The Aston Martin Vantage has never had trouble upstaging its bigger, DB9-based brothers, says Andrew Frankel in The Sunday Times. "The V8 version is cheaper and more fun to drive, while the V12 Vantage is just as quick." The smaller Aston has always been the better one.
The latest model is the N420 "a version of the standard car that has been lightly worked over with the aim of sharpening up the driving experience". It will also cost you £8,000 more but "it's worth every penny". It is a "finely honed road car that would acquit itself well at a track day" and is "a ball" to drive.
The ride is never less than firm, says Richard Meaden in AutoExpress, and on bad surfaces it "can be pretty punishing". But this doesn't spoil the fun much. The car "really comes into its own on fast, swoopy A and B-roads, where you can revel in its predictable balance, exploitable handling and that exuberant soundtrack". The 4.7-litre V8 engine may not be "as free-revving as a Porsche 911's flat-six, but what it lacks in top-end zing it works hard to compensate for with meaty reserves of mid-range response".
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The N420 is no full-blown Porsche 911 GT3 rival, says Matt Prior in Autocar. What it is, though, "is a worthily more focused and more entertaining car than the regular V8 Vantage, at an acceptable premium".
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