Aston Martin V8 Vantage (2012) the Vantage S-inspired upgrade

Published: 20 February 2012

This is Aston Martin’s new V8 Vantage, with a new gearbox, styling tweaks and chassis upgrades. You might think it looks little different than before – and that’s no bad thing – but Aston Martin claims the updates amount to ‘most comprehensive programme of enhancements’ since the 4.7-litre version of the V8 Vantage was launched in 2008.

The new Aston Martin V8 Vantage will be unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March 2012, just in time to distract potential customers away from the new Porsche 911

So what’s new about the new Aston Martin V8 Vantage?

Essentially the standard V8 Vantage is being upgraded with parts we first saw on the more focused V8 Vantage S. Meaning outgoes the (optional) clunky six-speed Sportshift automated manual gearbox, and in comes the less clunky (but still not perfect at low speeds) seven-speed Sportshift II transmission. A six-speed manual is still the standard gearbox.

The Vantage S also donates its quicker steering (now 15:1 instead of 17:1) and bigger brakes (380mm front discs with six piston calipers), and the latter also includes a new Hill Start Assist system to help with getting underway on steep inclines. There are 10mm wider tyres from the Vantage S too, which Aston claims not only increase grip levels, but improve steering responses and allow the larger brakes to be fully exploited.

What else?

There are some visual changes too, with the V8 Vantage inheriting the styling of the Vantage S. That means a lower front bumper with a bigger intake (to feed cooling air to the engine and brakes) and splitter, beefier side sills and a larger rear diffuser. The 420bhp 4.7-litre V8 has been left untouched.

All of the above changes have been applied to both the V8 Vantage Coupe and Roadster, with prices for the former starting at £84,995. The 10bhp more powerful Vantage S is £99,995 (the Sportshift II gearbox is standard) and comes with a unique exhaust system. The 510bhp and £135,000 V12 Vantage is unaffected by the tweaks, and if you’ve got even more money then the recently announced V12 Zagato is yours for £400k.

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By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy