The Aston Martin Vantage review: A fusion of love, joy and metal

The 2024 Aston Martin Vantage is the two seater sports car of your dreams. Or it is, if you're Toby Keel.

If you’re lucky, or good, or a little bit of both, there many be a time in your life when you get to ask yourself an unusual question. To wit: do I need a car that can do 202 miles per hour?

Now, we both know the real answer to this: of course you don’t. But you don’t need it in the same way that you don’t need a hand-made Swiss watch, a holiday home in Salcombe, a bottle of 25-year-old Macallan or a Savile Row suit. You don’t need any of this stuff — but my, my, how lovely to have it.

These are decisions of the heart, not of the head. And in that regard, the new Aston Martin Vantage is the fusion of love, joy and metal you’ve been waiting for. It’s ludicrously, almost wantonly impractical: a petite, two-seater sports car with a vast engine (four-litre, V8 and twin-turbo, since you’re asking) shoehorned beneath the bonnet. Got a dog? That’s fine, so long as it’s a miniature dachshund. Just remember to buy little Fido some headphones, because the outrageous Bowers & Wilkins sound system could probably be used to replace the speakers at Proms in the Park.

Inside there is a touchscreen, but (thankfully) also plentiful of real, physical switches.

As for its looks… well, clearly you’ve admired the pictures above before reading down this far, but as good as it looks on the page it looks better still in real life. Watching the curves of this car swoop around corners is akin to being beguiled by the swish of a dress on a Milan catwalk.

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It feels good, too: jump behind the wheel and you’re snuggled into a sea of leather, carbon fibre and shiny metal. And ‘snuggled’ really is the word, for in a world of hefty SUVs, 4x4s and GTs, settling in to the Vantage feels more like lowering yourself into a cockpit than taking a seat. ‘Engineered for real drivers,’ is Aston’s tag line with the new Vantage, and they have really taken it seriously.

This is a car that feels ready to launch; a car made to be driven. It’s a car for those who love the noise the V8 engine makes when you punch the starter button. A car for those who love the burble and pop from the exhaust when you shift down. A car with perfect 50-50 weight distribution, intended to to fire you round corners — whether on a track day or a twisting B-road — in a manner that feels more like riding a rollercoaster than being behind the wheel.

Is it fast? Yes, absolutely, but that isn’t the be all and end all here. As well as hitting 202mph, the Vantage does 0-60mph in 3.4 seconds, which is roughly half a second slower than a Porsche 911 GT3, and only 0.1 quicker than the ‘performance’ variant of the Tesla Model Y. But numbers really don’t matter with a car that just feels so much fun to drive, and has the fabulous Aston trick (one decidedly not shared by the Porsche) of being beautifully behaved and a joy to be inside even when you’re just pottering down to Waitrose.

At the launch event, the star colour was — appropriately, given that it was held in Seville — orange.

All of this is by design. Aston Martin has had a revolving door of owners, shareholders and CEOs in the last couple of decades, but for the last few it’s been under the chairmanship of Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll whose aim has been ambitious. At the launch event the company explained that with the new DB12, new Vantage and new DBX 707, they are trying to break free from Porsches and Maseratis at the top-end of the mid market and start to marry the luxury of a Rolls-Royce with the performance of a Ferrari. They’re not claiming to have outdone either (at least not yet), but then again they’re ‘only’ charging £165,000 for a Vantage. You’ll need twice that budget just to get past the front gates at Goodwood or Maranello.

So there you have it. The new Vantage is a car which marries exquisitely sinuous curves, an interior that’s all plush extravagance and so much power that it makes your eyes go funny when you put your foot down. Plus, it’s an Aston Martin, a brand which — most likely thanks to James Bond — seems immune to the politics of envy. Pedestrians will smile and cheer as you speed past, and fellow motorists will let you out at junctions just so that they can drive along behind your car’s delicious lines and iconic logo for a few minutes. And frankly, who can blame them?

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On the road: The 2024 Aston Martin Vantage

  • Price: From £165,000 (expect to pay closer to £200,000 with options added)
  • Top speed: 202 mph
  • 0-60mph: 3.4 seconds
  • Power: 655 BHP
  • Fuel economy: 23.3 mpg (combined)
  • CO2: 274 g/km
  • Power rating of that outrageous sound system we mentioned: 1,170W