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Wednesday 31st July 2013


ASTON MARTIN V8 VANTAGE: PH BUYING GUIDE

Scratch that centenary Aston itch with a used V8 Vantage - now available for less than £30K


Aston Martin gave us our first sighting of the V8 Vantage at the 2003 North American International Auto Show with a concept that turned out to be almost identical to the finished car. We had to wait till the Geneva Motor Show in March of 2005 for the production-ready V8 Vantage, and sales didn't really get into full swing until September of that year with a £79,995 price tag.

2003 AMV8 concept was close to final car
2003 AMV8 concept was close to final car
That price pitched the new 'baby' Aston directly into competition with the Porsche 911, exactly where Aston knew it had to be to garner sufficient sales projected at 3,000 V8 Vantages per year. The British firm certainly got its formula right with the looks of the V8 Vantage instantly gaining praise from all quarters, while the 4.3-litre V8 engine sounded the part.

However, there was early press and owner criticism of the 385hp V8 motor's relative shortage of low-down torque. With peak power at 7,000rpm, this engine needs to be revved hard and owners mostly learn to live with it.

Aston did address this to some extent with the revised 4.7-litre V8 engine in 2008, which is still in use today, with 426hp. A Sports Pack was also then offered for the 4.3-litre cars based on the N400 race model that improved power to 405hp, or 400bhp in 'old money' which gives the N400 its name.

N400 version took 4.3 to a welcome 405hp
N400 version took 4.3 to a welcome 405hp
For the start of 2011, Aston introduced the V8 Vantage S, which continues to this day, that comes with 436hp and 347lb ft of torque where the original 4.3 offers 302lb ft. The S sees off 0-62mph in 4.0 seconds flat, compared to the normal 4.7's 4.7 seconds and 4.9 seconds for the 383hp 4.3.

A convertible Roadster joined the V8 Vantage ranks in the spring of 2007, while Aston overhauled the range in February 2012 to give the standard models the same bodykit as the S. This revision saw the six-speed SportShift automated manual gearbox replaced with a seven-speed SportShift II transmission. There have also been Prodrive-tuned versions of the V8 Vantage, the N24 race car, GT2 and GT4 racing models, and even a Rally GT in 2006.

For this guide, we'll stick with the roadgoing V8 models and leave the V12s for another guide. At the moment, prices of the V8 Vantage start at around £27,000 for a high mileage early 4.3 coupe, but expect to pay from £30,000 for cars with more average miles and full Aston service histories. Roadsters cost from around £39,000, while the V8 S start in the low £70s.


PHer's view:
"I have had the Vantage for over seven years now and it has been an amazing car. Before the Vantage I used to change my car every two years but now I truly cannot find anything to replace it with. There have been lots of comments that it is 'not fast enough' but this is from people who don't know how to drive it. If you like to be lazy and not rev a car hard and change gear regularly then yes it can feel not a torquey as the competition, but if you rev it hard then it really does fly."
James Sadler


Buying guide contents:
Introduction

Powertrain
Rolling Chassis
Body
Interior
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