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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2013
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    Drove my first Aston Martin V8 Vantage

    I've had my eye on the Aston Martin V8 Vantage for a while now and I've quietly been doing some research and waiting to jump on the right used car.

    I've narrowed it down to:
    2009+ 4.7L V8
    White or Black
    Less than 20,000km's
    Dealer car with warranty
    Navigation
    Sound System

    I understand these cars are extremely rare so it's slim pickings when it comes to what's available at the moment. Fortunately, I'm happy with my current car so I'm prepared to wait.

    I test drove a 2007 (built in 2006 I think) V8 Vantage 4.3L Convertible in Burgundy Red with Auto Transmission. Now whilst this might not have been the exact car I was looking for, I was open to seeing it and driving it as this car had extremely low km's and had never been driven hard.

    This is the first time I've driven an Aston Martin. I have to admit I wasn't completely blown away by the experience, however I put this down to this not being the exact car I had been looking for and possibly because this car had not being run in properly.

    Good:
    - The exterior is quite stunning. It's a very good looking car and I was very impressed by it.
    - The sound. Possibly the best part of the car. I was surprised how quiet it was at idle but driving around it makes all the right noises, very exotic and a nice crackle during shifts. It's loud once it gets going.
    - Revs hard to 7000rpm
    - Comfortable seats

    Bad:
    - Interior seemed a bit dated and lacked features. It looked quite good for a car that was 6 years old but it made me realise I needed a car that was much newer, regardless of km's.
    - Stance/Wheels looked quite weak. However, I would address this straight away with adjustable coilovers and a nice set of wheels.
    - Auto transmission. I was disappointed. I think manual is definitely the way to go. I now understand why some of the clutches need to be replaced for the AT trans if the driver does not know how to drive it properly in manual mode.
    - Felt heavy. I didn't get to push it around any corners but it did feel like a bit of a pig, especially when breaking.
    - Hesitation in 1st gear

    Now I understand that some of these problems are associated with the convertible as it adds weight and sacrifices rigidity, so I'm expecting the coupe to be a big improvement. At the same time the top down experience was amazing with that V8 soundtrack. Overall, it just wasn't a very memorable experience for me. I wasn't expecting a full blown hardcore sports car, but a comfortable GT sports car. I haven't given up hope just yet and I'm sure if I find the exact spec I am looking for I may be inclined to change my opinion. I expect each V8 Vantage will drive differently depending on its history with the owner.

    The other cars I'm considering at this price point are a new C63 AMG in sedan or coupe, or a new Nissan GTR. I know the Aston Martin isn't about raw performance or numbers, driving it is an event, so I'm hoping a newer coupe will win me over.
    Last edited by VINNEY; 03-11-2013 at 05:59 AM.

  2. #2
    I'm not sure if there's a huge difference in feel between my 2011 N420 and your example, but I would definitely try driving a 2009+ that you have listed as what you're looking for. For me the interior looks stunning. I passed up on the typical Audi interior in the R8 and such because it didn't feel special when i stepped inside. I understand they don't have a great interface to work with for the audio system and car management but it just comes with the territory.

    The sportshift transmission has definitely made improvements over the years. Mine works really well around town. I always have it in sport / paddle shift as the "D" mode leaves a bit something to be desired (and IMO isn't smart enough to deal with an urban environment). It takes a bit of feel to get to know the system but I have loved it. Take out the exhaust valve fuse and it is epic on the ears, especially the autoblip downshifts.

    I have driven the C63. I'm actually interested in replacing my sedan with a C63 coupe. I wasn't wowed when I drove it (had the development package, too) but I love the looks, MB interiors, and it also makes a great v8 noise. Wish it had a better transmission in that car. The GTR to me leaves a bit something to be desired. The numbers are something to be excited about but you are left with the rest of the "boringness" when living with it day to day.

    Every time i approach my Aston, it's like day 1 all over again. Driving it is no exception, either.

  3. #3
    Member quad-turbo's Avatar
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    The Nissan GTR will always be just another Jappa, stay looking for the right Aston

  4. #4
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2013
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    I should have stated in my first post that this will most likely become my daily driver, which is the main reason I'm drawn to the V8 4.7L as it's a lot more practical than the V12 options, as nice as they would be to own. I'm still on the fence about keeping my current ride and turning it into a track car.

    Quote Originally Posted by alvin View Post
    I'm not sure if there's a huge difference in feel between my 2011 N420 and your example, but I would definitely try driving a 2009+ that you have listed as what you're looking for. For me the interior looks stunning. I passed up on the typical Audi interior in the R8 and such because it didn't feel special when i stepped inside. I understand they don't have a great interface to work with for the audio system and car management but it just comes with the territory.

    The sportshift transmission has definitely made improvements over the years. Mine works really well around town. I always have it in sport / paddle shift as the "D" mode leaves a bit something to be desired (and IMO isn't smart enough to deal with an urban environment). It takes a bit of feel to get to know the system but I have loved it. Take out the exhaust valve fuse and it is epic on the ears, especially the autoblip downshifts.

    I have driven the C63. I'm actually interested in replacing my sedan with a C63 coupe. I wasn't wowed when I drove it (had the development package, too) but I love the looks, MB interiors, and it also makes a great v8 noise. Wish it had a better transmission in that car. The GTR to me leaves a bit something to be desired. The numbers are something to be excited about but you are left with the rest of the "boringness" when living with it day to day.

    Every time i approach my Aston, it's like day 1 all over again. Driving it is no exception, either.
    I have a suspicion that this particular car I had driven had never been driven hard at all. If the car is still on its original brakes, then there is plenty of pad left and the rotors have shown no sign of where. Whilst normally this would be a good thing I think the car hasn't had a proper break/run in. I think this is why it felt a bit docile.

    In regards to the interior, the seat design was fine, however I noticed the leather was high quality, but also the kind that wears with age like a good leather jacket. Unless it's been cared for properly it does start to look its age. However, the main issue I had was with the center console and the lack of features. I like my gadgets and there weren't many. I believe the console is updated in the 08 or 09 model though.

    The issue I had with the AT was that it felt slow and in manual mode it still needed to be driven like a manual, without the clutch. Therefore, if you like driving this way you may as well buy a proper manual. The paddle shifters on newer cars are usually mated to lightening fast AT transmissions, usually some kind of dual clutch or high end ZF steptronic where you can keep your foot buried to the floor whilst flicking through the gears, however this transmission felt prehistoric in comparison. It was possibly the weakest point of the car. With a decent transmission I think you could expect to save anywhere from 0.5-1.0 second from 0-60mph depending on the driver, but more importantly have a much better ride.

    As for the C63, I must admit I am a fan. I think they look fantastic, they have a lot of presence, the V8 is a gem and it can easily be modified to make more power, looks modern, is brand new and comes with a worry free warranty period. I think I'm more attracted to the motor in that car than anything else, it is a wicked 6.2L V8. I wish it drove like a BMW though! Whilst I admit the Vantage looks a lot more stunning, it's still a tough choice to make.

    I'm still of the opinion that when I see the right Vantage I will be persuaded.

    Quote Originally Posted by quad-turbo View Post
    The Nissan GTR will always be just another Jappa, stay looking for the right Aston
    I can look past the badge when it comes to the GTR, it's an engineering masterpiece and I have a lot of respect for it.

    However, the Aston is much more special in so many other areas where the GTR is not.
    Last edited by VINNEY; 03-11-2013 at 04:53 PM.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    Feb 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by quad-turbo View Post
    The Nissan GTR will always be just another Jappa, stay looking for the right Aston
    I'm with you Chris - the GTR is a fantastic car but then again, so were the original Skylines when they were introduced. Looking back now they are nothing special but the Astons from the same period still give me goose bumps when I see them. I think the same will apply here - in a few years time technology will have moved on and the GTR may well be old hat but an Aston will always be an Aston

  6. #6
    Junior Member
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    Jan 2014
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    London
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    I purchased my 2012 V8 in July of this (last!) year. It still makes me feel good every time I look at it let alone drive it. It is white with spicy red leather interior. I was unsure about the interior before I purchased it but now I am certain. I will never buy a black leather interior again. Keep hunting for the car you want. The Mercedes will disappoint and lacks soul. The Nissan is an extraordinary car but is not to be compared to the AM: it would be comparing apples with oranges. I promise you that of all the cars you mention the vantage will generate a feeling in you (and others) that the alternative cars you mention simply will not. The only sensible thing that Jeremy Clarkson has ever said was when he described the vantage as "achingly beautiful".

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by pbu View Post
    I purchased my 2012 V8 in July of this (last!) year. It still makes me feel good every time I look at it let alone drive it. It is white with spicy red leather interior. I was unsure about the interior before I purchased it but now I am certain. I will never buy a black leather interior again. Keep hunting for the car you want. The Mercedes will disappoint and lacks soul. The Nissan is an extraordinary car but is not to be compared to the AM: it would be comparing apples with oranges. I promise you that of all the cars you mention the vantage will generate a feeling in you (and others) that the alternative cars you mention simply will not. The only sensible thing that Jeremy Clarkson has ever said was when he described the vantage as "achingly beautiful".
    Well said!

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