The Aston Martin V8 Vantage Ė The Secret Agent

My name is Chris, and this Aston Martin V8 Vantage is my weapon of choice. Iíve always lusted after the Vantage ever since it was released in 2006. The design was inch perfect; it was a bespoke Savile Row suit personified in automotive form. The delicious 4.3L V8 that roars into life then settles into a throaty purr at idle. I canít help but feel superbly classy whenever I drive the car. When you press the start button, and the exotic instrument cluster says Power, Soul, Emotion, you canít help but feel you are driving something special, and yet quintessentially British. Letís start from the beginning, from when I first purchased the Aston Martin.



Exterior


The Aston Martin was originally obsidian black, but I had a respray in Lamborghini Grigio; a special kind of grey thatís eye catching yet subtle. Black paint is really hard to maintain anyway, and an Aston Martin looks best in steely, stiff upper lip silver or grey. I then had an expensive carbon fibre lip kit and front grill fitted, to add some aggression to that dapper front end.


A carbon fibre ducktail wing was also added for that extra curvature on the rear. All the indicators and UK-spec reflectors were blacked out, along with the factory diffuser, to ensure the monotone look. The red rear tail lights were swapped out for clear versions to keep colour uniformity throughout the car.


Engine and Suspension


The V8 doesnít need more power, with 380hp on tap from the factory. However I thought it could sound a lot better, so I had the factory exhaust system replaced with a custom made one. Now it makes a thrilling noise every time the throttle is applied. With the roar of the V8 up front and the intoxicating exhaust note behind me, it was aurally captivating to drive.


When the V8 Vantage was released, the press gave it very favourable reviews in terms of looks, styling and power. However, in the handling department, most people favoured the Porsche 911, its rival. I could see why, as the Aston wasnít built to be an out and out sportscar. Itís actually pretty comfortable on stock suspension, and Iíd happily drive long hours or through traffic with it. That meant it wasnít as capable as I liked on the twisties, so I had the shock absorbers replaced with custom Bilstein ones, and fitted H&R lowering springs to suit the setup. Coupled with black 19in Brixton Forged WR7 monoblock wheels, the transformation was visually dramatic.


Tyres


With the wheels, I ordered the brand new Bridgestone Potenza S007A. I love anything James Bond related now I have an Aston, and the 007 inclusion is spot on. It replaces the previous S001, meaning itís a quiet, sophisticated premium tyre thatíll eat up miles in silence and comfort, yet has high performance grip.


The difference was immediate the second I drove the car out from the Bridgestone tyre centre. Gone was the previous tyresí chundering road noise, and despite the thin sidewalls, cat eyesí on the roads were no longer spine damaging. Combined with the Bilstein suspension, the steering became quick and laser focused, responding to every input immediately. The original suspension made it a bit lazy off centre, but now the Vantage is alert, ready to carve a line through corners or traffic.



Future mods


Where to from here? As is, the Vantage is currently perfect for me, but I think I can do with more power. That entails a lot more planning and budgeting, as miscellaneous items such as brakes and more suspension work will be required for the car to handle more power. In the meantime, Iíll just enjoy driving around this very special piece of British engineering.


For more information on the Bridgestone Potenza Adrenalin RE003, click HERE.


LINKS:

Bridgestone Australia - www.bridgestonetyres.com.au/

Bridgestone Australia Facebook - www.facebook.com/BridgestoneAU