The Aston Martin Vantage is the storied British marque’s volume car. And with the unveiling today of an all-new model, that volume just got turned up.
“The new car starts where V12 Vantage, not V8, left off,” says Miles Nurnberger, Aston’s head of exterior design, as he walks us around the production car in an intimate advance viewing at the brand’s rural UK headquarters. He is referring to the top-of-the-line, end-of-the-run, 12-cylinder, stick-shifted, spoiler-bedecked analog anachronism that was a limited-edition sendoff for the outgoing car, which had been on sale for more than a dozen model years. (To say that the previous Vantage was long in the tooth is a reckless overestimation of the lifespan of teeth.)
From a purely visual perspective, we cannot argue with him. The new Vantage is immediately recognizable as an Aston Martin — with the signature hill-climb grille, sensuously crisp hood, mesomorphic flanks, squinting greenhouse and tucked tail. But the car can almost be heard, seething, with one’s eyes.
That stick shift will fit nicely in the general area now occupied by Aston’s crystal push-button automatic transmission, which has migrated lower in the center stack and bent into a lovely rainbow with the keyless Start/Stop button as its dreamlike pinnacle. This is part of a wholesale interior update, which transforms the brand’s formerly vertical “waterfall” control array into something more horizontal. This arrives, again, courtesy of Mercedes’ minor stake in the company, and its correlative agreement to provide the electrical underpinnings for the Vantage’s infotainment system and digital analog dash.
Just how ideal and how planted, we volunteer to find out for you when we are given an opportunity to get behind the wheel in advance of the first U.S. deliveries in June. When that happens, Aston tells us to expect 0-60 times to be around 3.6 seconds, top speed to be around 195 mph and the price to be less than $150,000.
One thing we cannot expect, at least right away, is for the Vantage to arrive on our shores with the DB11’s stentorian V12 packed into its nosecone. Though the executives at Aston could not resist speculating on this possibility — dare we say, eventuality — as we looked under the roomy hood, together. The bay here is dominated by a giant pair of cubic air boxes, and then, well behind the front axle, a motor.