2016 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Review
Pros & Cons
- Highly customizable
- sharp styling
- engaging driving experience
- compliant ride.
- Outdated interior controls with cheap switchgear
- unsophisticated automatic transmission
- expensive relative to the competition.
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2016 Aston Martin Vantage is beautiful and refreshingly mechanical to drive in this increasingly digital world. However, its advanced age lets it down, especially in the cabin.
As it turns out, the 2016 Aston Martin Vantage's beauty has proven to be timeless. Entering their 10th year on the market, the V8 Vantage and V12 Vantage siblings are just as striking as ever. For that reason alone, they will attract their fair share of attention. Unfortunately, the competition has improved markedly over the past decade, leaving the Vantage behind in many respects.
For one thing, the V8 Vantage's acceleration can't keep up with similarly priced high-end sports cars, although the engine itself sounds sublime when exercised. No one will ever accuse the 565-hp V12 Vantage of being slow, but its clunky single-clutch automated manual transmission (optional on the V8 Vantage) feels antiquated compared to today's slick dual-clutch units that are equally good in high-performance and mundane driving.
The Vantage's advanced age is even more apparent from the driver seat, starting with switches and stalks that look and feel surprisingly cheap. The center console has actually been updated for 2016 to match the newer Vanquish, but its touch-sensitive controls don't work very well and the "new" infotainment system already seems laughably old. Additionally, the Vantage's features list lacks some of the comfort, convenience, entertainment and safety items that are now common in luxury performance cars.
If there's an upside to the Vantage's vintage, it's that the driving experience is refreshingly engaging. Aston Martin engineered this car before turbochargers, advanced stability systems and electric power steering had become the new normal, and while such technologies have their advantages, some would argue that they rob a sports car of its soul. If you tend to agree, the Vantage may still be for you. There's a degree of driver-machine communication here that's simply hard to come by these days.
But for many contemporary enthusiasts, we suspect the Vantage's competitors will be more compelling choices. These include the Audi R8, the Jaguar F-Type, the Mercedes SL and AMG GT, and the Porsche 911, a car that manages to be both timeless and state-of-the-art. Perhaps they aren't quite as beautiful as the Vantage, but then, they aren't a decade old, either.
2016 Aston Martin V8 Vantage models
The 2016 Aston Martin Vantage is a two-seat sports car offered in hatchback coupe and two-seat convertible (roadster) body styles. There are V8 Vantage GT, V8 Vantage, V8 Vantage S and V12 Vantage, Vantage S and Vantage GT12 models available.
The V8 Vantage GT comes standard with 19-inch wheels, a limited-slip differential, automatic xenon headlamps, automatic wipers, power-folding mirrors, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, automatic climate control, power front seats (eight-way driver, four-way passenger), a full leather interior, a simulated suede headliner, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a navigation system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a six-CD changer, USB connectivity and a 160-watt sound system. An optional Technology package adds cruise control and satellite radio.
The regular V8 Vantage includes the Technology package, a more comfortable suspension and Aston's full range of paint and leather options (the V8 Vantage GT is only available in five exterior colors and two interior colors).
The V8 Vantage S has the same performance upgrades as the GT, but adds a carbon-fiber front splitter and rear diffuser along with upgraded interior trim.
The V12 Vantage, besides its bigger engine, includes a three-mode adaptive suspension, carbon-ceramic brakes, special carbon-fiber body panels and a standard automated single-clutch manual transmission.
Options include 19-inch forged alloy wheels, front parking sensors, leather rear cabin trim, a simulated-suede sport steering wheel (coupe only), a convertible wind deflector, heated seats, driver and passenger memory settings, a 700-watt premium sound system and a 1,000-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system. Aston Martin also offers a wide range of paint and leather combinations, plus other customization options through its Q by Aston Martin program.
Performance & mpg
The 2016 Aston Martin V8 Vantage is powered by a 4.7-liter V8 engine good for 420 hp and 347 pound-feet of torque. The GT and V8 Vantage S have a version of that engine good for 430 hp and 361 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission come standard, and a seven-speed automated single-clutch manual (known as Speedshift) is optional.
In Edmunds testing, a manual-equipped V8 Vantage GT went from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, which is quick but ultimately unremarkable given its price tag. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 15 mpg combined (13 city/19 highway) with the traditional manual and 16 mpg combined (14/21) with Speedshift.
The V12 Vantage has a 5.9-liter V12 (marketed as a 6.0-liter V12 by Aston) good for 565 hp and 457 lb-ft of torque. It's only available with its own version of the single-clutch automated manual transmission. Aston Martin estimates a 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds for the coupe; the convertible adds 0.2 second. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 14 mpg combined (12/18).
Standard safety features on the Vantage include antilock disc brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control, hill start assist, rear parking sensors and side airbags that provide head and torso protection. The Roadster adds pop-up roll bars.
In Edmunds testing, a V8 Vantage came to a stop from 60 mph in 112 feet, a poor showing for a high-performance sports car. Multiple Porsche 911 test cars, for example, have stopped about 10 feet shorter on average.
The Aston Martin Vantage provides refreshingly analog driving sensations in this increasingly digital world. The steering features hydraulic assist rather than electric, and as a result transmits more road feel than the systems of virtually every other car on the market. The standard transmission is a conventional manual that's gratifyingly solid and precise. When driven back-to-back with a Jaguar F-Type, for instance, the Vantage feels notably more communicative and involving. At the same time, the V8 Vantage boasts a surprisingly compliant ride that speaks to its grand touring intent.
Stepping up to the V12 Vantage adds weight and firms up the ride, but also pours on a tsunami of power. Unfortunately, the V12's standard "Speedshift" single-clutch automated manual transmission is antiquated in a not-so-charming way. The market has moved on to dual-clutch units that are vastly more refined, whereas the Aston's clunky shifts evoke a teenager learning to drive.
For the most part, the 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. Then again, most cars today — especially at this price point — allow you to keep the key in your pocket and just press a start button. Also, some of the switchgear not only feels cheap for an Aston Martin, but cheap, period.
For 2016, the Vantage receives the same center console design as the pricier Vanquish. It's more modern-looking, with sleek touch-sensitive buttons and a revised infotainment system. Those touch-sensitive buttons don't work well, however, and their displays wash out in the sun. Also, the infotainment system is still antiquated and annoying to use, and while the Garmin-sourced navigation system gets the job done, it seems incongruous in a car this pricey. In general, the Vantage's cabin is just behind the times.
In terms of space, the Vantage acquits itself well for a high-dollar sports car. Even tall drivers should find enough leg- and headroom in the driver seat, although the four-way-only passenger seat limits comfort. The coupe's hatchback trunk is also pleasingly useful, measuring 10.6 cubic feet, though the roadster's trunk drops to a meager 5 cubic feet. Deploying or stowing the soft-top convertible takes about 18 seconds.