Meant to be a “statement car” for Aston Martin, the brand has taken the wraps off its new 510hp Vantage. The model will also showcase how future Astons will become more individual and confident, according to its designer.
The two-seater is the second launch for the British marque’s ‘second-century plan’, under which it will introduce seven new cars in seven years. In order to ensure each model is distinctive, Aston has planned to design each one in a bolder manner.
“The design team is trying to push a lot more and show the character of each car,” designer Sam Holgate told our sister publication Autocar UK. “The Vantage is about being the hunter. It’s a car you want to get in and chase down a Lamborghini Huracán or a Porsche 911.”
The 2018 Vantage’s front is dominated by a functioning grille, mounted at the lowest position compared to other mainstream production Aston Martins. The hood is a single clamshell design with minimal lines. While the turbocharged V8 motor doesn’t require air vents cut into the bonnet, a slight bulge can be seen to link the car to the older V12 Vantage and to create room for under-bonnet airflow to the turbo.
The flanks have large side-cut features just behind the front wheels, reflecting the brand’s traditional side strakes and reducing pressure on the front tyres to cut drag.
The rear sports the most dramatic styling; it is dominated by a large, downforce-generating diffuser, another first for a mainstream production Aston. Holgate called the diffuser a signature of the Vantage. “If you see this car overtaking you, you’ll know it’s an Aston Martin,” he said. Downforce is generated by the low front, the small rear boot lip, the flat underbody and the diffuser, though it misses out on any active aero.
The design of the Vantage echoes some of the flourishes seen on recent Aston Martin specials, such as the Vulcan and Vantage GT12. Holgate said: “With the special projects, we can push our DNA a lot further than we originally thought, and that’s given us the confidence to not be so precious about features on the production cars. When you do that, it can snowball into something that’s quite special – but still an Aston Martin.”
Powered by the Mercedes-AMG-sourced 4.0-litre, twin-turbo, V8 engine used in the DB11, the Vantage’s motor is slightly more powerful producing 510hp and 685Nm between 2,000 and 5,000rpm. Aston claims a 0-100kph time of 3.6sec, with a top speed of about 312kph and an estimated fuel economy of 9.49kpl.
The 2018 Vantage was developed specifically for the V8 engine, with a V12 version likely to follow, though a hybrid is unlikely for this generation. However, Aston plans to offer an electrified version of every new car it produces from 2025 onwards.
The engine transmits power to the rear wheels via a rear-mounted ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, with an electronic limited-slip differential that offers dynamic stability control and dynamic torque vectoring modes. The Vantage also gets a new electronic rear differential, dubbed an E-Diff and a manual gearbox version is expected to arrive sometime in 2018.
While Aston claims 70 percent of the underpinning’s components are new, the Vantage shares the bonded aluminium structure first used on the DB11. With a dry weight of 1,530kg, suspension duties are carried out by double-wishbones at the front and a multi-link set-up at the rear. Unlike the DB11, the Vantage’s subframe is mounted to the car rather than rubber mounted, which means the car should be more rigid and offer an improved driving experience. There is adaptive damping, with three different modes: Sport, Sport Plus and Track.
The 20-inch wheels are shod with specially developed Pirelli P Zero tyres. The front wheels feature two-piece 400mm steel brakes, with 360mm ventilated co-cast discs at the rear. Carbon-ceramic brakes will be offered as an optional extra.
Chief technical officer Max Szwaj said this is a key element of the design. “Having short overhangs helps the vehicle dynamics,” he said. “It focuses everything in the central part of the car, which helps balance with the 50/50 weight distribution.”
The Vantage sports a 350-litre boot, which was an important consideration for Aston to ensure it would be a viable option for weekend trips.
The cabin of the new Vantage draws on the ‘analogue’ exterior design, with a driver-centric layout that features a combination of rotary and toggle controls. The controls are grouped into clusters for different systems.
“It’s very different from our traditional layout, with much more drama. It’s more of a cockpit feel,” said Holgate. “We’ve tried to keep the analogue feel with the switches, especially the toggle ones.”
Drapped in leather and Alcantara, the interiors feature a black leather steering wheel and an 8.0-inch LCD screen with smartphone integration as standard. Optional extras include carbon-fibre trim interiors and exhaust details.
Aston Martin’s designers have worked on a variety of interior and exterior personalisation options, which are grouped into sets to give the car a range of looks.
Deliveries for the new Vantage will start in the UK in the second quarter of 2018.
Also see: 2018 Aston Martin Vantage image gallery