There are still intangible things in this world and Aston Martin proves it by integrating a Roadster to its Vantage range. We had the chance to see, once again, how much fun this type of car can be.
Today, the sun is shining through the clouds, which is a good thing at this time of year. So I quickly folded the top, which will remain retracted for a good part of the day. Opening the top takes only 6.7 seconds and closing it takes barely a tenth of a second longer. Aston Martin attributes this record time to a particularly compact Z-shaped soft top mechanism.
Another advantage of the relatively simple soft top architecture is that it offers a decent amount of luggage space, even when the top is folded. But don’t expect any miracles: with 200 liters, the Vantage Roadster is not exactly the ideal vehicle for large suitcases. Aston Martin says that the trunk can accommodate a golf bag and a few accessories, without specifying which ones!
The Aston Martin with V8 AMG
Having closed the chapter on practicalities, let’s turn to the performance of this Vantage Roadster, a crucial parameter when it comes to an Aston Martin. Let’s talk about the numbers: with 510 hp and 685 Nm, the AMG-sourced 4.0-liter V8, supercharged by two turbos, has enough reserves to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds. After that, the tachometer needle (or the digital speedometer, since Aston Martin is also digitalizing) continues to climb at a rapid pace until it reaches the to climb at high speed to the v-max, limited to 305 km/h.
These values are hardly lower than those claimed by the Roadster is only a tenth of a second faster than the Coupé in the 0 to 100 km/h range and 5 km/h in top speed. This is due to the 60 kilograms more weight generated by the roof architecture and structural reinforcements to the body. As a result, the Vantage Roadster weighs at least 1,628 kilos on the scale, which is no small feat,especially when compared with the more contained mass of a certain Porsche 911…
THE PORSCHE 911 IN YOUR SIGHTS
Aston Martin itself still considers the Zuffenhausen flagship to be the number one rival to its Vantage, even though the new car has nothing in common with its predecessor. The new Aston Martin relies on the raw character of its mechanics, but also on the competence of its chassis. The aluminum platform of the Roadster is completely taken from the Coupé, which itself borrowed it from the DB11, but in a shortened version in order to emancipate itself from the GT-like behavior of the big Aston, and obtain something sportier, less “filtered”, more reactive. This choice is confirmed by the suspension settings, which use double wishbones in the front and a multi-link rear axle, as well as by the presence of the fantastic active self-locking rear axle. The latter uses a multi-plate clutch and comes from the specialist GKN, which is no mean feat since cars like the Lexus RC F or the BMW the Lexus RC F or the BMW M3 and BMW M4 also use it.
In practice, this gives us a chassis that, after having demonstrated its talent in the Vantage Coupe, does the same in the Roadster, which benefits from almost the same settings. The only differences are in the ESP and the active rear damping, both of which have been tweaked slightly to cope with the extra weight of the car and improve rear-end control.
EFFICIENT AND SPORTY
Whether you opt for the Coupe or the Roadster, the Vantage exhibits rewarding and sporty cornering dynamics. And Aston Martin is proud of this…That’s why the driving modes offered are called Sport, Sport+ and Track. There is no trace of a more accommodating GT setting, as in the DB11. The desired driving mode is selected using two buttons on the steering wheel. The one on the right acts on the engine settings, the one on the left on the damping settings, which makes it possible to maintain a more than satisfactory suspension comfort while letting the V8 express itself without restraint. Simple and efficient, as it should be… And the same comment applies to the other controls of this Vantage Roadster. For the interior design, Aston Martin went to Mercedes‘ reserves. Many of the elements come from older models of the star brand. That’s why it has to make do with a somewhat dated infotainment system and an impressive array of buttons on the center console. And there are only two levers on the steering column, to the left of the steering wheel. We have nothing to complain about, on the contrary. The classic and the tried and tested are often better than any kind of innovation! In this case, it’s all easy and intuitive to operate, without compromising on comfort.
The simplicity of the controls allows the driver to keep both hands on the wheel most of the time and do what any driver should always do: concentrate on driving!
Not that the Vantage Roadster is a difficult car to handle – it’s quite the opposite – but the fact is that with the active rear end, which enhances handling and stability, you can quickly feel comfortable behind the wheel of this Vantage and take it around corners without thinking about it too much. The intelligent torque split between the rear wheels is a great asset in this exercise. The instructions are simple: accelerate early on the exit of a corner to activate the function, don’t change the position of your right foot to let the mechanics do their work and then let the V8 roar!
LEATHER OR NOTHING
This exclusivity is also found inside. We are not referring to the on-board electronics, but rather to the interior trim. Leather is omnipresent and a glass cover enhances the presentation of the automatic transmission buttons, while the door handles and air conditioning controls are made of genuine metal. In terms of ergonomics, this Aston can be improved. For example, we wonder why the side windows don’t pop up by themselves when the top is closed. We also wonder about the absence of an opening button for the trunk lid. It’s only a detail, but with a price starting at 150,000 euros, one has the right to be demanding… The operating budget is also substantial, with an average fuel consumption of 9.7 l/100 km and a heavy tax burden due to the car’s fiscal power.
Nevertheless, the Vantage Roadster is the perfect antidote to the lack of soul that characterizes the automotive landscape today. First of all because of its looks – my God, this Aston is beautiful! – but more importantly, the feeling of driving this convertible is invigorating. With the top down, the temperament and personality of its V8 are even more forceful! And the few imperfections are nothing compared to the broad smile that will inevitably light up the face of the lucky person who will be able to take the wheel!