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RE: Aston V8 Vantage N430: Review

RE: Aston V8 Vantage N430: Review

Tuesday 24th June 2014

Aston V8 Vantage N430: Review

Potentially the manual Aston's last hurrah, the N430 shows there's still a lot to love about the V8 Vantage



There's a small disclaimer to sign before driving the Aston V8 N430. It states that every review must not mention the Jaguar F-Type coupe until the last paragraph. And only once.

Don't forget the other V8 Brit coupe!
Don't forget the other V8 Brit coupe!
Alright, that's not strictly true but there's no escaping the V8 R is the (very pretty) elephant in the room when evaluating the latest iteration of V8 Vantage. The Jaguar is £85K against the Aston's £90K and boasts another 100hp, a more appealing interior and arguably an even greater 'want one' factor.

Does that render the Aston an inferior choice? Absolutely, unequivocally not.

Creaky leather
But there are compromises. It loses on showroom factor, for sure. In fact amongst a group of rivals including the 991 the Aston is on shaky ground. The V8's shape is still fabulously pretty, with the N430's liveries and CC100-inspired forged alloys complementing it well. But the interior is a real weak point now. The Alcantara wheel is gorgeous but the dash is outdated, complicated and fussy. Cars in this class could well be purchased as everyday sports cars and V8's cabin simply isn't good enough.

V8 remains terrific to drive hard
V8 remains terrific to drive hard
However, if a £90K coupe is being purchased as a driver's car, the N430 proffers a compelling case. This car is the first time the 436hp Vantage S V8 has been offered with a manual gearbox, theoretically creating the most drive focused V8 derivative yet.

Simple pleasures
Furthermore, if the interior hasn't managed to keep pace with a decade of development, the dynamics most definitely have. Yes, the N430 has a Sport mode to sharpen throttle response but it's fundamentally an uncomplicated car. Steering modes don't have to be configured and there are no programmable buttons on the wheel; it's simply a finely honed and fantastically engaging V8 RWD sports car. And if that doesn't appeal you're on the wrong website.

The steering grabs the attention first. With ePAS becoming the norm, to experience a well engineered hydraulic power steering system is a joy. The response isn't lightning fast but it's consistent and predictable, giving absolute confidence in what the front tyres are doing. And you can feel the road surface changes and variations in grip through the wheel, the communication again bolstering trust and confidence. It's superb.

Aston calls it lipstick so you can too
Aston calls it lipstick so you can too
Being significantly down on both power and torque means the N430 will never accelerate as ferociously as the F-Type. But again it counters with a more traditional yet equally appealing alternative; revs. The Aston's power and torque peaks are at 7,300 and 5,000rpm respectively (the Jaguar's peak torque is available from 2,500rpm) meaning it doesn't have the instantaneous response of the supercharged car. But since when was having to rev out a V8 deemed arduous labour?

Aural pleasure
Torque is good if not abundant at low revs but that only ensures the final 3,000rpm from 4,500 onwards feels even more special. The N430 may lack the searing top end of a 991 but the V8 is plentiful eager, responsive and exciting enough in its upper reaches. The V8 snarl remains captivating too, particularly on heel and toe down changes.

We weren't lucky enough to try it here!
We weren't lucky enough to try it here!
A point which leads very nicely to that manual gearbox. Despite an awkwardly sited lever and some occasionally notchy changes, the N430 driving experience is better for having a stick. The throw is short but quite heavy; shifts need to be deliberate and positive rather than lightly snicked across the gate.

But that matches the car's slightly old school approach that a fairly stiff clutch only augments further. It requires a little bit of work to acclimatise but that only serves to make the pleasure from changing gear well even greater. The V8 looks likely to be the last manual Aston too, a sad if not entirely unexpected situation.

Combining that powertrain and steering with a chassis that is beautifully damped and infinitely exploitable makes for a stellar sports car. The N430 would certainly not disgrace itself in a road test against the F-Type, 911 or R8.

Is that enough? Maybe. The V8 N430 is excellent to drive but then so are many of its rivals. The R8 and 911 have manual options as well. There's no doubt the Vantage is right up there dynamically and remains hugely charismatic, with a badge of enviable image. If that's still enough for you in the face of stiff competition from much fresher rivals then the N430 won't disappoint.


ASTON MARTIN V8 VANTAGE N430
Engine:
4,735cc V8
Transmission: 6-speed manual, RWD, limited-slip differential (7-speed Sportshift optional)
Power (hp): 436@7,300rpm
Torque (lb ft): 361@5,000rpm
0-62mph: 4.5 seconds
Top speed: 190mph
Kerbweight: 1,685kg (EU weight with 75kg driver)
MPG: 20.5 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 321g/km
Price: £89,995 (as tested OTR price £98,130 including £995 for Aston Martin 700W premium audio, £195 for auto dimming rear view mirror, £1,795 for sat-nav, £495 for heated front seats, £995 for front parking sensors, £995 for reversing camera, £295 for alarm upgrade, £495 for Bluetooth, £295 for cruise control (!) and £495 for memory seats).







Author
Discussion

TNH

Original Poster:

465 posts

72 months

Tuesday 24th June 2014
quotequote all
Still absolutely love these. Not sure I could pick one over the new F Type though...

toppstuff

11,411 posts

172 months

Tuesday 24th June 2014
quotequote all
I know it is an old car. I guess it is easy to be rather too familiar with seeing them, so it becomes easier to reject it.

But that really is a lovely thing. And a manual box, too.

If I had a spare 100k, this would be very tempting. So much more enjoyable than Pork. Having a manual gives it a reason to exist rather than have the Jaguar.

So, when you look at it that way, it really does not have any competition.

I'd love one in green with yellow lipstick, please. smile

Wills2

13,901 posts

100 months

Tuesday 24th June 2014
quotequote all
I couldn't walk past that Aston for a Jag, ever.


Rawwr

18,484 posts

159 months

Tuesday 24th June 2014
quotequote all
I can't be the only person who thinks that looks like an absolute hog, surely?

toppstuff

11,411 posts

172 months

Tuesday 24th June 2014
quotequote all
Rawwr said:
I can't be the only person who thinks that looks like an absolute hog, surely?
As far as I am concerned, yes. It is lovely.

It is a great homage to Astons of old:


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Imafreeman

97 posts

149 months

Tuesday 24th June 2014
quotequote all
Isn't it about time they came up with something new?

alpha channel

948 posts

87 months

Tuesday 24th June 2014
quotequote all
As pretty as the Jag is, as good as the interior of the Jag is and as fast as the Jag is I'd still have one of these. The power steering alone would sell me it (can't stand ePAS and everything that goes with it) a manual gearbox would only enforce that desire (though I'm not overly keen on the coloured stickers).

jimmy156

3,077 posts

112 months

Tuesday 24th June 2014
quotequote all
I always think that the best looking Aston vantage of any variety is an early, unadulterated V8 coupe.


pvj

69 posts

137 months

Tuesday 24th June 2014
quotequote all
Please let this not be the last manual Aston. Car manufacturers need to remember how we use our cars. Lap times are irrelevant on the public road - the interaction between man and machine and how a car makes us feel is so important. And if I'm in a small percentage of people that still want a manual, then charge me more for the privilege if you have to, but please don't deny me the choice

SFO

4,538 posts

108 months

Tuesday 24th June 2014
quotequote all
can the graphics pack be deleted?

FWDRacer

3,486 posts

149 months

Tuesday 24th June 2014
quotequote all
Sorry - I look at this and think, Rover BRM Anyone? hehe

Henry Fiddleton

1,538 posts

102 months

Tuesday 24th June 2014
quotequote all
It looks like its wearing lip stick!

krisdelta

3,593 posts

126 months

Tuesday 24th June 2014
quotequote all
It really is time for a complete overhaul, I love my V8V but it's now an 11 y/o design, albeit a beautiful one.

AM needs to bring in new buyers, for which they need a competitive product with uprated powertrains and a better auto option along the lines of PDK - they should definitely not drop a manual option however!

The interior of the Vanquish II looks beautiful and a nice evolution on the V8, I'd be happy to see that developed further.

MyCC

337 posts

82 months

Tuesday 24th June 2014
quotequote all
I would be more interested to learn how the predicted residuals of these stack up against the F-Type R Coupe, R8, 991.

A dated car yes, but a very special one. For this money though i'd rather take the even more special albeit used V12 version.

Regards,

MyCC.

Gixer

4,445 posts

173 months

Tuesday 24th June 2014
quotequote all
Still a very pretty car. Part of me still wishes I bought one instead of the Z06 but, as pretty as it is, that shape has now been around a while and here in the Home Counties is pretty common. You have to mention the F Type. It's new, it's a fantastic shape, especially in vert form. The game has moved on. As nice as the Vantage is, it is starting to show its age

Gixer

4,445 posts

173 months

Tuesday 24th June 2014
quotequote all
jimmy156 said:
I always think that the best looking Aston vantage of any variety is an early, unadulterated V8 coupe.

Agree

Vee12V

713 posts

85 months

Tuesday 24th June 2014
quotequote all
Nope, neither the V8 Aston or the Jag, when you can have a V12 Vantage with practically no miles for 70k

http://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/a...

GranCab

1,024 posts

71 months

Tuesday 24th June 2014
quotequote all
Vee12V said:
Nope, neither the V8 Aston or the Jag, when you can have a V12 Vantage with practically no miles for 70k

http://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/a...
Plus V.A.T. @ 20% = £84K smile

Max_Torque

11,872 posts

142 months

Tuesday 24th June 2014
quotequote all
New:New vs the F type might leave the V8v feeling a bit sorry for itself, but for £40k s/h, with say £5k for a few subtle upgrades, well, now you're talking ;-)

GranCab

1,024 posts

71 months

Tuesday 24th June 2014
quotequote all
Circa £80K will also buy you a brand new GranTurismo if you like N/A 4.7 V8s ( but don't mind a ZF Auto ... )