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Aston Martin V8 Vantage coupe (2005-2017) - Engines, drive & performance

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage is fast in a straight line and agile in corners

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.7 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Aston Martin V8 Vantage petrol engine

A thunderous 4.7-litre V8 petrol engine producing 420bhp powers the Aston Martin V8 Vantage and it gets the car from 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds. Choosing the more hardcore Vantage S model gets you an extra 10bhp and the 0-62mph time drops to 4.6 seconds as a result.

There are certainly newer high-performance engines around, made by the likes of Porsche, Mercedes and Audi, but few of them sound as glorious as the Aston’s when pushed hard and we’ve no complaints about the performance on offer.

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The engine really likes to be worked hard to deliver all of its power, which makes it a lot of fun in one sense, but also a potentially serious risk to your driving license given the sort of speeds this entails. A racetrack is the only place you can really safely explore this car’s limits – it’s that fast.

While driving purists rightly celebrate the fact that you can still buy a sports car with a manual transmission in 2015, the Aston’s gearbox feels increasingly cumbersome in an era of near-perfect semi-automatics. Changing gear can feel like too much of an effort and the clutch can feel slow, especially when driving in traffic.

Aston's latest semi-automatic gearbox (called Sportshift II) represents a big improvement on the old one, feeling quicker and more responsive. Which gearbox you go for will depend on how much of a traditionalist you are, but at least now both options have their merits, whereas before the original Sportshift gearbox was so clunky that it made the manual the obvious choice.

Like most cars designed to offer exceptional cornering ability, the V8 Vantage’s ride can feel slightly firm and this is even more true of the Vantage S, which was designed for regular use on track. However, the upside is a car that inspires confidence and delivers plenty of feedback through the steering wheel.

With more power, as well as revised steering and suspension compared to the basic model, the V8 Vantage S is an even more aggressive, driver-focused car that’s an exhilarating companion on track or on smooth, twisty roads. It’s worth remembering that this comes at the cost of some refinement and comfort, so buyers looking for more of a blend of a cruiser and sports car will be better off sticking with the cheaper standard model.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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