What's New for 2002
Aston Martin's DB7 Vantage sees a host of changes for the 2002 model year. The audio system has been upgraded from an Alpine unit to a Becker "Mexico" unit. The headliner has been modified to offer slightly more headroom, and seat travel has been increased to offer more legroom. Other upgrades include a battery disconnect switch in the trunk to help preserve battery power on cars that sit for a week or more and revised interior switchgear that offers some much-appreciated distinction between Aston Martin Vantage and Jaguar controls.
New options include a 19-inch alloy wheel option with a nine-spoke design, a metallic interior trim set for those who don't care for either wood or carbon fiber accents, and colored brake calipers, available in grey, red or gold. An illuminated starter button, revised steering wheel, improved air-conditioning controls and an optional Becker "Traffic Pro" navigation system round out this year's changes.
If you are considering purchasing a car from the lofty world of 2+2 supercars, there's one main question you need to ask yourself: How do you want to spend your $150,000?
Aston Martin would be quite happy to liberate that chunk from your pocket. In exchange, you would get a beautifully styled machine that competes in the realm of the world's greatest sports cars. That machine would be the DB7 Vantage.
The DB7 Vantage comes in coupe and convertible form (the convertible being called the Volante). Similar to BMW's M cars, Aston's "Vantage" moniker stands for the most powerful and uncompromising models in the Aston Martin range. "Standard" DB7 models are not sold in the United States.
Both DB7 Vantage models are equipped with a 5.9-liter V12 engine that produces 420 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 400 foot-pounds of torque at 5,000 rpm. As you would expect from numbers like this, the Vantage's power and acceleration are both prodigious. Acceleration from zero to 60 takes a mere 5.0 seconds. Even with this much power, the engine is still quite tractable while driving through city gridlock. A six-speed manual transmission is standard equipment, with a five-speed automatic being a no-cost option.
The DB7 Vantage's ride quality is a blend of firm control with supple response. High-speed cruising is this DB7's forte. American speed limits won't allow the Vantage to truly show its abilities; this car is perfectly happy to whoosh along at speeds over 100 mph. Of course, there is a performance suspension along with massive, Brembo four-wheel vented discs with four-piston calipers. Thankfully, such impressive hardware isn't hidden from view by the 18-inch aluminum wheels.
Inside the cabin, Aston Martin equips its DB7 with wide expanses of sumptuous Connolly leather and walnut wood trim. The traditional black-and-white gauges are attractive and easy to read. The cabin is rather tight, and front passengers over 6-feet tall will likely protest a lack of headroom. This is especially true on Volantes with the top raised, but the coupe has benefited from a slight increase in headroom for 2002. The rear seats are clearly for small children only.
Beautiful as it is, it would be tough to give the DB7 Vantage a decisive recommendation. The Mercedes-Benz CL-Class is much more refined and feature-laden. A Ferrari 456 GTA costs considerably more but is considerably more prestigious. If you can live without the mostly decorative rear seats, there are the BMW Z8, upcoming Mercedes SL and Maserati Spyder to consider. We would even suggest looking at the DB7's cousin: the Jaguar XKR. The XKR is about $70,000 cheaper and offers a very similar driving, visual and ownership experience.