While the DBS is being repeatedly abused on Bond film sets around the world and the V12 Vantage was recently confirmed for production, Aston Martin has set about updating its successful V8 Vantage with a host of technical and technological improvements, the first since the car was introduced for public sale in 2005. That sexy Aston silhouette remains untouched, fortunately, and there is enough extra performance to keep pace with the competition.

At the forefront of the update is an 11% boost in power to 420hp and a 15% rise in torque to 470Nm. The gains come from an additional 0.4L of displacement, bringing the V8 engine up to 4.7L. The new power and more responsive mid-range brings 0-60mph times down to just 4.7s and lets the Vantage carry on to a top speed of 180mph.

Because Aston is not a full-line car maker, and therefore doesn't have a minicar to help improve its overall emissions and fuel consumption figures, the company has put a lot of energy into improving the efficiency of its engines. Even with the significant rise in power and performance, the new engine also improves fuel economy and CO2 emissions by 13%, helped in part by the improved Sportshift transmission.

But the update isn't solely mechanical - there are significant upgrades inside the cabin as well. A revised center console houses new switchgear, and a new ECU replaces the previous model's 'V8 Vantage' key. The ECU is a construction of glass, stainless steel and polycarbonate that functions as a key, though it is not one by any classical definition. It was first used on the 2007 DBS. Other interior upgrades include a hard disk-based navigation system that features full iPod or MP3 player integration and improved graphics.

On the outside, a new range of 19-inch alloy wheels will let the aficionado spot the new model from a distance, though it will carry on with the V8 Vantage's winning looks otherwise.