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2016 Aston Martin Vantage

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2016 Aston Martin Vantage Expert Review

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While the 2016 Aston Martin Vantage is the company's least expensive model, this 2-seat sports car is arguably one of its most thrilling offerings. Available with either a V8 or V12 engine, and with a manual transmission available for the V8, the Vantage coupe and convertible bring all of the sexiness and James Bond style of the larger DB9, but at a lower price. Of course, "lower" is relative, as the least expensive one still starts at more than six digits. Still, when you compare it against the Jaguar F-Type, Porsche 911 and Audi R8, the price is certainly right in line and competitive. However, the Vantage has been around a long time and, even with this year's upgrades, its sparkle has dimmed.

You'll Like This Car If...

The Aston Martin Vantage brings a distinctly British flavor to the world of exotics. With a racing heritage -- and, with the Vantage GT, race-car looks -- the Vantage grants immediate access to a rather exclusive club and all but guarantees front-row status at the valet line.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Compared to the likes of Jaguar, Porsche, and Audi, Aston Martin dealerships are few and far between, making servicing your exotic Brit that much more difficult. Those brands also offer newer technology and more refined automatic transmissions than what's available on the Vantage.

How It Ranks

#4

out of 4

Fuel Economy

#3

out of 5

Horsepower
View all rankings
2016 Aston Martin Vantage Low/wide front photo What's New for 2016

Changes for the 2016 Aston Martin Vantage are fairly limited. There is a new slate of color and trim options and the infotainment system gets upgraded to the new AMi II interface, which includes text messages, real-time power and torque displays and better personalization options.

Driving the Vantage
2016 Aston Martin Vantage Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

Press the slab-sided glass key into the dash-top slot and the Aston Martin Vantage roars to life, filling the cabin with the sounds of its engine and, whether you choose...

... V8 or V12, that sound is intoxicating. Granted, even with the V12 the Aston Martin Vantage isn't the quickest car in its class, but your heart won't care, as there are few cars as viscerally involving as this one. It grabs your attention and, for better or worse, continues to demand it. Driver engagement is obvious with the preferred 6-speed manual transmission that's available on V8 models. However, we recommend against the 7-speed single-clutch automatic if you can do without it (it's standard on V12 models), as its jarring shifts are far out of character for a car like this. That automated-manual remains the Achilles heel in a sports car that otherwise rewards with excellent acceleration, braking and grip.

SIGHT AND SOUND
The 2016 Aston Martin Vantage is as sexy as James Bond casually checking his cufflinks as Spectre's headquarters explodes behind him. Yet only the driver and one lucky passenger can experience the symphony of its engine or, if you prefer, the available Bang & Olufsen system.

HYDRAULIC STEERING
More and more cars are using electrically assisted power steering, much to the chagrin of automotive enthusiasts. The 2016 Aston Martin Vantage retains the hydraulic steering assist and its more natural feel.

2016 Aston Martin Vantage Details
2016 Aston Martin Vantage Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

The Aston Martin Vantage is cozy for passengers and cargo, with a finely crafted interior that uses high-quality materials throughout. The new AMi II infotainment system offers a clear upgrade compared to last year's model, helping make the Vantage feel more modern. It coddles its occupants in leather seats and we love the piano-black or carbon-fiber accents throughout. Still, the Vantage doesn't offer the tech wizardry of rivals such as Audi and Porsche. Knobs to control audio and climate functions feel dated and surrounding buttons are small and confusing. The automatic transmission uses push buttons instead of a gear lever.

Exterior
2016 Aston Martin Vantage photo

It's incredible to think that the Aston Martin Vantage still looks thoroughly modern and sexy from the outside despite being around for more than a decade. The cues are classic: A long, low hood and swollen rear fenders define power and grace, while the classic grille treatment makes its heritage unmistakable. The V8 and V12 Vantage S models have a carbon-fiber lower air splitter and other accents, and the V12 Vantage S also gets aggressive hood vents, which we think mar the otherwise clean lines. The roadster's power-operated soft top retracts in 18 seconds at speeds up to 30 mph.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

With a price tag north of $100,000 you'd expect a lot in your 2016 Vantage. However, you may not get everything you expect. True, there's a leather interior, automatic climate control, navigation, a rearview camera and a 160-watt audio system with USB inputs. But it lacks some fairly common features that many much lower priced cars offer as standard equipment: Cruise control, an automatic-dimming rearview mirror and heated seats -- and never mind blind-spot monitors and other modern conveniences. The V12 Vantage S has the larger engine, carbon-ceramic brakes and a driver-adjustable suspension.

Optional Equipment

Take away the "Q" customization program (Q, like James Bond; get it?), which allows custom paint and interior schemes, and the Aston Martin options list is on the short side. There are several wheel styles and exterior bits and on coupe models there's an available sport suspension. Options inside include heated front seats and a Technology Package that includes cruise control and Bluetooth telephone preparation; note that many of today's mainstream cars offer these things standard. Among the most desirable features is a 1,000-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system that is a thrill ride for the ears.

Under the Hood
2016 Aston Martin Vantage Engine photo

If you opt for an Aston Martin V8 Vantage, you'll have a 4.7-liter V8 engine of 420 horsepower in standard Vantage trim, or 430 horsepower in S and GT models. It's available with either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed single-clutch automated manual -- which we do not recommend due to harsh shifting. V12 Vantage models have -- surprise! -- a V12 of 565 horsepower. Note that both the V8 and V12 engines are naturally aspirated, making their power without turbochargers or superchargers. While the V12 is clearly the more powerful engine -- it hits 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and reaches 205 mph versus the sub-5-second time of the V8 models -- it’s unfortunately saddled with the clunky 7-speed automated manual gearbox.

4.7-liter V8
420 horsepower @ 7,300 rpm
346 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19 mpg (manual), 14/21 mpg (automatic)

4.7-liter V8
430 horsepower @ 7,300 rpm
361 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19 mpg (manual), 14/21 mpg (automatic)

6.0-liter V12
565 horsepower @ 6,500
457 lb-ft of torque @ 5,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/18 mpg

The 2016 Aston Martin Vantage GT is about $108,000, including the $2,825 destination charge, but it’s still the lowest priced model in the Aston line. The convertible adds about $14,500. The V12 coupe is a little more than $189,000 while the drop-top version is around $203,500. That's a big chunk of change, and it puts the Vantage in the company of cars ranging from the Porsche 911 and Jaguar F-Type on the lower end to exotics like the Audi R8 and Maserati GranTurismo on the higher end. Usually we'd refer you to the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying, but few people dicker about the price on their (probably bespoke) British exotic sports car. Resale values are difficult to assess for exotics, and the Aston’s are probably not wonderful, but that’s not the reason you buy one of these anyway.

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