2016 V8 Vantage GT roadster
Base price: $119,500
Performance: 0 to 60 mph: 4.6 seconds, 190 mph max speed
The least expensive model in the Aston Martin lineup is the V8 Vantage GT. It starts at $105,000 for the coupe and $119,500 for the roadster. That puts it squarely in Porsche 911 territory, but again, the Porsche is the wiser buy.
That’s not to say that the V8 Vantage doesn’t have its charms. The 4.7-liter V-8 engine is powerful for its size, putting out 430 horsepower, or 91.5 horsepower per liter. Like the V-12, the V-8 makes great race car noises, too. Aston Martin really knows how to make an engine sing. Of course, the power isn’t nearly as willing as the V-12, but 0 to 60 mph still arrives in less than five seconds. In the near future, this engine will be replaced by the Mercedes-AMG twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8. That engine promises more power with equally seductive sounds.
The Vantage is the one car in the lineup that offers a manual transmission. It’s a smooth shifting six-speed that lets you tap into the power as you see fit. Unfortunately, the clutch had been abused in the car I drove and I was unable to make any fast starts. The other option is the aforementioned seven-speed automated manual, which I don’t recommend.
Both the V8 and V12 Vantage suffer from a bouncy ride. That’s because, as two-seaters, the rear wheels are much closer to the seating position and that makes the occupants feel every bump and rut that the rear tires encounter.
The body, however, if quite strong. There is just a hint of cowl shake, but even late in its product cycle the roadster body maintains excellent rigidity. That makes the handling almost as good as the coupe’s, and qualifies the V8 Vantage roadster as a true sports car.