Aston Martin Vantage Roadster

Shaken and Stirred

Okay, let’s start with a disclaimer: I am not completely unbiased, as I have had three Astons of my own and loved them all. However, the new Vantage is unlike any Aston I have experienced, including my former Vantage V-12 S. Aston’s crew have put a lot of thought into what the Vantage nameplate should represent, and they’ve been true to the mission, creating a sophisticated sports-touring car that does not sit by idly (although the sound at idle is very impressive). With a standard exhaust note that announces your arrival (and can scream your departure), it’s less Sean Connery and more Daniel Craig in its approach.

Stepping back a bit, what’s inside the box? My Aston for the week was in “Yellow Tang,” a color bright enough to attract bees (yes, it really did). With a black metallic and leather interior, the contrast was stunning. The interior’s “Twill Gloss Carbon Fibre” added to the overall impact, as did yellow brake calipers behind 20-inch, gloss black diamond-turned wheels. The car was a visual delight.

Aston Martin Vantage Roadster

But wait, there’s more! Start-up quickly awakens the beast within (and the neighbors, depending on the departure time). Aston has long been aware that the aural pleasures of a throaty engine can deepen the experience for the driver as well as for car aficionados who appreciate a free-range beast. With more crackles and pops than you can shake a spoon at, the Vantage is, to me, one of the best-sounding cars on the road today.

Inside, the pleasures continue with leathers and (if optioned) aluminum tread plates, ventilated seats, the aforementioned carbon fiber trim inlay, and more. Spring for the “Premium Audio” and, when you’re not interested in just the exhaust sound, you’ll be treated to great music that can be presented in a way only a small cabin can provide. It’s like driving a very fast pair of Beats.

Aston Martin Vantage Roadster

The performance is impressive, too. With a 503 HP twin-turbo V-8 producing 505 lb-ft of torque, the power can move the 3,373-pound Vantage from 0-60 in 3.6 seconds and up to a top speed of 195 mph. But what sets the V8 Vantage apart from its V-12 Vantage AMR cousin is that the weight distribution is 50/50 (the car’s weight is equally distributed over the front and rear axles), which portends greater speed through the corners. I wasn’t able to spend some track time with the Vantage, but I have done so with earlier V8 Vantages and they’re quite impressive. There’s even a publicity shot from several years ago where a Vantage took to the air when cresting a small hill and it’s perfectly level, a foot or two off of the ground.

The Vantage currently is the least-expensive Aston (including even the DBX, Aston’s new SUV, which has a base price of $176,900 and which I will review in coming months). With a base price of $147,000 (the coupe base price is about $8,000 less), “my” Vantage convertible sported special paint; painted brake calipers; carbon fiber here, there and everywhere; beautiful 20-inch wheels; the upgraded sound system; and more, which added to the end cost. The sticker on my Vantage Roadster was just under $204,000.

Aston Martin Vantage Roadster

Not surprisingly, as an Aston Martin fan, I loved my week with this roadster. The top was easy to flip up and down, and the looks and sound were terrific. If you’re in the market for a luxury, two-seater convertible that can work equally well around town and on road trips, there may be an Aston Martin in your future.

Your car, Mr. Bond.