Aston Martin V8 Vantage: V8s are great!

Despite a collective two decades on sale, the attention attracted by a Maserati GranTurismo and an Aston V8 Vantage is remarkable. They remain two gorgeous cars, as reflected by the waves, thumbs-up and phone pics.

Still got it!
Still got it!
And like the Maserati, the Aston remains fantastic to drive. We're fortunate with this car to have a V8 Vantage S with a manual gearbox, adding another traditional dimension to a traditional recipe. It's none the worse for it either, even if it's far from the best manual around. By allowing you to blip your own downshifts, to snag the limiter if you want and choosing just the ratio you want at whatever time, the manual is worth having.

While familiar, the 4.7-litre V8 here is fantastic. It feels torquier than the Maserati's, pulling harder from lower revs but without sacrificing much top end either. The noise is great, a rich and angry bellow that builds and builds to a glorious crescendo somewhere beyond 7,000rpm. Then it's you that controls the gearshift, with left foot and left hand, selecting that next ratio and going all over again. Sometimes you'll change up just to come back down, the flare of revs with a well timed gearchange just glorious.

The Aston is also a wonderful reminder of how rewarding a well set-up, front-engined, rear-drive sports car can be. It's accurate, involving and tremendous fun, again with performance that feels just so. A long travel throttle helps you meter it out accurately and, as cars get bigger, the V8 Vantage feels perfectly proportioned. While other sports cars may now offer a better rounded package than the smallest Aston, it's still a joy to drive fast or slow - and that V8 engine contributes a huge amount.

 4,735cc V8
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive, limited-slip differential
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

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