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- Highs Show-stopping appearance, engrossing driving character, speedy and soulful powertrain.
- Lows Build quality misses expectations, noisy cabin on the highway, trickier than rivals to drive fast.
- Verdict The Vantage provides the attention and antics that its pedigree and price tag imply.
There's an elite group of sports cars that deliver driving thrills and looks to kill, and the 2020 Aston Martin Vantage is one of them. With sculpted bodywork that appears both aggressive and beautiful, this entry-level (if there is such a thing) Aston Martin lives up to is lofty pedigree. The rear-drive coupe is powered by a thunderous twin-turbo V-8, but only the track-ready AMR model offers a manual transmission. Although alternatives from Porsche and Mercedes-AMG offer more approachable performance heights, the Aston provides a longer leash for sideways and smoky antics. The 2020 Vantage may not be the most sophisticated sports car available today, but it's one of the feistiest and flashiest.
What's New for 2020?
For 2020, Aston Martin only makes some small changes to the Vantage. It's now available with carbon-ceramic brakes that are made to withstand very high temperatures and resist fade. In addition to saving 53 pounds versus the standard cast-iron rotors, the newly optional discs also bring a revised master cylinder and brake booster that Aston Martin says reduce brake-pedal travel. Other changes include new packages for interior and exterior personalization. The limited-edition 2020 Vantage AMR is also all new and includes an exclusive seven-speed manual transmission, in addition to other unique styling and equipment.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
While the 2020 Vantage lineup is basically a one-car show, a limited-edition AMR model is also available for an extra $27,000. Since only 200 copies of the Vantage AMR will be sold, we'll focus on the regular version. The majority of its options are personalized exterior and interior treatments, which are obviously subjective. The other options include carbon-ceramic brakes, heated front seats, or heated and ventilated front seats. We'd choose the latter to help keep our backsides hot and cold on demand.
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Beneath the Vantage's clamshell hood lies a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 that is supplied by Mercedes-AMG. This engine develops 503 horsepower and 505 lb-ft of torque, which is sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Vantage AMR features a dog-leg seven-speed manual. (A dog-leg manual places the gears used most frequently in a double H pattern like that of a conventional six-speed manual.) Removing the automatic transmission creates a purer experience from the powertrain, but also has an added performance benefit of removing 209 pounds of weight. The Vantage's V-8 sounds beautiful, too, starting with a low baritone rumble at idle and finishing with a high-strung shriek as it nears its redline. An electronically controlled limited-slip differential and adaptive dampers are standard. The Vantage is tail-happy but predictable, which makes it hilariously good fun on a race track; the suspension is compliant enough for daily-driver duty, although harsh bumps will be obvious to passengers no matter which drive mode is selected for the adaptive dampers. Unfortunately, the optional carbon-ceramic brakes are less amicable during daily driving. While they're excellent when enlisted for track duty, the upgraded brakes are too grabby for everyday use.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The 2020 Vantage isn't as thirsty for fuel as its powerful V-8 engine might suggest. The EPA estimates it'll earn 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. For comparison, those numbers are identical to the Porsche 911 Carrera S and a couple better than the Mercedes-AMG GT coupe. However, we haven't tested the Vantage's real-world fuel economy on our 200-mile highway route.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The exterior theatrics continue inside with upscale materials and countless custom options. It's easy to spend money on the Vantage: Aston Martin offers fancy options such as a full-leather interior, heated and ventilated seats, a carbon-fiber steering wheel, embroidered headrests, and several different options for interior trim, among many other features. The cockpit is snug for two, but it's lined with leather and faux suede. Likewise, sport seats with power adjustments and memory settings are standard. Still, its luxury experience is diminished by poor noise isolation on the highway. Interior cubby storage is also scarce except for a shallow center-console bin and door pockets.
Infotainment and Connectivity
An 8.0-inch display sprouts from the top of its dashboard and is primarily controlled via a rotary knob and buttons on the center console. The Vantage's infotainment system also includes an Aston Martin audio system, Bluetooth compatibility, and built-in navigation. While an upgraded audio system and touchpad are optional, popular features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are absent.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2020 Vantage hasn't been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Although the coupe doesn't offer a full suite of driver-assistance technology, it can be equipped with several safety features that include:
- Available 360-degree camera system
- Available blind-spot monitoring
- Available self-parking assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
While Aston's standard warranty isn't very impressive, especially since complimentary maintenance is not included, the company does offer extended-coverage plans for extra money.
- Limited warranty covers three years and unlimited miles
- Powertrain warranty covers three years and unlimited miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2020 Aston Martin Vantage
front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door hatchback
$156,081; AMR, $183,081
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
243 in3, 3982 cm3
503 hp @ 6000 rpm
461 or 505 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
7-speed manual, 8-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 106.5 in
Length: 175.8 in
Width: 76.5 in
Height: 50.1–50.2 in
Passenger volume: 47 ft3
Cargo volume: 10 ft3
Curb weight (C/D est): 3600–3725 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 3.3–3.8 sec
100 mph: 7.5–8.0 sec
1/4 mile: 11.5¬–11.9 sec
Top speed (mfr's claim): 195–200 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)
Combined/city/highway: 19–20/17–18/23–24 mpg