The Aston Martin V8 Vantage – The Secret Agent
I’ve always lusted after the Vantage ever since it was released in 2006. My name is Chris, and this Aston Martin V8 Vantage is my weapon of choice.
The design is inch perfect - a bespoke Savile Row suit personified in automotive form. The enchanting 4.3L V8 that roars into life then settles into a throaty purr at idle. I can’t help but feel superbly classy whenever I drive the car. When you press the start button, and the exotic instrument cluster says Power, Soul, Emotion, you can’t help but feel you are driving something special, and yet quintessentially British. Let’s start from the beginning, from when I first purchased the Aston Martin.
The Aston Martin was originally obsidian black, but I had a respray in Lamborghini Grigio; a special kind of grey that’s eye catching yet subtle. Black paint is really hard to maintain anyway, and an Aston Martin looks best in steely, stiff upper lip silver or grey. I then had an expensive carbon fibre lip kit and front grill fitted, to add some aggression to that dapper front end.
A carbon fibre ducktail wing was also added for that extra curvature on the rear. All the indicators and UK-spec reflectors were blacked out, along with the factory diffuser, to continue the monotone look. The red rear tail lights were swapped out for clear versions to keep colour uniformity throughout the car.
Engine and Suspension
The V8 doesn’t need more power, with 380hp on tap from the factory. However I thought it could sound even better, so I had the factory exhaust system replaced with a custom made one. Now it makes a thrilling noise every time the throttle is applied. With the roar of the V8 up front and the intoxicating exhaust note behind me, it is aurally captivating to drive.
When the V8 Vantage was released, the press gave it very favourable reviews in terms of looks, styling and power. However, in the handling department, most favoured its rival, the Porsche 911. I could see why, as the Aston wasn’t built to be an out and out sportscar. It’s actually pretty comfortable on stock suspension, and I’d happily drive long hours or through traffic with it. That meant it wasn’t as capable as I liked on the twisties, so I had the shock absorbers replaced with custom Bilstein ones, and fitted H&R lowering springs to suit the setup. Coupled with black 19-inchBrixton Forged WR7 monoblock wheels, the transformation was visually dramatic.
With the wheels, I ordered the brand new Bridgestone Potenza S007A tyres. I love anything James Bond related now I have an Aston, and the 007 inclusion in the tyre name is spot on. It’s a quiet, sophisticated premium tyre that’ll eat up miles in silence and comfort, yet has high performance grip.
The difference was immediate the second I drove the car out from the Bridgestone Select store. Gone was the previous tyres’ chundering road noise, and despite the thin sidewalls, cat eyes’ on the roads were no longer spine damaging. Combined with the Bilstein suspension, the steering became quick and laser focused, responding to every input immediately. The original suspension made it a bit lazy off centre, but now the Vantage is alert, ready to carve a line through corners or traffic.
Where to from here? As is, the Vantage is currently perfect for me, but I think I can do with more power. That entails a lot more planning and budgeting, as miscellaneous items such as brakes and more suspension work will be required for the car to handle more power. In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy driving around this very special piece of British engineering.
For more information on the Bridgestone Potenza S007A, click here.
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