Aston Martin has clout among the British sports performance pantheon and the 2020 Vantage is a spectacular entrant into the brand’s lineup. Truth is, this year’s Vantage is not all that different from its earlier incarnations — in that it’s a sum of parts from luxury automakers. The drivetrain is a modified version of the DB11 Grand Tourer, while the 4.0-liter V-8 engine is produced by Mercedes-AMG. It was redesigned two years ago, and the sleek body lines still carry a debonair appeal.
The changes might be subtle, but there are a few in the Vantage’s 2020 model. One is carbon-ceramic brakes, built to resist both extreme temps and fade. The brakes feature a re-done master cylinder and booster to lessen brake-pedal travel. The brakes are also lighter and shave off 53 pounds from the car’s weight. Also new to this year’s model are packages to personalize the interior and exterior.
Our tester’s Magnetic Silver paint was regal, and the sports car’s posture, with low and wide proportions, are breathtakingly fun to gander at. There’s an interesting juxtaposition in play between the sharp-looking grille, easy-flowing body surface and comically outsized 20-inch wheels (we got used to them quickly when accelerating and braking on the highway). Our Vantage featured a bunch of options that provided plenty of instant ‘ahhs’ — Brake Calipers in Black ($1,995); Exterior Black Collection ($4,000); Black Hood Mesh ($1,995); Smoked rear lamps ($750); 10-spoke Directional Gloss Black DT wheels ($3,190).
The interior of a luxury sports car isn’t going to cede to the exterior, and surely, Aston Martin offers upscale amenities on every inch. To cater to discerning tastes, there are several options for the buyer to peruse. This includes the Comfort Collection ($2,595), Trim Inlay – Satin Carbon Fibre Twill ($2,270), embroidered headrests ($750) and several different options for interior trim.
Our tester’s Pure Black Alcantar/Obsidian Black Leather provided comfort galore, courtesy of the snug-fitting sport seats.
The dashboard uses space efficiently and is extremely well-organized. Buttons are placed around the console in an oval arrangement, with access to the scroll wheel for audio volume and a Mercedes-culled touchpad and rotary infotainment control dial. The Vantage is equipped with an Aston Martin audio system ($2,270), Bluetooth integration and built-in navigation. Want better sonics? Add an upgraded audio system.
For the drive-thru enthusiasts and coffee drinkers, two cup holders are in place and can hold up to 20-ounce cups or bottles. Be warned, though: The turns will cause spillage. The Vantage has a little console between the front seats, but it’s literally just big enough for your iPhone and keys. The Vantage cabin doesn’t have much space for cargo, which is relegated to the rear hatchback. There’s room there for a medium-sized suitcase and a few duffel bags.
The 2020 Vantage has a tempered fuel consumption for a robust V-8, earning respectable EPA estimates of 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. These numbers are on par with the fuel efficiency of the Porsche 911 Carrera S and are just notch over the Mercedes-AMG GT coupe’s numbers.
Pop open the Vantage’s clamshell hood and marvel at the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 derived from the aforementioned Mercedes-AMG. This powerhouse pushes 503 horsepower and 505 lb.-ft. of torque, distributed to the rear wheels through a responsive 8-speed automatic transmission. The get-up time zero to 60 mph is 3.6 seconds and the Vantage tops out at 195 mph.
Aston Martin has pre-programmed a number of suspension and throttle modes for the Vantage, which are activated from the steering wheel controls. Predictably, they are Sport, Sport+, and Track, allowing the driver to activate his/her pursuit of speed and performance level.
There is also an option to customize settings, which optimize exhaust and transmission settings while balancing the effects of the quite stiff dampers. The tuning of the suspension is nimble enough for daily driving, but with even the smallest of rocks on the road, the car sits so low that there’s no escaping them. The carbon-ceramic brakes may be great for the track, but their responsiveness does take some adjustment on regular commutes.
The Aston Martin Vantage is a visceral drive, offering a steady whir of power on demand. It’s classy and accelerates organically. There’s less sport car rawness, compared to, say, the Porsche 911.
The price of the 2020 Aston Martin Vantage coupe starts at $152,995. Add up the trims and options and the total comes out to a hefty $181,881.
What we liked: The Vantage’s appeal can’t be underestimated, since its curves and styling are bold and refined. You know it’s a pricy, exclusive sports performance foreign coupe right away. Its V-8 engine drips the kind of power needed to get up and go stylishly and efficiently.
What we didn’t like: Any criticism of the Aston Martin Vantage is essentially nitpicking. However, we’d be remiss not to point out that the Vantage inherits much of it’s tech from Mercedes. And the tech is last-gen, at that. Not that it’s bad per se, but it’s not eye-popping innovation either.
The Vantage’s main disadvantage — at least to middle-class blokes — is its $149,995 starting price point. It’s not that it’s very expensive so much as that its price places it in a segment that has a rich rapper’s or hedge funds manager mansion garage’s worth of exotic rides.
From the Mercedes AMG GT R and Porsche 911 GT3 to Audi R8, there challengers are worthy. The lower-spec AMG GT and 911 are well-equipped, featuring exquisitely designed interiors with the latest technology. They’re also a visceral joy to whip around.
What the Vantage possesses that money can’t buy is an emotional pull. The coupe is hard to forget and very easy to get attached to — Aston Martin has that type of effect on a lot of its fans. Its unique sound and power are just as irresistible as its styling, and there’s nary an onlooker that it won’t excite. This sort of intrinsic appeal is a powerful intangible that persists long after you leave the driver’s seat — and crave to get back in it.
Photo Credit: Copyright 2020 Victor Mosqueda / Car Fanatics Blog