2014 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster
Sir, Your Anti-Toyota Corolla Awaits.
Anthony | September 2015
Full disclaimer: Midwest Motors in Lake Zurich, IL was gracious enough to let me get behind the wheel of this Aston Martin. Their contact information is below.
There’s a very good reason that James Bond prefers an Aston Martin. Like 007, Aston Martin is a British marquee that goes by the beat of their own drum – these aren’t Ferraris or Lamborghinis, and they don’t pretend to be. Their V8 cars are loud and their V12 cars can compete with the best that Italy has to offer.
My local exotic dealership, Midwest Motors, was kind enough to let me drive what I would call an “entry-level” supercar: the Aston Martin V8 Vantage. This particular V8 Vantage was the Roadster model – a.k.a. the convertible version – and the advantage of the Vantage as a convertible will be obvious later on. The vehicle I tested had around 1,500 miles on it so it was practically new.
Before you do anything in this car, you have to get the top down. You just have to. It’s not a law, but it should be. Driving this thing with the top down amplifies everything else about the car. And as a bonus, you get to hear that glorious V8 better, which heightens the experience.
When you first turn on the car, you can literally feel the engine growl. You get the sense that the V8 Vantage Roadster tries as hard as it can to get noticed. Every sensation is fulfilled. Looking at the body with the distinctive lights and that very pomp and circumstance Aston Martin badge evokes a primal lust for the car. You look at it. You instantly want it. Then you drive it.
The first thing you notice when driving the V8 Vantage Roadster is how heavy the steering and throttle pedal are. Compared to modern cars with complicated throttles and steering, the V8 Vantage Roadster feels like a sports car from the 90s. If this car had the standard manual transmission, I would suspect the clutch pedal would also give your left leg quite the workout.
Speaking of which, if you do want this gorgeous car on your driveway, for the love of God, buy it with a stick shift. The seven-speed automated manual is an option that you can just skip over. The transmission feels old compared to newer, double clutch gearboxes since it is slow to react to the paddle shifters. Also, the shifts can feel so jerky you feel like a 15-year-old is learning how to drive on their parent’s manual car.
Sensation is the biggest part of this car. The 4.7-litre engine only makes 420-hp and gets the car and goes from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds but those numbers don’t do the car justice. This car flies – and when you jam on the gas, you’ll be pressed into the seats.
Speaking of the seats, they’re all buttery-smooth, hand-stitched leather. They’re so comfortable that you might not want to leave, even after you get to your destination. No expense was spared – even the diamond-like buttons on the dash are super-premium. The paddle shifters feel heavy at first but you get used to them quickly. But even though you can shift yourself, I would just keep the car in Drive, unless you want to scare pedestrians by downshifting right next to them.
Is this car perfect? Yes! Apart from a few things. Like I said before, the automatic feels very old-fashioned. And some features are more complicated than they need to be. Case in point, I’ve never had to learn how to use a handbrake, but the V8 Vantage Roadster’s is not as simple as you’d think. Although the console and dash are beautiful, some of the buttons are so small that they’re hard to touch, especially when you’re driving.
In reality, these are just small complaints in an otherwise wonderful package. The V8 Vantage Roadster isn’t for the Italian supercar fan who wants to tear up their local racetrack. Top-down cruising is where this car shines. This is one of the best “entry-level” supercars because you have the drop-dead gorgeous looks, an engine note that will wake up all the neighbors, yet still reasonably priced (for a supercar).
The V8 Vantage Roadster doesn’t try to be a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. It may be brash, loud, and very British, but behind all that is a genuine convertible that shows off without getting you instantly thrown in jail. All in all, the 2014 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster is your anti-Toyota Corolla. People will notice you, take pictures, and have big grins as they hear the engine. For the asking price of $100,000, you can’t ask for a better car to really get noticed in.
Thanks again to Midwest Motors. They are located at 540 Cortland Drive, Lake Zurich, IL 60047.
Visit their website at http://www.midwestmotors.com/.