave the car alone.
I have a friend who’s a C-level technology executive in Silicon Valley who has owned a few new Aston Martins. He grew up in Liverpool, England and when he saw Dr. No, the original James Bond film with Sean Connery driving the stunning DB5 model, he was forever smitten. After pursuing his talent in video game design, he was comfortable enough to buy his dream car. I’m confident he’s not alone.
Sharing to Produce Value

Building supercars in enough volume to support a worldwide dealer network is quite a challenge, especially when a few giant automakers jump in from time to time to put a halo above their luxury brand. So while Aston Martin produces models that retail from $200,000 to $350,000 for the DBX, DB11 and Superleggera versions and $3.2-million for the very limited Valkyrie, our Vantage is where the bit of volume is.

Aston Martin’s Vantage competes with Audi’s R8, Acura’s NSX and Mercedes-Benz AMG GT from a base price perspective and certainly from performance credentials. Five hundred ten horses pushing just 3,373-pounds make the sprint from rest to 60 mph in just 3.5-seconds and a top speed of 195 is achievable if your private driveway is long and smooth enough. Weight distribution is the perfect 50-50 balance for driver confidence.

Aston Martin achieved this remarkable combination of performance and value by sourcing the Vantage powertrain (engine and transaxle) from AMG, their German rival who offers similar goods in its GT model. Some purists whine about this sourcing in the supercar category. I assert that a few $2-million-plus rivals do the same thing. And if Toyota’s new Supra didn’t share fundamentals with BMW’s new Z4, we might not enjoy either one of these fun and very different sportscars. That’s just today’s reality.

Making an Arrival

We tasked the Aston Martin with a leisurely drive to the Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley, a weekend after the big Monterey Classic Car Week. That’s when it’s fun to arrive at the resort in something really special, the ride you would pick for your school reunion. The Vantage has ample room for the same luggage you might pack for airplane ride plus a bit more if needed.

I didn’t test the Vantage on a racetrack, but I was able to test the performance with all the switches in full growl. I came away with little doubt that along with grand touring comfort on the road, this is one very competitive supercar. And Aston Martin proves that every weekend in competition. Go ahead, assume a bit of Bond.

THE FINE PRINT

2020 Aston Martin Vantage

TYPE:  Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive

ENGINE:  4.0-liter Twin Turbo V8

HORSEPOWER:  510 @ 6,000-RPM

TORQUE:  505 lb.ft. @ 2,000-5,000-RPM

BASE PRICE: $149,995

AS TESTED PRICE:  $168,715

FUEL CONSUMPTION:  18-city, 25-highway, 21-combined