Aston Martin Vantage

Power on the 2009 Aston Martin Vantage is provided by a 420-horsepower, 4.8L V8 with dry-sump lubrication--for more consistent oil distribution in high-performance track driving--and variable inlet cam timing. With the standard six-speed manual gearbox, the Vantage can race to 60 miles per hour in a very respectable 4.7 seconds, reaching a top speed of 180 mph

There's also an optional SportShift transmission, which brings magnesium paddle shifters alongside the steering wheel to command quick upshifts or downshifts. It has a "creep" feature that allows the vehicle to behave like a conventional automatic when you lift off the brake pedal unlike several competing systems. The transmission has been improved a bit for 2009, and now features Comfort and Sport shift modes.

Handling is an especially strong suit for the Vantage. The gearbox is rear-mounted for a more even weight distribution, the engine's dry-sump configuration allows it to be mounted low, and the wishbone suspension helps manage the power and weight well on tight, curvy roads. The two-seat Vantage is somewhat heavy for a small sports car yet quite light for a V8 tourer. Thanks to the extensive use of aluminum components, it weighs less than 3,600 pounds.

The interior is laid out with tight, cockpit-like accommodations for two yet has materials and conveniences as commonly offered in luxury cars. The Vantage is available in a wide range of trims, including mahogany, bamboo, walnut, and Piano Black finishings. Platinum silver fittings are also available.

Side air bags, electronic stability control, and anti-lock brakes are also standard. Key options include xenon headlamps, Bluetooth, parking sensors, alarm system upgrade, 700-watt audio system with surround sound and heated seats.

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Editors' First Take

As much as I'd like to tell you the Roadster is far more than just a Vantage with the roof chopped off -- some new, sun-drenched take on Aston Martin's little sports car -- really, it isn't. From the way it looks, to the way it drives, to the way it feels when you're behind the wheel, everything about the 2021 Vantage Roadster is totally familiar for those who have driven the hardtop. 

Removing a coupe's roof is the quickest way to weaken a body structure, so Aston has added some structural braces, strengthened various chassis components and adjusted the rear adaptive dampers to account for this loss of rigidity as well as the extra 132 pounds this Vantage lugs around, thanks to its folding roof mechanism. Otherwise, mechanically speaking, the Vantage Roadster is no different than the Vantage Coupe.

That means power comes from the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 you'll find in Aston Martin's other models, not to mention a number of AMG-badged Mercedes-Benz cars. Here, it produces 503 horsepower and 505 pound-feet of torque, sending power to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Aston Martin claims a 0-to-60-mph time of 3.7 seconds for the Roadster, -- one measly tenth of a second slower than the Vantage Coupe. If you want to brag about quickness, impress your friends with this factoid: The Vantage Roadster's power-folding roof can retract in just seven seconds, making it the quickest-operating fully automated convertible top on sale today. So yeah. Take that.

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