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Aston Martin announces updated Vantage. Image by Aston Martin.

Aston Martin announces updated Vantage
Road-going model gains 155hp for 665hp peak, while the Vantage GT3 aims to uphold Astonís honour on track.
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2024-05-13: First drive: Aston Martin Vantage
2024-03-05: Aston reveals new Vantage as 2024 F1 season safety car

What's all this about?

It's facelift time for the current-generation Aston Martin Vantage. If you stand behind the car looking at it, you won't notice much. If you move around to the front, you'll spot the changes a little more easily. If you climb into the cabin, you might be tempted to think you were in an all-new model, never mind a facelift, and then if you're lucky enough to get to drive it, you'll be in little doubt as to how much it has improved.

Oh really? What have we got, an extra 20hp and 50Nm, something like that?

No. Good lord, no. Aston's engineers have fitted bigger turbos, they've modified the cams, they've uprated the oil supply system, they've optimised the compression ratios and they've enhanced the cooling system. All of which means the car has 30 per cent more power and 15 per cent more torque from its AMG-sourced 4.0-litre biturbo V8.

I... wait, what? Thirty per cent?! How powerful is it now, then?

You get 665hp and 800Nm, enough for it to win a casual game of Top Trumps with a 992 Porsche 911 Turbo S; well, for horsepower, at any rate. But still, going from 510hp/685Nm to these outputs is phenomenal work from Aston. And the performance improves too: two-tenths of a second comes off the 0-60mph time (yes, 60mph; Aston is a traditionalist, when all's said and done), with the new car running a 3.4-second sprint, while this 'baby' Aston will go beyond the double-ton if you find somewhere suitable to do such a thing, its V-max standing at 202mph (it was 195mph previously).

Crikey, that's a lot! I take it there have been other powertrain and chassis upgrades to cope?

Absolutely. The same eight-speed ZF automatic sends drive to the rear wheels, but new intelligent adaptive dampers, increased body strengthening in a 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution aluminium shell, a Launch Control system with E-Diff, super-quick 2.27-turn lock-to-lock steering and a set of massive 400mm front, 360mm rear drilled brakes all aim to handle those potent power and torque figures. Aston also fits the revised Vantage with 21-inch forged alloys with 275/35 R21 front and 325/30 R21 Michelin Pilot Sport S5 tyres that are specifically developed for the car, which means they get an 'AML' coding on their sidewalls. Options will include carbon-ceramic stoppers that shave fully 27kg from the Aston's unsprung mass, while a clever six-dimensional Inertial Measurement Unit uses masses of sensors to keep a close eye on body movements at all times - countering them near-immediately using the ESP - and there's also a variable traction control system that allows for greater degrees of slip angle from the rear wheels if you're a big fan of tyre-frying oversteer. Ferrari does much the same thing with its Side-Slip Control, for reference.

I'm liking the sounds of this. What else has been done to the Aston Martin Vantage?

As we said up top, at the rear the familiar bow-shaped light signature remains, and frankly we think this is a good thing - it's a distinctive feature. However, the nose of the car is completely different, with larger Matrix LED headlamp units and a radiator grille that has grown 38 per cent in size compared to before. The body is also 30mm wider, while the Vantage is now fitted with frameless door mirrors and handles which whirr out/fold away as you need them. It's the interior we like the most, though.

Really? Above 665hp?

All right, power first, then the interior. But the once-underwhelming cabin of the Vantage has been entirely redesigned. There's now an angled control console on the transmission tunnel, sitting above which is the in-house-developed 10.25-inch infotainment system from the DB12... and not a repurposed old Mercedes comms unit from about 2014. The digital instrument cluster is also a huge improvement too, as it not only looks better than what went before but it allows for a rounder steering wheel, getting rid of that, um, not-so-pleasant (and we're being kind) squared-off effort the Aston had before. Bridge of Weir hand-stitched leather for the surfaces and upholstery brings the traditional opulence, while a thunderous 1,170-watt, 15-speaker optional Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system provides the cutting-edge tech.

Fantastic! And do we have prices yet?

Not officially, so we're not sure how much more all this extra power and added interior ambience will cost you if you fancy the new Aston Martin Vantage. Production is due to start any day now, with customers taking first deliveries sometime in the second quarter of this year. They've not been announced as yet, but we'd expect the soft-top Roadster and highly desirable AMR manual derivatives to follow on soon, although whether the latter can keep a stick shift now it's trying to channel a thumping 800Nm might be a sticking point for its return. Oh, and then - as they say - motorsport improves the breed: there's a GT3 racing version, too.

Is there? Already?

Yup. Announced at the same time as the road-going Vantage, the new GT3 has the updated looks of the coupe, and is an evolution of the GTE and GT3 models which have, until recently, been in active competition since 2018. It has the same bonded aluminium chassis structure and of course the twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8, albeit the latter probably won't make 665hp due to pesky Balance of Performance rules.

The new Vantage GT3 is built to comply with all FIA GT3 class regulations, which means it can compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship (IMSA), Fanatec GT World Challenge, European Le Mans Series (ELMS) and the NŁrburgring Langstrecken Serie (NLS) equally. It even meets the new-for-2024 LMGT3 category, which means we'll see this thing at Le Mans before too long.

Aston Martin Racing (AMR) and Aston Martin Performance Technologies (AMPT) worked together on eradicating what the company admits were some of the old car's "more challenging handling characteristics", with the aim of making the new GT3 as driveable as possible for both professional and amateur racing drivers alike. To that end, one part of its extensive development programme was a 30-hour test completed late in 2023, in which pro and am racers had a go in the car. All of them reported the new Vantage GT3 to be a "super-fast-yet-forgiving machine with no vices" and a usefully wide set-up window.

That will be music to the ears of AMR's head of performance, Gustavo Betelli, who was charged with ensuring just such behaviour from the competition model. He said: "The focus on the new Vantage GT3 was to increase their performance window and make something that would work at any circuit, on any tyre and with any driver. We also had to work to the new regulations, so this required additional changes.

"These new-generation GT3 cars are more dependent than ever on aerodynamic downforce, so we wanted to make the car more stable under braking. The old car would dive a lot under braking, so we had to try and control the pitch with the rear suspension set-up. But this meant it was stiff, which made it quite snappy, and [it] also over-worked the tyres. Working heavily on damper tuning, we have found a much better balance with the new car so we can generate the downforce without compromising the suspension set-up.

"The result is much-improved progression and greater stability in all conditions. It also works its tyres much more evenly, so teams have more options on strategy. The feedback from drivers who've tested it has been overwhelmingly positive. Especially the amateur racers, who have been able to achieve lap times that are much closer to the pros. Now we need to go racing!"

Matt Robinson - 12 Feb 2024

2024 Aston Martin Vantage. Image by Aston Martin.2024 Aston Martin Vantage. Image by Aston Martin.2024 Aston Martin Vantage. Image by Aston Martin.2024 Aston Martin Vantage. Image by Aston Martin.2024 Aston Martin Vantage. Image by Aston Martin.

2024 Aston Martin Vantage. Image by Aston Martin.2024 Aston Martin Vantage. Image by Aston Martin.2024 Aston Martin Vantage. Image by Aston Martin.2024 Aston Martin Vantage. Image by Aston Martin.2024 Aston Martin Vantage. Image by Aston Martin.    - Aston Martin road tests
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