Voluptuous, muscular styling, a throaty V8 and a badge on the bonnet to die for made the so-called ‘baby Aston’ a seriously covetable car when launched in 2006. And so it should have been: this was the car with which Aston Martin was going to take on the Porsche 911, after all.
The reality isn’t quite as perfect as the fantasy, of course: the V8 Vantage looks and sounds spectacular, but you have to work the 4.3-litre V8 quite hard to get the best from it (though that’s no great chore), it’s a rather thirsty beast, and the Vantage isn’t perhaps as robust in terms of build quality and reliability as you’d hope.
Aston sorted the relative lack of torque with a more muscular 4.7-litre V8 in 2008, and an even punchier S model in 2011. Even so, in today’s terms, a fast hot hatch is every bit as quick as even the S version of the V8 Vantage – you’d have to stretch to the V12 version to get real supercar pace. But when a car looks and sounds as good as this, how much does outright speed really matter?