What to Buy: Aston Martin V8 Vantage (2006–16)
From the May 2021 issue of Car and Driver.
Aston Martin's gorgeous Vantage could sell on looks alone if it weren't such a compelling car to drive too. Developed under Ford ownership, the entry-level Aston borrowed a few obvious bits from the corporate parts bin, such as the spindly Jaguar key and the Volvo fob and navigation unit. Yet it still captures nearly all the specialness of the twice-as-expensive DBS and Vanquish. Building each Vantage by hand took 200 hours, and the attention to detail shows in the spectacular leather interior, the swan doors that open with a dignified 12-degree upswing, and the machined-aluminum gauges. Aston Martin overhauled Jaguar's AJ 4.2-liter V-8 for Vantage duty, giving it a larger bore and a shorter stroke, an additional 80 horses, and a 7300-rpm rev limiter (up from 6200 rpm). The 380-hp 4.3-liter V-8 grew to 4.7 liters and 420 horses for 2009. You want one with the six-speed manual transmission, because a ripping, naturally aspirated V-8 only improves when you combine it with a stick.