Full 2014 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Review
What's New for 2014
The 2014 Aston Martin V8 Vantage returns unchanged.
Exotic sports cars are a different breed. Those fortunate enough to be in a position to own one generally want the fastest, most technologically advanced, exclusive and devastatingly beautiful model available. While the 2014 Aston Martin V8 Vantage certainly satisfies the beautiful part, it falls well short of the other goals.
Representing the least expensive Aston Martin, the V8 Vantage is still guaranteed to turn its fair share of heads. Its sleek shape and signature Aston Martin styling touches are right in line with more expensive models. But after nine years in production without any significant updates, time has not been kind to the Vantage, as newer challengers outperform it on a number of levels.
Even if all-out performance domination isn't a priority, the V8 Vantage may disappoint some when it comes to details. Inside, many switches and knobs would feel out of place in a $30,000 car, let alone a $130,000 one, while the audio and navigation systems are dreadfully behind the times.
Those who gravitate toward the Vantage for its distinctly British execution may easily be swayed to the hot new 2014 Jaguar F-Type. The ever-evolving and exceptional 2014 Porsche 911 is also a worthy alternative, as is the 2014 Audi R8. While it's highly unlikely that owners of a 2014 Aston Martin V8 Vantage would regret their purchase, it's worth noting that there are better choices out there.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Aston Martin V8 Vantage is available as either a two-seat coupe or soft-top convertible roadster. Besides the standard Vantage trim, a higher-performing Vantage S is also available. The V12 Vantage is covered in a separate review.
Standard features include 19-inch wheels, xenon headlights, power folding heated mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, keyless remote entry, cruise control, automatic climate control, a full leather-trimmed interior, power-adjustable seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a navigation system, a rearview camera, a six-CD changer, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod audio interface.
Stepping up to the V8 Vantage S adds a slightly more powerful engine, a carbon-fiber front splitter and rear diffuser, a sport-tuned suspension and upgraded interior trim. These features are available as options on the base Vantage.
Options for either trim include a dark or chromed grille, a multitude of brake caliper colors, a convertible wind deflector, glass switches, carbon-fiber or wood interior trim, a simulated headliner, heated seats, seat memory functions, a more powerful premium audio upgrade or a Bang & Olufsen audio system. Aston Martin also offers an enormous number of paint and leather colors along with a high degree of customization.
Powertrains and Performance
Powering the 2014 Aston Martin V8 Vantage is a 4.7-liter V8 that produces 420 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, with a seven-speed single-clutch automated manual available as an option. Aston Martin estimates a 0-60 mph time of 4.7 seconds with the traditional manual transmission. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 15 mpg combined (13 city/19 highway) with the manual and 16 mpg combined (14 city/21 highway) with the automatic.
The V8 Vantage S increases output to 430 hp and 361 lb-ft of torque, while returning identical fuel economy estimates.
Standard safety features on all V8 Vantage models include antilock disc brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control, hill start assist, front and rear parking sensors and side airbags that provide head and torso protection. The Roadster adds pop-up roll bars.
Interior Design and Special Features
For the most part, the 2014 Aston Martin V8 Vantage interior makes occupants feel special. Wide swaths of supple leather adorn most surfaces, accented by contrasting stitching. Even starting the engine has some ceremony about it as you insert the heavy glass key fob (the "Emotion Control Unit" as Aston Martin calls it) into a slot atop the dash and hold it down to awaken the motor.
As the smallest and least expensive model in the Aston Martin lineup, the Vantage features a cockpit that is nearly identical to its more expensive DB9 and Rapide siblings. As is the case, it also suffers from some of the same missteps as those models. By contemporary standards, the Volvo-sourced electronics interface is well behind the times, as is the Garmin-based navigation system. Some of the switches and knobs also lack the kind of quality we'd expect in an exotic sports car.
Even by sports car standards, the Vantage's cockpit feels restrictive, though some may enjoy the all-enveloping experience. Foot wells are on the narrow side, though, and may cause some discomfort after a few hours of touring. On the plus side, the coupe's trunk can hold up to 10.6 cubic-feet of cargo, but the Roadster's drops to only 5 cubic feet. Deploying or stowing the soft-top convertible takes about 18 seconds.
Despite trailing some other sports cars when it comes to performance numbers, the 2014 Aston Martin V8 Vantage is sure to provide a level of athleticism that will thrill drivers. While navigating a curving mountain pass, there's a wealth of communication being relayed to the driver from the steering wheel, seat and pedals. At the same time, the Vantage is easy to drive and won't punish you with an overly stiff ride. Upgrading to the Vantage S further increases driver engagement and its grip on the road, but most are likely to find the stiffer suspension objectionable.
For those who have spent some very fortunate miles in cars that compete in this category, the Vantage may come up short when it comes to acceleration. This is especially true with the seven-speed automated manual transmission that lacks the immediacy and nearly seamless gearchanges of some of the dual-clutch systems.