Every time I test a vehicle, I challenge myself to pair a song with it as if I’m a sommelier for audio and car fanatics. This week’s drive was a 2021 Aston Martin Vantage and my first instinct is to say listen to the dang V8 because that’s the music all by itself. Did you know that Rick Ross cut a single called “Aston Martin Music” with Chrisette Michele and a young Drake? Of course you did. James Bond coupe, pop clutch one-hundred and that’s about all I can quote from a song that is definitely NSFW.
I road-tested this car for seven full days. What do you want to know about it?
It feels like having a torrid love affair with 007 when driving this car; I’d be Halle Berry’s Jinx character in Die Another Day if I could. Heads turned as I drove by even in Austin, where it’s fairly common to see Bentleys, Ferraris, and Mercedes-Benz SUVs. As I rolled past a local coffee shop, two college kids pointed and surreptitiously snapped photos of the car from their outdoor table. I parked nearby, then approached them and said, “Do you want to sit in it? C’mon.” They climbed in, posed for selfies, and were grinning widely by the time we parted ways 15 minutes later.
As tested, this 2021 Aston Martin Vantage is $191,586, including the Q Exclusive paint for a jaw-dropping $10,600. Other goodies like an umbrella ($300), premium audio ($2,300), black brake calipers ($1,600), and $4,600 20-inch lightweight gloss black diamond-turned wheels tick up the price from the starting number of $147,000.
Of the seven days in my possession, I drove it as much as I could (and a solid 90 percent of that was with the top peeled back). This is what I learned:
— Perched under the hood is a 503-hp 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that accelerates from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds. The placement of the motor is set closer to the cabin, giving it a balanced 50:50 weight distribution; that means traversing winding roads gives you the sensation of being grounded even as you fly.
— While the engine was machined by Mercedes-Benz, it’s tuned specifically for the Vantage with its own ECU, intake, and dry sump. The same powerplant is under the bonnet of the new DBX and generates 40 more horsepower in the SUV. Its roar is magnificent (but less so than the 5.2-liter V12 DBS Superleggera).
— I wondered why the infotainment system felt as though it were a generation behind. That’s because it is, in fact, from Mercedes-Benz’ previous generation. A new agreement between the two companies signed late last year means the Gaydon-based automaker can use Mercedes-Benz’ newest electrical systems in exchange for additional shares in Aston Martin.
— Top speed is 195 miles per hour and the super-wide tires are track-ready; it’s set up with 20-inch Pirelli P Zero 255/40/20 in the front and 20-inch Pirelli P Zero 295/35/20 in the rear.
I don’t get to drive Astons nearly often enough, and I’m happy to answer questions about it. What do you want to know about the Vantage?
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