The outgoing Aston Martin V8 Vantage was always one of my favorite high-end cars. There were several reasons for this. First, the red V8 Vantage pictured below was the first exotic car I can really remember ever riding in, and it left a lasting impression on me. Second, as Doug and Tavarish have shown, it is a car which is actually attainable on the used market. The last two reasons have more to do with the car itself.
In my opinion, the V8 Vantage was in the top 5 for both most beautiful and best sounding cars on sale for its entire production run. There was not a single angle from which the old Vantage did not make me weak in the knees. It wasn’t overdone, it didn’t have all sorts of stupid vents and creases and wings (at least not in basic form). It was pure, sleek, dapper, and completely timeless. None of those are words that I would use to describe the new car.
Don’t get me wrong, I find the new car to be very cool, and I still like it. But cool and beautiful are two different, if not mutually exclusive things. Look at that big carbon fiber maw on the new Vantage. Cool? Sure! But from a design perspective, it may be the first time I’ve ever seen a car where the entire grill looks like it was added as an afterthought. This car looks like it was originally designed to have a smooth, unbroken, Tesla-like front, or at least a very small integrated grill slit, and then somebody just sort of came along and glued this big black mass on the front. Then there’s the actual “face” of the car. The complaint with most modern cars, particularly performance cars, is that they look unnecessarily angry. Not this one. The Vantage looks like it is wearing a face of disappointed disbelief, like it took a sip of its martini only to discover that the bartender had, in fact, stirred it.
Moving around to the side, we’ve got creases galore. That one coming from the middle of the fender vent looks especially out of place. Furthermore, the kink in the creases right at the trailing edge of the door makes the car look like it was hit hard from behind and pushed into some immovable object in the front, causing it to bend up. And even from the side, the front still looks weird.
Around back, I like the basic design language of the tail, but that whole rear diffuser/exhaust surround think is, once again, too big and too fussy. Smooth, body-colored bumpers would’ve done fine, thank you. Even if you wanted a carbon fiber rear diffuser, which, fine, you could have one a bit less obnoxious and melted-looking than this. Also, please for the love of God tell me that the word “ASTON MARTIN” written right below the badge is not going to be standard.
Even the interior is overdone while lacking class. Look at it. This doesn’t put me in mind of a tweed jacket or even an expensive tailored suit. It’s what I’d have to imagine a flat brim cap-wearing Ken Block wannabe would come up with if given an unlimited budget to design an interior for a new WRX STI-based supercar.
It’s not like the Vantage is entirely hideous, but it’s not the black tie beauty it used to be. And you know the worst part? Aston Martin already made the perfect new Vantage, exactly how it should’ve looked.
The DB10 was one of my favorite parts of SPECTRE. It took everything I loved about the design language of Aston Martin and made it even more contemporary, channeling the best elements of the old Vantage, the upcoming (at the time) DB11, and the batshit-crazy One-77. Look at it. Even with the slightly odd little headlights, it’s a stunner. This car, right here, is what the new Vantage should’ve been. Instead, the new Vantage has a design that I find finicky and immature, very uncharacteristic of an Aston Martin. Whether it be Craig or Connery, James Bond would look right at home in the DB10. He would look more than a bit silly in the new Vantage. Maybe I’ll change my tune once I see the new baby Aston in person, but for now, I’ll just sit here and pine for the DB10 while shopping for $40,000 ‘07 Vantages on cars.com.