Here is a car I've been looking forward to driving for a very long time.
The new 2019 Aston Hot advantage Aston says it's a much more focussed sports car than before and it's much more powerful than the outgoing V8 Vantage.
But above all, it's just stunning to look at.
You absolutely have to see this car in person to appreciate the proportions.
And I think you really need to see it in a color like this tungsten silver rather than that somewhat polarizing highlighter yellow they originally launched the car in.
Now I know this is a much more modern youthful take on Aston Martin styling than the older cars but it really is a fantastic design.
The car is so low, so wide, so dramatic.
It starts with this massive clamshell hood and the nose which swoops down so dramatically.
Then you come around to the side of the car and the drama continues with these big functional vents They help get air out of the engine bay to reduce aerodynamic lift.
As I come towards the back you've got these wide, sexy horges that lead into this built-in spoiler.
And around back it's topped off by this super skinny tail light that extends the whole width of the car.
I could stand here all day admiring this car.
But what I think we should do instead is climb inside, push that engine start button and go for a drive.
So let's get this out of the way straight away.
This Aston Martin does not have an Aston Martin engine.
Under the hood is the twin turbo 4 liter V8 we know and love from Mercedes AMG cars.
And thanked all of the in-car electronics, from the infotainment system down to this turn signal stalk are all Mercedes parts.
So, I guess the big question is, does this car just feel like an AMG wearing a union-jack costume?
Absolutely not, Ascent engineers were able to re-tune the engine.
Engine and exhaust to their specs.
And after all the entire chassis is from Aston Martin, not AMG.
So the Vantage feels, well, like na Aston Martin.
It sure is fast with Hundred and three horse power.
Five hundred and five pound [UNKNOWN] torque going to the rear wheels for an eight speed automatic transmission.
Zero to 60 happens in three and a half seconds and the [UNKNOWN] keep pulling all the way up to 195 miles an hour.
There's basically no turbo lag at all from this engine.
I just put my foot down and there's a huge [UNKNOWN] of power instantly.
On open winding roads, I can set a blistering pace in this car.
The handling is just delightful.
This thing changes direction like a puppy scurrying around the backyard.
There is so much grip Thanks in part to having torque vectoring and then electronically controlled differential, the latter of which is an Aston-Martin first.
The whole car feels like it pivots right around me.
And it kinda does, the engine is mounted way back behind the front axle to give us that lovely 50/50 weight balance.
And it really helps make the car really eager to rotate through bends.
I do wish though that the steering were a little bit more fearsome.
Now, it's incredibly quick and unerring precise.
The way this car turns in, is so much telepathic But it sort of feels like a one-way conversation in a car like this on roads like this I want steering that talks back to me and fidgets in my hands and weights and unloads.
Its just more fun and engaging that way.
There are three modes each for the power train and the adaptive dampers.
Sport, sport plus, and track Now the suspension's very stiff so it's probably best left in sport or sport plus.
But the engine is at its best when I switch to track mode.
That's when it gets loudest and most responsive.
You get all sorts of pops and cracks and bubbles from the exhaust, it sounds fantastic.
[SOUND] But it sounds fantastic when you're fully on it.
I find that sometimes when you're driving around a path driverless engine can sound a little weazy and fluttery and dull.
I wish that it was more rumbly and gurgley all the time.
And while we're talking about the throttle, it has an excessively aggressive tip end Well that's okay in track mode.
But even in the base sport mode, I find that the car leaps forward the second I touch the right pedal.
And with 503 horsepower to manage, I'd like for a smoother, more progressive throttle map to help me meet out that power a little better.
Inside of the Vantage is gorgeous as well.
I love all the leather detail I mean, even the headliner is beautiful in this car.
You sit very low and snug.
It's very cockpit-like.
It give me a great driving position.
It's not so great for visibility, but hey, this is an Aston Martin not a Subaru Forester.
And the seats are incredibly snug, and I really love the feel of this almost hexagonal sports steering wheel.
What irks me a little bit about the cabin though is this entire center stack.
The entertainment display looks like somebody left their iPad on top of the dash and all of these plasticky buttons just look really, really busy on the console.
I think it's at odds with how pretty the rest of the cabin is.
Okay, let's run through the boring things real quick.
The [UNKNOWN] rates it at 18 miles per gallon city and 25 miles per gallon highway.
Luggage space behind me is pretty good.
Maybe not quite wide enough for you to fit your golf clubs back there but certainly big enough for a couple of overnight bags.
Standard safety features include blind spot monitoring, a 360 degree camera, and parking sensor.
The Vantage starts at $150,000, and this one has an as-tested price of $165,000.
Okay, can we go back to driving it now?
[SOUND] At its $150,000 starting price, the Aston Martin Vantage has some pretty fierce competition from the Audi R8, the Porsche 911 GTS.
In the Mercedes-AMG GT.
Now, I'm not sure if this is my favorite sports car among their class, but I do keep coming back to just how lovely the vantage looks, and how delightfully playful it is to drive.
And for those reasons alone, I really, really like this car.