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First drive: Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition. Image by Aston Martin/Max Earey.

First drive: Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition
We’ve driven the new Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition and it delivers on what the company’s new boss promised.

   



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Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition

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The Aston Martin Vantage has only been with us a couple of years, but in that time the company has got a new boss and he saw the potential for even more performance from the luxury sports car. We've driven it on road and track and the results are rather cracking.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition
Pricing: £150,670 as tested; model starts at £142,000
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8
Transmission: ZF eight-speed automatic; rear wheel drive
Body style: two-door 2+2 sports car
CO2 emissions: 246g/km (VED Band 226-255: £1,910 in year one, £490 years 2-5)
Combined economy: 24.3mpg
Top speed: 195mph
0-62mph: 3.6 seconds
Power: 535hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 685Nm at 2,000-5,000rpm
Boot space: 200 litres

What's this?

Rumour has it that Tobias Moers arrived at the Gaydon, UK headquarters of Aston Martin as its new boss and the first thing he did was say he wanted to unlock the real potential of the new Vantage. Okay it might not have been the first thing, but we do know that he demanded the engineers improve the lap time on the Nurburgring without simply adding super-sticky tyres.

But the man who oversaw the Mercedes-AMG GT wanted it to be more and what better way to do that than to tie it in with Aston's new role in F1. It's not the same as the new F1 safety car, but it is based on it, sort of. Whatever it is or isn't based on, the fact is that this is not a limited edition model, it is the new flagship of the Vantage range.

It's more powerful, boasting 527hp, up 25hp over the regular model with a longer torque peak, but it's the fact that the engineers have made improvements to the chassis and aerodynamics too that all make this one to pay attention to rather than just assuming it is for the collectors.

There's a list of other enhancements that the engineers have made too, from uprated suspension damping to an aerodynamics package that provides up to 200kg of additional downforce at the maximum speed of 195mph. Part of that comes from fitting a massive rear wing on the back because anything to do with F1 needs a big wing right?

It's only available in a few colours, one of which is Aston Martin Racing Green, plus you can have a contrasting racing stripe down the middle. You can have a stripe inside too, one which can be matched to the stitching in the leather and Alcantara sports seats. Alcantara adorns the steering wheel and there are a number of F1 Edition badges dotted around to remind you that you are in a better Vantage than the one everyone else is driving. But surely this is one of those track cars for the road that isn't actually that comfortable on the road? Well....

How does it drive?

We drove out of the landmark petrolheads' venue of Caffeine and Machine and immediately realised that the Vantage still has road touring in its character. Yes the chassis is slightly stiffer, the damping force has been reworked, there's more lateral stiffness and the steering is a bit tighter, but it's surprisingly comfortable. Granted our route to Silverstone was on good roads but we didn't arrive at the circuit feeling like we had wrestled with the car all the way. In fact the only thing that really required any major effort was the very dated infotainment system. That was ok though, because the vocal chords of the upgraded exhaust and the soundtrack from the twin-turbo V8 suited us just fine. What the road experience did show was that the F1 Edition has lost nothing of that grand tourer ability that is still present in the Vantage, in spite of it clearly shifting more into sports car territory.

Arriving at the Stowe circuit inside the Silverstone GP track, we received some welcome news - the track was ours, for as long as we liked, no holds barred. We were warned that we might be competing with a Valkyrie development car on track, but it never emerged from the garage so we had Stowe all to ourselves.

A couple of laps to get used to car and circuit and it was time to find out whether the F1 Edition is as good at track time as it is on the road. The short answer is yes. Admittedly it's not a precise as a Porsche 911, the steering not as accurate, the feedback from the tarmac beneath not as well communicated, but it's an easy car to position and to push on.

There's plenty of grip from the bespoke Pirelli tyres, but after a while the rear starts to slide in a way that rather than being unnerving, is controllable and grin-inducing. The power is easy to push down to the track, the response in both paddle-shifting manual mode or leave-it-to-the-car auto mode superb. Visibility through the corners is good and all the while that massive wing dominates the rear view mirrors as though it's chasing you down, reminding you that at any second that could be a Valkyrie driven by Matt Becker or one of the other members of the development team.

Having driven the Vantage on the Portimao circuit where it could really stretch its legs, experiencing the F1 Edition on the more compact Stowe circuit showed up its dual character even more than the road drive. It feels much smaller, more involved than Vantages of the past, an easier car to brake hard into the corner and track through before confidently powering out. It is more sports car than ever before and that's most evident in the F1 Edition.

Verdict

The F1 Edition takes the Vantage and dials things up a notch, just as Moers requested. However it doesn't lose its touring character in favour of more track ability, instead it brings all the elements together in a car that is tremendous fun at every turn.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

3 3 3 3 3 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Mark Smyth - 23 Jun 2021



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2021 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition. Image by Aston Martin/Max Earey.2021 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition. Image by Aston Martin/Max Earey.2021 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition. Image by Aston Martin/Max Earey.2021 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition. Image by Aston Martin/Max Earey.2021 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition. Image by Aston Martin/Max Earey.

2021 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition. Image by Aston Martin/Max Earey.2021 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition. Image by Aston Martin/Max Earey.2021 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition. Image by Aston Martin/Max Earey.2021 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition. Image by Aston Martin/Max Earey.2021 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition. Image by Aston Martin/Max Earey.








 

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