Aston Martin V8 Vantage 2005 –
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage is a hand built sports cars from the British manufacturer Aston Martin. The company have previously used the “Vantage” name on high performance variants of their existing GT models, notably on the Virage-based car of the 1990s. This sports car is the leanest and most agile car in Aston’s lineup and is intended to attract potential buyers of exotic cars.
Following the unveiling of the AMV8 Vantage concept car in 2003, the production V8 Vantage was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in 2005. The two seater coupe had a bonded aluminum structure for strength and lightness. The 172.5 inch (4.38 m) long body featured a hatchback-style tailgate for practicality, with a large luggage shelf behind the seats. In addition to the coupe, a convertible, known as the V8 Vantage Roadster, later became available.
The V8 Vantage was initially powered by a 4.3 Liter, 32-valve V8 engine that produced 380 hp at 7,300 rpm. However the models produced after 2008 were fitted with a more powerful 4.7 liter V8 kicking out 420 hp. The architecture of this engine was unique to Aston Martin and featured a race-style dry-sump lubrication, which enabled it to be mounted lower 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 were all Aston Martin designs and the V8 engine was assembled by hand at the AM facility in Cologne, Germany.
The engine was front mid-mounted with a rear-mounted transaxle, giving a 49/51 front/rear weight distribution. Slotted Brembo brakes were also standard.
In the 2005 awards, Jeremy Clarkson declared the V8 Vantage as the coolest car of the year, while the award winner was actually the Porsche 911.
In 2006 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.
In 2007 the Vantage was voted as one of Automobile magazine’s “All Stars” for its performance, road manners, and design. Also in 2007 the Andre Gayot guide gave the Vantage four and a half stars out of five, one of the highest scores ever awarded.
In May 2008, Aston Martin announced new technological updates for the Vantage, which included changes to the engine, transmission, suspension and appearance. New cylinder liners that are now pressed into the aluminum block instead of the original cast-in variants allow a thinner liner, which in turn allows a larger capacity of 4.7 L. The cylinder bore and stroke has been increased from 89 mm (3.5 in) to 91 mm (3.6 in) and 86 mm (3.4 in) to 91 mm (3.6 in) respectively, giving a total displacement of 4735 cc. The dry sump lubrication system was also modified.
The “Sportshift” semi-automatic transmission benefited from a software update, while a lightened flywheel was introduced for both the manual and the Sportshift. Aston Martin also stiffened the suspension and now uses Bilstein dampers. An optional Sports Pack is being offered with stiffer springs, tighter handling, and all-new 5-spoke alloy wheels. Sportshift-equipped models also receive a new dual throttle-mapping update which allows the driver to choose from the default Sport mode, or Comfort mode, which gives more comfortable shifts and throttle input for drive ability.
New wheels are also part of the update including a 20-spoke alloy wheel and a new 5-spoke aluminium wheel for the Sport Pack. The interior has been changed slightly, using an updated console similar to the Aston Martin DBS and the DB9.
The update provides the Vantage with 420 bhp (an 11% increase) and delivers peak torque of 470 N·m (350 lb·ft) (a 15% increase), providing the car with additional reserves of mid-range performance and an even higher top speed. Combined European fuel economy and CO2 emissions are also improved by 13% (Sportshift).
During the 2006 British Motor Show in London, Aston Martin Racing revealed a near stock version of the V8 Vantage that would compete in the Nürburgring 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 German journalist Horst Graf von Saurma-Jeltsch in the 24 hour race. The car finished 4th in class and 24th overall, before being driven home on public roads after the race. While essentially much like the existing coupe, the N24 had a front splitter and extended door sills for aerodynamic efficiency, a full roll cage, a racing fuel tank, and other modifications necessary to make the car race worthy. Other modifications included the removal of most of the interior, including all seats, replaced by a lone Recardo drivers seat.
Aston Martin have produced more than 10,000 V8 Vantages and the model is still in production today.