The Aston Martin Vantage 2018.

Meet the new Aston Martin Vantage, the company’s sharpest knife in the drawer.

Starting at $149,995.

Aston describes the new design as James Bond’s DB10 enhanced by the menacing stance of a Vulcan. Mr. Palmer sums it up as the brand’s “hunter”, a car with its nose on the ground.” What Aston had to hold back on its grand-touring DB11 was put into this model, resulting in a huge ducktail, and even larger grille, heavy venting on the side, and a carbon roof. Thanks to its aggressive front splitter and complex rear diffuser, it’s also the first production Aston Martin to generate downforce, resulting in much improved stability at high speeds without active aero; that saves weight and cargo space. ( Aston Martin Vantage )

With the 4.0 twin-turbo V8 granting it 503 horsepower and 505 lb-ft of torque, the new Vantage is a 195 mph car that can get to 60 in 3.6 seconds. Roughly a year from launch, you will also be able to challenge the 8-speed ZF automatic’s figures by choosing a 7-speed manual instead, coming from Italy’s Graziano. And it just might have the dogleg pattern of the last V12 Vantage S.

In terms of size, the new Aston Martin Vantage is 36 mm shorter than a Porsche 911, yet not as wide as an AMG GT at 2153 mm with the mirrors. Thanks to its bonded aluminum construction, it weighs 3373 lbs. dry, with a 50/50 weight distribution and the engine pushed as low and far back in the chassis as possible. The cooling for the V8 didn’t require air vents on the hood either, resulting in a sleeker look.  ( Aston Martin Vantage )

Aston says that while the body-in-white is lighter and significantly stiffer (thanks partly to the fact that the road car is designed with the GT program in mind), they have also improved build quality, especially when it comes to panel gaps and surface finishes. About 70 percent of the parts are new, with the only exterior bits shared with the DB11 being the door handles and the badges.

Even though the steering ratio is the same as the DB11’s (2.4 turns lock-to-lock), the shorter wheelbase makes the Vantage more aggressive off center. The baby Aston also features stiffer springs, different bushings and GKN’s electric differential instead of the mechanical one found in the bigger car. The E-Diff sends data to the adaptive dampers as well, with cornering made even sharper by the ABS-based torque vectoring.

The Aston Martin Vantage runs on Pirelli’s latest P Zeros, but perhaps more importantly, its suspension tuning was also the first job done entirely by ex-Lotus wizard Matt Becker, who claims the new car is “massive fun” to drive.

While Aston’s Lime Essence paint and wide range of new two-tone metal finish, body color or carbon fiber exterior details are sure worth taking note of, the Vantage gets even more inviting once you climb inside. ( Aston Martin Vantage )

At last, Aston Martin has designed an interior with tall drivers in mind. There’s more space all around thanks to lots of negative curves and a flat-bottom steering wheel, while the brand new infotainment system is guaranteed to work flawlessly, as it comes from the Daimler parts bin. Remaining a hatchback, the Aston Martin Vantage offers 350 liters of cargo space, and the cabin is layered with Alcantara, leather and the fancy trim material of your choosing.

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