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    Re: Sold my Gen2 PDK C2S and "defected" to Aston Martin

    Ok so how does the Aston MartinV8 Vantage Coupe 4.7 measure up after 2 days of ownership and my first 350miles?

    First and most importantly : how it looks : 10/10
    The car is quite simply stunning. It is the perfect blend of beautiful and sophisticated yet menacing and aggressive at the same time. In two short days I’ve already had countless people stop to talk to me about it and everybody really loves it – young/old, male/female, car nuts/normal people – everybody wants to stop and ask about it! They usually start the conversation with something like “Stunning car mate,…” I had one really lovely old chap walk up to the car, staring at the badge as he approached. As he got within a few yards he said “Can I just ask what it is… Oooo, oh wow its an Aston – very beautiful”… It sure looks a million dollars and makes you feel like it too!
     
    Next, the sound : 10/10
    The engine/exhaust just sounds amazing. I had fuse 22 removed before I drove off the forecourt and have no regrets in this respect. It growls like a TVR at low revs and the mechanical scream when it gets up in the revs is Ferrari like. My unplugged gen1 PSE C2S sounded fantastic but this really is amazing. It’s a very different sound from the Porsche and as incomparable as the cars are as a whole, but the sound is something very special – only a powerful V8 could sound this way. Some people have critisised the sound for making you feel like you are going faster than you really are and for sure it does play tricks on you. I was going 50mph in a 60mph limit this morning and it felt (sounded) so fast that I thought I had better slow down, until much to my surprise I realise I was actually still under the limit! At full throttle it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up!
     
    The ownership experience : 9/10
    Ok this is a bit of a strange order that Ive put things in but these are the 3 areas in which the Aston excels head and shoulders. Yes 2 days in it’s a bit premature to declare such a high score but the quality of the Aston design and style just blows everything else Ive owned out of the water. The first words people say when they get in the Aston are either just “wow”, or “oh my god, this is beautiful". The materials used are real; Aston use a veneer on layers of real wood for the piano trim (you can see it when the sat nav emerges “007 style” from the dash) and real aluminium/magnesium on all the metal bits in the cockpit – if it looks like metal, it is metal! The first impression this gives is miles ahead of anything Porsche achieve with their elegant, well designed and engineered but plastic trim. However, and there is a huge however here, once the first impression has worn off and you begin to look at things in detail the shine dulls a little as its clear where a hand built car cannot ever get close to a “machined to perfection” Porsche. Yes Porsche use painted plastic when Aston use real metal but the Porsche things fit to perfection where as I have had to “hand finish” quite a few minor items myself – something I can say I’ve never had to do in either of my Porsche’s. Everything in the Porsche is exactly the way you would expect it to be too - as for the ergonomics of the Aston, well lets just say they have a few things to learn still. Things using things such as the audio/sat nav/ipod interfaces they are a million miles behind Porsche as everything is hidden behind 5 presses of 3 of the most unintuitive presses of different buttons you could ever imagine. This usually means several incorrect attempts just to do something simple like make a call or zoom in on the sat nav map – all of which isn’t what you need when you are trying to drive. However you can very easily forgive all its little foibles by just sitting back looking around at the sheer beauty of the thing as a whole and realising that for once that “the devil is NOT in the detail”.
     
    Performance / engine / gearbox : 8.5/10
    Whilst there is no doubt that it is not as quick as the gen2 997S PDK its still a very very fast car. Most impressive is the torque on the engine which is just huge (470Nm). The 997 felt light and delicate like a guided missle, the Aston is very muscular and feels like a raging bull – the closest thing Ive had to delivering the power this way was a TVR (also a V8). The power delivery is savage and its rather easy to spin the wheels in the wet if you get a little giddy, yet the car feels very safe and predicable when driven hard (quite unlike a TVR!). The gearbox is a little chunky but quite workable albeit changing gear is quite a physical thing compared to doing so in a 997. The clutch is the weak point if anything, it can be rather unforgiving at times in particular when first setting off but hopefully this will improve with a few miles. Ok, its not fast or as involving as a manual 997 but its 95% as good and for my everyday driving the feed back has returned in droves (-vs- my gen2 PDK car) and I am happy once again J. Sportshift might well have been a good choice for me (as a BMW SMG lover) but after my little PDK emotional journey I wasn’t prepared to take the risk this time. The manual is a tiny bit crude but it is both effective and involving to drive.
     
    Handling : 8.5/10
    I have the sport pack on my car which gives the lightweight 5 spoke alloy wheels (that I love the look of), lowered suspension, firmer bilstein dampers, 45% stiffer springs and a revised rear anti roll bar. There is no doubt it makes the car very capable indeed around corners but to be honest is probably a little too bit hard some of the time. It is somewhere approaching as hard as running sport on PASM but not quite. That said I’ve no regrets as the handling around corners at speed is amazing and the wheels alone which I love are 80% of the cost if ordered separately and would get the same return at sale that the full sport pack option will. The car is such a brute that you don’t think its going to be anything like as capable as the 997 when pushed, but it feels pretty close in fact!
     
    Comfort - The seats 3/10
    This is without doubt the weakest point on the AMV8. They look nice and have plenty of adjustments but woefully lack and any side support whatsoever and no matter how I fiddle I cant get it to support my lower back and hug me the same way the even the basic sports seats in a 997 do without any real effort. I’ve not sat in the Vantage V12’s carbon fibre bucket seats but they look miles more supportive and I think Aston ought to offer these as an alternative on the V8.
     
    Interior Trim 8/10
    This is perhaps the oddest section of all and I touched on the issues above in ownership. On the whole most of the trim is stunning – it feels like no expense has been spared on the materials and construction but then there are parts of the car that clearly have been raided from rather average ford family models and this leaves you feeling rather confused in at times. You don’t notice it at first because the bits that are good are so good that they keep your attention for ages and most people who just have a quick look in will leave very impressed. It is only when you have been in there for a couple of hours you begin to realise that not everything is in playing in the same division. For instance the dials are just a work of pure beauty; they look hand machined from pure aluminium and everything is in perfect balance. The speedo and tachometer unusually go the opposite way around to each other and when cruising at 70mph in 6th gear the needles are in perfect symmetry, balanced at 8pm and 4pm in such a harmonious way that you just know it has been designed to be like that and is certainly no accident. However then you touch the stalk to change one of the trip readouts and its rather obvious that the stalks both look and feel like they came out of a Ford Mondeo and have no place being put in charge of operating a thing of such great beauty. The steering wheel looks nice enough but once you grasp it, it is very apparent that the leather is nothing like the standard of the leather on the dash and seats and I cant help feeling that it too came from a Ford Mondeo albeit with an Aston badge hiding a Ford one underneath. The foot pedal heel-mat is just horrendous, I’ve seen nicer plastic used to house a tray of Cadbury’s chocolates and it just gains scuff marks every time you put your feet anywhere near it – Ive had to resort to boot polish to remove them and make it look new again after only this short time. Even the ECU (Emotion Control Unit – or ignition key to you and me) is both annoying and really impractical but then it is such a thing of beauty that you instantly forgive the sheer stupidity of the thing every time you hold it in your hand and look at it. The sat nav rises from a hidden hatch in the Piano black trim like it is going to give you the current best known coordinates of all the KGB agents in town, and you are for a few moments, blown away with the sheer slickness of the whole thing, but then you realise its nothing more than a rather poor, difficult to use and out of date system which has been super-glued to the back of the rather fine real wood/piano black trim piece. All a bit confusing. The poor points are definitely in the minority but they do take the edge a little off what is otherwise a very impressive place to sit.
     
    Factory Audio 9/10
    I’ve had BOSE on both my gen1 and my gen2 C2S’s and a lot of very good aftermarket audio systems in previous cars. The gen2 BOSE was better than the gen1 BOSE for sure but the Premium Audio on the Aston is much better than either. There is a huge sub behind the passenger seat (on UK cars) with the reflex vent pumping air directly onto the seatback. You can feel the bass pumping throughout the whole car and in the passenger seat it’s like being in a night club when the volume is turned up! The sound is clear and full and is a quantum improvement over the rather average std system offered by in the V8 (which one dealer tried convincing me wasn’t really any different to the Premium Audio - dont believe it, the difference is huge!!!). With the premium Audio you get a 700W amp, 2 additional rear speakers, a centre speaker and that huge sub. The effect of the upgrade is dramatic and the range of adjustment of the sound settings is significantly ahead of the BOSE system, indeed it takes a lot of time in the setting up to get the sound right for the type of music you like and indeed I’m still fine turning to get that “perfect sound. A very impressive system and very good value at £995 if in car audio matters to you.
     
    Overall
    I am really rather liking the Vantage so far! Its just so different to a 997 that its almost silly to try to compare them in many ways - the V8 Vantage excels in some of the areas that the 997 was average at and vice versa. The 997 is the better drivers car but at the moment I would say the Aston feels like something I am significantly more proud to own. At the same time point in owning my gen2 PDK car I already had some worrying doubts in my mind. Whilst the Aston does has a few imperfections they just fade away when you look at it and hear that engine. You feel special once in the car in a way the 997 never managed to achieve. It has everything my gen1 C2S Aero/PSE had and lots more: it looks fantastic; it sounds amazing; and it goes like stink, yet it manages to make you feel a lot more privileged to own and to be driving it. My better half loved the first 997 as much as I did, however she said earlier today “I didn’t think I was going to like the Aston as much as the first Porsche but its now my favourite car that you have had by a long way. I really love it” – and women always know best on such things. I know it’s a bit of a cliché but it really does make you feel like you are Mr Bond. I just hope it proves to be as reliable and as practical as an everyday drive as my 997’s were – there are a few “old school” things about it like having to check the oil with a dipstick every 500miles – I havn’t had to do that on a car for almost 20 years!

     


    Re: Sold my Gen2 PDK C2S and "defected" to Aston Martin

     Great report and pictures!

     

    Congrats, she's a beauty 


    --
    05' C4S

    Re: Sold my Gen2 PDK C2S and "defected" to Aston Martin

    Thanks for your detailed report.

    To be honest with you, after reading your points and the plus and minus of each car, I would never think of owning an Aston Martin instead of a Porsche. Of course it's a matter of priorities for each individual, but at these prices I would expect and require perfection in all aspects.

    Please keep us informed about the fuel efficiency and the maintenance costs/reliability of your new car, so as to have a fuller picture.

    Being in/from the UK makes your decision to buy an Aston Martin more emotional and hence easier to justify.

    Enjoy 007!


    --
    It's not where you're going, it's how you get there that counts


    Re: Sold my Gen2 PDK C2S and "defected" to Aston Martin

    Welcome to AM ownership. I agree with everything you said, however I guess I got more lucky with the seats, no problems here. No one else complained either, but maybe they were just too impressed by the rest

    AM and Porsche are different, one is not better than the other, just depends what you look for. Considering how fast you can/should drive on public roads, I'd rather loose a little performance but have a more unique ownership experience, quirks included

     

    Lovely car you got, enjoy


     
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