2021 Aston Martin Vantage Roadster
- Around $164,000 including destination
- Fall 2020
What to expect
- Soft fabric convertible roof adds top-down option to Vantage lineup
- Same rumbling turbocharged V8 and eight-speed automatic
- New top adds weight, cuts into top speed, trunk space
- Part of the new Vantage generation that debuted for the 2019 model year
What is it?
Each year, fewer new convertibles are introduced as buyers are sucked in toward the collapsed-star pull of SUVs. Of course, if all low-slung drop-tops looked like the 2021 Aston Martin Vantage Roadster, things might be different.
Built to accompany the redesigned Vantage coupe that debuted for the 2019 model year, the 2021 Vantage Roadster carries on Aston Martin's tradition of producing elegant roofless sports cars. Aston Martin says that at the push of a button, the soft fabric top lowers or raises in under 7 seconds, which is tops among automatic convertible roofs.
You get more than looks for the money. The Vantage Roadster's cabin is swathed in leather and faux suede, with an 8-inch infotainment screen providing a visual interior focal point. Standard parking sensors and a 360-degree camera help the driver navigate tight spots (particularly helpful since convertible pillars are often thicker than those in coupes), and a wind deflector keeps your hair from being tousled.
Why does it matter?
Vantage customers now have a choice to make: Pick the fixed-roof coupe or the sun-soaked convertible. So what sets them apart?
In terms of performance, not much. Both are powered by a Mercedes-Benz-sourced twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine that makes 503 horsepower and 505 lb-ft of torque. The convertible top and its mechanicals add roughly 132 pounds. As a result, top speed drops from 195 to 190 mph, while the estimated 0-60 mph time slows from 3.5 to 3.7 seconds.
That's still an awful lot of speed. The Vantage Roadster offers the same three driving modes as the Vantage — Sport, Sport + and Track — that make the suspension and throttle progressively sharper. It will also use the same eight-speed automatic transmission.
Elsewhere, the convertible roof drops cargo capacity from 12.4 cubic feet in the coupe to 7 cubes for the Roadster. Despite the compression in trunk space, Aston Martin says there's enough room to fit the ever-important set of golf clubs.
What does it compete with?
The Vantage Roadster goes toe to toe with sports car royalty. The Porsche 911 Cabriolet, Audi R8 Spyder, Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster and Bentley Continental GT Convertible all compete for these coveted buyers.
Any other changes to the 2021 Vantage model line?
Aston Martin used the Vantage Roadster's debut to announce changes to the entire Vantage family. Though a seven-speed manual transmission was previously exclusively available on the high-performance Vantage AMR, the standard Vantage will also offer a stick for 2021. The manual drops the starting price of the Vantage to $149,000 with destination, a steep discount from $156,000 for the automatic.
And if buyers don't care for the aggressive Hunter mesh front grille, they will be able to buy a more traditional Vane eggcrate-style grille on both the coupe and convertible.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and we can't blame anyone who sees a whole lot of beauty in the 2021 Vantage Roadster. We're fans of the coupe's ride quality and sharp response, and we expect similar performance from the drop-top. For those willing to trade a little top-end performance for neck-snapping looks, and pay more for the privilege, you could do a lot worse than the latest creation from this iconic automaker.