If James Bond had a son, there is no doubt this is the car he'd drive.
an as tested sticker price of just under $150,000, it is a full
$123,000 cheaper than James Bond's Aston Martin DBS, and not much
slower with "only" 420 horsepower versus the bigger brother's 510
But would James Bond Jr. be willing to spend the equivalent of five drop top Minis, or eight Honda's Fits for one V8 Vantage?
Let's find out.
car like the Aston Martin is first and foremost about image. The skin
tight silky composite body (glued not welded) in proper Bond fashion is
pure passion personified with a 0-60 thrust of just over 4 seconds.
fact, the car pulled .78 G's at full boil using the iPhone's PocketDyno
application that measures acceleration with a quarter mile time of
11.98 seconds at 134.10 mph.
That's the sort of straight line performance that James Bond Jr. could use to get away from the fastest of evil henchmen.
Too Cool for School
But the Vantage looks and feels fast even when standing still.
I parked the car on the campus of the University of Colorado and asked 10 students if the Vantage was cool or uncool?
"Gorgeous," and "everything about it is sleek" were just some of the
comments that they used to describe the car. One young coed said, "It's
like…" and made this crazy hand gesture of rocket being launched, and
by the way "can I pleeeeeeze have a ride," she said with a devilish
twinkle in her eyes.
James Bond Jr. would approve. My wife would not.
the end the Vantage got a perfect 10 out of 10 cool rating from the
students, and I left the campus feeling twenty years younger.
Who says you can't buy youth.
car turns heads where ever you go. At a stop light, top down and this
time with my wife on the way to lunch in Cherry Creek, an older Ford
Taurus pulled up next to us and the three teenage boys popped their
heads out of the window and said, "Cool car, is that James Bond's car?"
I replied, "Sort of," shrugged because I didn't want let them down and quickly added, "How about we race?"
"I'll make you a bet" the wide-eyed driver said waiting for the light to turn green. "I'll bet that you"ll win."
"I'll take that bet," I said and immediately stalled the car to my massive embarrassment.
the Vantage has a weak point it must be the flappy paddle gearbox. You
know you are in for an adventure when they hand the car over to you and
spend the next 10 minutes explaining how to make it go.
Insert the ECU
(emotion control unit) To you and me that would be the key, but to
Aston Martin the beautifully sculpted glass fob is much more alive. In
fact, the slot (into which you insert the ECU) at first throbs red
until the engine starts at which point it turns a very satisfied cool
Once again James Bond Jr. would approve with a knowing wink and smile.
Release the parking break by pulling up (not down) and hope it releases.
the "D" button on the dashboard at which point the comfort button also
illuminates. The Vantage has a comfort setting for the "automatic" mode
of the transmission because without this feature it tends to rip
through the six forward gears like a drunk through a line of whiskey
You can of course choose the engage the gears manually
using the paddle shifters like Michael Schumacher on a tear around the
Nurnbergring in Germany. But when putting around Cherry Creek this
either gets very old very quick, or makes you look like a complete
poser in a car that's way over your head.
on the gas and wait for the revs to build. Below 4000 rpm the car purrs
like a pusy cat, but all hell breaks loose after 4000 rpm on the way to
truly frightening 8000 revolutions per tire melting, stomach squeezing,
face distorting, wife yelling redline.
BTW: The car also comes
with launch control, but they tend to not tell eager beaver journalist
how to engage it should the automotive professional decide to do
something crazy like go for a quarter mile time.
How does the Vantage and would-be secret agent driver handle the twisty mountain roads and the jealous paparazzi?