RE: Aston Martin V8 Vantage GMR Supercharged

RE: Aston Martin V8 Vantage GMR Supercharged

Wednesday 25th May 2016

Aston Martin V8 Vantage GMR Supercharged

Want V12 Vantage pace in the better balanced V8 Vantage? GMR's supercharger kit is here to help



Safe to say we're rather happy about the return of the manual gearbox to the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S. What, you might wonder, could possibly be better than an Aston Martin Vantage with a manual gearbox and a 573hp normally-aspirated V12 engine?

Here's an idea. An Aston Martin Vantage with a manual gearbox and a 573hp supercharged V8 engine, for as little as a third of the £140,000 a new V12 would cost you all-in. The appeal is obvious. For all its considerable charisma the V12 puts around 80kg extra over the nose of the Vantage, the V8 having an all-round better balance as a result. And while the V12 sounds fabulous, as you'll see from the short video clip below, the V8 isn't wanting for aural drama. It's not like it looks outdated either; the blue supercharged car here is 10 years older than the V12 it's parked alongside. If pose value matters it's a private plate and a detailing session away from being all-but indistinguishable to everyone.

This supercharger package from Taunton based GMR puts the 4.3-litre V8 Vantage on more or less equal terms power and torque-wise with the V12 for a cost of £18,300 fitted. A fair chunk of money. But with potential donor cars now starting at less than £30K (and a full PH Buying Guide here to help you choose one), the man maths equation is a little easier to make. Certainly if you're looking for something British, raucous and V8 powered while you wait for TVR to finally pull the covers off its new car, this could be just the thing...

Same power, very different ways of achieving it
Same power, very different ways of achieving it
Old dog, new tricks
The opportunity to compare the supercharged V8 alongside the manual V12 Vantage S was irresistible enough for GMR boss Graham Heane to drive up from Taunton to Buckinghamshire on 24 hours notice. A former aircraft engineer, he's been perfecting his supercharger installation over a number of years, the kit based around a Magnuson unit built to an Eaton design. To date he's racked up nearly 80,000 post-conversion miles in the 4.3-litre Vantage you see here, hopefully demonstrating the car can take the increase in power. So far he's fitted over a dozen kits; following a new tie-up with TVR specialists Topcats Racing he's hoping to reach a much bigger audience.

Back to back with the V12, the comparison is fascinating. The 6.0-litre engine is a classic, big capacity, normally-aspirated motor with power and charisma to spare. In a car as small as the Vantage it's amusingly unhinged, the uncorrupted throttle response and huge punch throughout the rev range its stand-out features compared with the mainly turbocharged rivals.

With or without a supercharger the 4.3-litre V8 can't match that instantaneous response to the throttle and there is a slight softness to the initial pedal movement compared with the V12. It doesn't last long.

Normally-aspirated Aston Martin engines usually require a few revs on the dial before giving their best, the standard 4.3 not delivering its peak torque of 295lb ft until showing 5,000rpm. According to GMR's figures the supercharged engine's peak 445lb ft is there from 3,500rpm and remains in play all the way to the redline, at which point it's delivering 573hp. This from the stock 385hp. Stick it on a later 4.7 and you'll be looking at more like 600hp and 500lb ft.

From 385hp to 573hp...
From 385hp to 573hp...
Cue the water works
And on the road the supercharged car just feels like it has a much bigger engine, not one fed by forced induction. There is some interesting technology at play here too, Graham's self-designed 'Geyser' water injection system used in place of a conventional intercooler he says would be a more intrusive and less efficient installation. This works in a similar way to the system in the BMW M4 GTS we drove recently, water injected at 100psi into the intake manifold increasing the charge density and lowering the mixture temperature. This, of course, means more power and improved knock resistance without having to lower the compression ratio from the stock 11.3:1. There's a thorough - and convincing - explanation of the science on GMR's homepage if you're interested in the motivation behind it. And, like the BMW, the water reservoir should only need topping up every few tankfuls of petrol, depending on use, with a failsafe that bypasses the supercharger if it runs dry. Tap water is fine too, a 1:10 mix with conventional methylated spirits enough to prevent icing. Enough theory for now though; this is a chance to prove the concept.

Extracting more power isn't that hard; successfully calibrating an aftermarket forced induction kit to feel predictable, balanced and natural throughout the rev range is where the work really goes. And it shows.

One of the more impressive demonstrations is when Graham forces me to leave the car in sixth and pick up from about 40mph. It doesn't bog down, the V8 picking up almost immediately and going from a low-rev grumble, picking up at about 3,000rpm into the real meat of that huge mid-range and then offering the sense something extremely exciting (and naughty) lies beyond. Certainly from the lower gears it's evident the engine has lost none of its appetite for revs and will happily play both sides of the coin, be that relaxed, torquey hauler or howling, redline-chasing hooligan.

Weight advantage noticeable in corners
Weight advantage noticeable in corners
Fast with a capital F
Suffice it to say, this is a fast, fast car. Rain stopped play before we could do any meaningful comparisons with the V12, Graham's car also on its winter wheels given he justifiably didn't fancy driving up from Somerset in pouring rain on track rubber. But in any gear and at any revs the GMR car - much like the V12 - pulls with the kind of vigour that'll have you giggling out loud. Assuming you'd hear yourself over a noise raucous enough to make the factory V12 sound a little meek. It is both explosively, thrillingly fast and yet tractable and refined too. As a package it feels keener and more naturally balanced on a twisty road too, working with the twists and turns rather than simply beating them into submission - where the V12's USP is its formidable point-and-squirt firepower the V8 feels more about flow. Albeit at a significantly faster rate than before.

It's worth pointing out that 10 years of development are evident in the newer car's better interior, faster 15:1 steering rack (introduced on the V8 S) and improved three-mode damping. Given the increase in performance anyone thinking of adding a GMR kit to an old Vantage is advised to also consider upgrading/refreshing springs, dampers, bushings and other chassis components accordingly. At heart the Vantage seems well able to cope with the increase in power though, the vast majority of the bits on Graham's Sports Pack car remaining as standard. This is, after all, a fundamentally simple, balanced car with a proven manual transmission, mechanical limited-slip differential and favourable weight distribution.

Both individual and both pretty fabulous
Both individual and both pretty fabulous
How much value do you place on more power and the idea of an artfully hot-rodded Aston Martin? £20,000 perhaps? It's an awful lot of money to be sinking into a car and, for some, the idea of aftermarket tuning for an Aston Martin will simply appear a little uncouth. Everyone will have their own stance on such things and a factory V12 S remains a very different proposition from an uprated old one. But they share a similar raw spirit, not to mention comparable performance. Proving one thing for sure: an Aston Martin Vantage is a wonderful thing. A faster, noisier Aston Martin Vantage even more wonderful, however that conclusion is reached.


ASTON MARTIN V8 VANTAGE 4.3 GMR SUPERCHARGED
Engine:
4,280cc supercharged V8
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 573 (385@7,000/405hp with Sports Pack upgrade)
Torque (lb ft): 445@3,500rpm (295@5,000/310lb ft with Sports Pack upgrade)
0-62mph: 3.6sec* (original car 5.0sec)
Top speed: 197mph* (original car 174mph)
Weight: c. 1,630kg
MPG: 16.4mpg (Pre-conversion official figure, NEDC combined)
CO2: 406g/km (Pre-conversion official figure)
Price: c. £30,000 upwards, before conversion; GMR supercharger kit £18,300 inc. VAT and fitting
Figures in brackets for factory standard V8 Vantage 4.3
*GMR claimed figures
(Stats: Carfolio)

Want to see the GMR Vantage for yourself? Topcats Racing is holding an open day on June 25 at its base, located between Aylesbury and Bicester. The car featured here will be there and available for test drives while Nitron will also be present and showing off its dedicated Vantage suspension kits. Windscreen passes are required to access the Westcott Venture Park site - contact Topcats for more information.

 

Watch the video here
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

JMF894

Original Poster:

2,636 posts

90 months

Tuesday 24th May 2016
quotequote all
Was in an original 385 Vantage a few years ago and tbh even I thought it needed a bit more go given the badge.

This should sort it nicely!

300bhp/ton

35,067 posts

125 months

Tuesday 24th May 2016
quotequote all
Wow a £5000 (tops) supercharger kit for £18k.


I like the end result, but Aston owners don't have pay for the badge....

Valgar

846 posts

70 months

Tuesday 24th May 2016
quotequote all
£18k seems like a lot...

Tuvra

7,689 posts

160 months

Tuesday 24th May 2016
quotequote all
Can't help but think a Jaguar XK-RS makes way more sense than this confused

smilo996

1,441 posts

105 months

Tuesday 24th May 2016
quotequote all
Well a V12 S will cost over 100K
An original V12 Vantage is about 90K.
An original and larger V12 DB9 from 2003-4 is 35K but you can pick up a V8 Vantage for the same price or one a few years old for 60K. Add all the goodies and it is still much cheaper than all the other options.

You also get Supercharger whine, better handling and lower weight than the V12.

Given that an Audi RS4 B7 Supercharger kit is 22K then this seems reasonable.

Good idea to extend the interest in older Aston's as the new ones come on stream.
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unpc

2,021 posts

148 months

Tuesday 24th May 2016
quotequote all
I do like the idea of this but the price makes it unviable I suspect. I think £12k would have found a much bigger audience.

Richair

1,014 posts

132 months

Tuesday 24th May 2016
quotequote all
Given the development costs and limited market £18k doesn't seen too unreasonable for a car of this league... But you'll never see it back, well unless Vantages suddenly rocket up (unlikely). Whilst I can think of better ways to spend £50k on a car, the idea (and that noise!!!) does seem appealing. Money to burn and all that.

300bhp/ton

35,067 posts

125 months

Tuesday 24th May 2016
quotequote all
smilo996 said:
Given that an Audi RS4 B7 Supercharger kit is 22K then this seems reasonable.
That would seem an unjustifiably high price.


Re: the Aston, as it's an AJV8, then I'm guessing supercharging one should be fairly easy using bits than Jaguar/Land Rover use. Even if you went the whole hog and used a 5.0 litre block.

I admit, I don't know if this kit is just the blower, or if it includes new pistons and other internal engine items. If the latter, then maybe the price can be justified.


If it's just the blower, then it does seem a lot, considering you can buy entire blower kits for other vehicles from $5000-7000

https://www.procharger.com/
http://kennebell.net/
https://whipplesuperchargers.com/

k-ink

9,070 posts

114 months

Tuesday 24th May 2016
quotequote all
The lower weight makes the V8 seem like the better option. The V8 also sounds amazing.

ManOpener

4,016 posts

104 months

Tuesday 24th May 2016
quotequote all
300bhp/ton said:
Re: the Aston, as it's an AJV8, then I'm guessing supercharging one should be fairly easy using bits than Jaguar/Land Rover use.
Probably not, as (if Wikipedia is to believed) pretty much no short engine component of the AJV8 is actually shared between the Aston and Jaguar engines:

The cylinder block, cylinder heads, crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons, camshafts, inlet and exhaust manifolds, lubrication system and engine management are all unique to the Aston Martin version

_Neal_

1,789 posts

154 months

Tuesday 24th May 2016
quotequote all
Doesn't seem to have changed much since this - 5 years ago.

Not trying to pick holes, sure it's a great car and is clearly now a proven package that's been years in development - just googling around to see if any of the engine internals were changed. Looks like probably not.

I'm borrowing a friend's V8 Vantage (4.3) at the moment and was only thinking after a drive last night how much better it would be with a load of mid range V8 stomp. Price also includes the posh water injection, of course, but I agree it feels a bit much.

ETA - Just reading a bit more into it, it's quite a different supercharger installation than a standard V8 off the shelf kit might look - supercharger at the back of the engine, so keeps the standard induction system and the engine bay neat.

Edited by _Neal_ on Tuesday 24th May 16:39

foxhounduk

194 posts

115 months

Tuesday 24th May 2016
quotequote all
£30k Aston and then £18k on top? Are you kidding me?

Right; I'd rather buy a £30k Aston.
Then a Honda S2000 AP1 for £4000, A Subaru Impreza for £3000, a Nissan Patrol for £5000, a BMW E65 735i for £4000 and why not get a Honda Del Sol with the transtop for £2000 cus you can. £18,000 all in, Bob's your uncle. A fleet of cars for every single need.

Someone put me on that £100k garage. I'll show ya where to spend your money!

AMGJocky

1,402 posts

51 months

Tuesday 24th May 2016
quotequote all
Probably lots of fun, but never in a trillion years with my money.

Come resale it'll be worth sweet f all and that's even if you can sell it. Money down the khazi

300bhp/ton

35,067 posts

125 months

Tuesday 24th May 2016
quotequote all
ManOpener said:
300bhp/ton said:
Re: the Aston, as it's an AJV8, then I'm guessing supercharging one should be fairly easy using bits than Jaguar/Land Rover use.
Probably not, as (if Wikipedia is to believed) pretty much no short engine component of the AJV8 is actually shared between the Aston and Jaguar engines:

The cylinder block, cylinder heads, crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons, camshafts, inlet and exhaust manifolds, lubrication system and engine management are all unique to the Aston Martin version
I'm willing to bet almost all the parts are however interchangeable. wink

And lets face it, claims of no shared parts can often obscure the truth or least not paint the full picture.

e.g.

The items might just be of different spec. But the same item. Such as cam shaft lift, or valve sizes or ported heads.

Ken Figenus

3,982 posts

52 months

Tuesday 24th May 2016
quotequote all
I'm sure its fun and looks to be well researched but £18k on a mod with the engine remaining structurally the same (I believe) eek? Could be painful at resale time as many of us that have thrown a few quid away on mods will testify!

Nanook

33,112 posts

122 months

Tuesday 24th May 2016
quotequote all
300bhp/ton said:
I'm willing to bet almost all the parts are however interchangeable. wink

And lets face it, claims of no shared parts can often obscure the truth or least not paint the full picture.

e.g.

The items might just be of different spec. But the same item. Such as cam shaft lift, or valve sizes or ported heads.
What?

How are valves that are a different size just interchangeable?

If the cam lift is different, you can't just swap them over and expect the car to fuel right.

SirSquidalot

3,025 posts

100 months

Tuesday 24th May 2016
quotequote all
Looks fantastic to me, and pretty good VFM when you take into account the performance on offer.

British Beef

1,127 posts

100 months

Tuesday 24th May 2016
quotequote all
Are the internals of the standard engine rated to take this?

Some nicely machined bits of metal for the money, but that is a big chunk of money, plus the additional spending to upgrade the rest of the car suspension and brakes!

Throwing a bit more money at a used V8 + supercharger kit get a used V12, which will hold its value.

A Nitrous Oxide kit can be had for around 10% the cost of this and deliver over 100hp gains, as and when needed, which lets be honest is maybe 1% of the time.

300bhp/ton

35,067 posts

125 months

Tuesday 24th May 2016
quotequote all
Nanook said:
What?

How are valves that are a different size just interchangeable?

If the cam lift is different, you can't just swap them over and expect the car to fuel right.
You can retune a car.

I'm sure you know what I'm getting at here. Essentially an AJV8 is an AJV8. And by and large lots of bits will often fit from one variant to the other. Just like you can fit a 4.6 RV8 intake manifold to a 3.9 or vice versa.

What the other posters was implying (or at least, what people have implied in other threads about the 4.3 AJ), is that is it 100% bespoke to Aston and share nothing in common what so ever and cannot be used with any Jaguar parts.

I don't believe this. And I suspect, that the supercharger assembly from an XKR is highly likely to fit right on a 4.3 Aston AJ. It might not fit in the engine bay and the accessories might be different. But that is a different point. And I don't know enough specifics to say either way.

I would imagine with a little thought and planning, it would be possible to take an entire 5.0 AJV8 with supercharger and transplant it in the Aston as a mostly bolt in affair. Just the same as you could take a Rover 4.6 from a Range Rover and transplant it into a Chimera 400 or Wedge 350i.

Nanook

33,112 posts

122 months

Tuesday 24th May 2016
quotequote all
300bhp/ton said:
You can retune a car.

I'm sure you know what I'm getting at here. Essentially an AJV8 is an AJV8. And by and large lots of bits will often fit from one variant to the other. Just like you can fit a 4.6 RV8 intake manifold to a 3.9 or vice versa.

What the other posters was implying (or at least, what people have implied in other threads about the 4.3 AJ), is that is it 100% bespoke to Aston and share nothing in common what so ever and cannot be used with any Jaguar parts.

I don't believe this. And I suspect, that the supercharger assembly from an XKR is highly likely to fit right on a 4.3 Aston AJ. It might not fit in the engine bay and the accessories might be different. But that is a different point. And I don't know enough specifics to say either way.

I would imagine with a little thought and planning, it would be possible to take an entire 5.0 AJV8 with supercharger and transplant it in the Aston as a mostly bolt in affair. Just the same as you could take a Rover 4.6 from a Range Rover and transplant it into a Chimera 400 or Wedge 350i.
I see what you're getting at I suppose, but you can't retune a car to take bigger valves. They either fit, or they don't. And re-machining the head to take them doesn't really fall under 'interchangeable' in my book, so it seemed like an odd example to use.