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    Drove the Aston Martin Vantage recently...

    I took delivery on my seal gray 997s in May and am loving it. A nice perk that I had not anticipated prior to taking delivery on the car is the "street cred" it gives you as I am always interested in test driving cool cars...I felt a bit more confident walking into the local Aston Martin dealership asking for a test drive of the new Vantage than I would have in my Audi (even though it's a great car as well).

    Anyhow, my curiousity was peaked by all the great press the Vantage has gotten since it's release (touting it as the 911's new rival) and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Without going into an exhaustive review, which is well described in many publications, I'll render my opinion by simply saying....PORSCHE...THERE'S STILL NO SUBSTITUTE. The Vantage is a beautiful car, and the V8 sounds great with hard acceleration...but a week later, that's all that really sticks in my mind. In contrast, I was blown away the first time I drove a 911 S (and I owned an Audi S4 at the time). The easiest way I can describe the feeling of driving a 911s to those who never have is that it's about as close to riding a motorcycle as you can come in a four wheel vehicle in terms of the speed, sound, and feel that you perceive. The Vantage was nice, but much more insulated and has a long way to go in ironing out the wrinkes. In reviews about the current 997 I hear the word "refinement" a lot. It's something you kind of take for granted when you own the car, but 35 years of trial and error with the 911 shows Porsche has learned a lot. I live in Arizona and almost burned my hand on some of the metal interior trim in the Vantage,(not pleasant)...also when parking the car I was told to be very careful "not to pull in too far" as i might scrape the bottom of the car. Whether or not these are things you have to tolerate with exotics/semi-exotics, the reality is most of these kinks have been worked out in the 911 which is an aspect that's really appreciated when you own the car. So in the end, it was great to have the opportunity to drive the Vantage, but I have absolutely no regrets about getting the 911 S. While being a great car, I don't think the Vantage is much of a threat to invade the 911's niche.

    Re: Drove the Aston Martin Vantage recently...

    agree 100% , I had a deposit on the Vantage but after I drove it I asked it back. Now I have ordered a 997TT instead.

    Re: Drove the Aston Martin Vantage recently...

    Not much compares to a Porsche, really. I just drove a Gallardo (e-gear) a couple of days ago and came to the same conclusion. I've done my comparison shopping and will take a Porsche over anything I have driven, including the Gallardo and the Vantage. All that glitters is not gold!

    Re: Drove the Aston Martin Vantage recently...

    Quote:
    aziceberg said:The easiest way I can describe the feeling of driving a 911s to those who never have is that it's about as close to riding a motorcycle as you can come in a four wheel vehicle in terms of the speed, sound, and feel that you perceive.


    Try driving a Caterham, Ariel Atom, or even a Lotus Elise

    Re: Drove the Aston Martin Vantage recently...

    I agree. The only problem this leaves is where to go next....

    Re: Drove the Aston Martin Vantage recently...

    I'm a 997 guy and it is a wonderful car to drive but remember no one car is great for everyone. I have never driven the Vantage and most likely won't as it isn't for me. I'm sure people on a Aston Martin board are saying the same thing about us 997 drivers. Hey thats life and we all will enjoy our 997s.

    Re: Drove the Aston Martin Vantage recently...

    I found a much more indepth review of the 911 vs Vantage on an English Porsche site.......

    1/ Is it worth the extra?
    What you appear to be paying for is the bespoke finish of the car, examples would include...... the solid chunk of metal that sits in the amazing side vents, these follow the side crease that runs along the car, the steel mesh grills in the bonnet, the led lights that are your indicators, an amazing shape full of curves & accents that is only possible with hand finishing, the gearlever surround is real metal, as is the handbrake & the heater controls, the dials are milled from aluminium, everything is covered in top quality stitched leather. The car contains several plaques, hand finished & inspected by "name". IT FEELS VERY VERY SPECIAL TO SIT IN & LOOK AT, BOY YOU GET PLEASURE FROM JUST LOOKING AT THE CAR & KNOWING IT IS YOURS! Although I would also note some quirky things, like the electronic hand brake, which is awkward, fiddly & basically a crap idea!
    Of course the Porsche is manufactured with more "effective " tolerances, there is no doubt in my mind Pork will be more reliable & more functional! For example the Aston has already shown small chips on the metal kick plates & door handle, being solid metal, it will be easy to sort these, but it shows the car won't have the integrity/durability of the Porker, the leather is also showing small marks already. The rear parcel tray is also rattling like a good one on B roads! In fact the Aston will need pampering more! But to be honest, my initial feelings are you want to do just that! I will have to wait on the reliability front, as it is early days. I feel the bespoke special finish & exclusivity can justify the price difference, if this floats your boat!

    2/ The image:
    Because the car is perceived as "BRITISH" and it so rare (not many people have seen an AMV8 on the road) with a 007 image, this car turns you into a minor celebrity! Not in a flash way, rather a we are all british & proud to see one of "our" ultimate marques on the road. Of course there is the same look away mentality (that Pork suffers with) from many, but overall there is a FEELGOOD factor that is lacking from Porsche ownership.
    I'll give you an example, some one from our village spotted the car arrive the night before, you can't see the house/car from the road, but as I was leaving the next day he appeared at the bottom of the drive, having heard the car start, just to see the Aston. This didn't happen with my 996TT & he is a Porsche owner! Now whilst I certainly don't buy a car to impress others, it is nice for them to share in your pleasure rather than scowl at you!

    3/ The driving:
    Now much has been written about the Astons relative lack of performance, I have come out of a Turbo, so am used to serious grunt. Clearly it is not as fast. But intial feelings are that it has enough performance, it feels more than fast enough above 4500 revs and the sound is fantastic. I still love Pork, but this car sounds amazing, it certainly adds to the driving/bonding experience! My car has been "uncorked" so sounds great all the time & has a few more horses!
    Handling: Up to 7/10th the car is fine, the driving position is vastly better than the 996 911, you can get a comfortable position without the steering wheel fouling your knees & the seats are far more supportive. I had a bad habit of holding onto the steering wheel in the Turbo, not so in the Aston, I can get a near perfect position. What is bad is you can't see the front end, so it is very hard to place in tight spaces, getting into the garage is a nightmare!! The steering is nice & meaty & the wheel chunky to hold, but it doesn't give you the detail of a 911 & there is also the occasional kick back. Push above 7/10th's & you notice the car start to pitch & float, it still tracks straight & true, the 49/51 weight distribution is evident by the way it goes round bends all of a one, but the float & pitch is a little unnerving. My feeling is it is virtually the same as a 996 series on standard suspension, but not as good as the 030 sports suspension which I have always championed, also not quite as good as the 997S. You will note that the UK comparison tests had the 997 on the optional sports suspension with ceramic brakes, this is one reason why it won the test so cleanly. So if you have 996 with 030, or a C4S, TT, GT3 then they are a better drivers car from a suspension/feedback point of view. Although the Aston isn't ultimately as good when you really push the car (this is when Pork really comes alive) it is better & more fun flowing between bends at 6-7/10th with the V8 howling, it is more balanced & fluid than Pork, so you can enjoy the driving more at lower speeds! In the Aston 2nd will rev to 75 & 3rd to 103mph, so you only need two gears for most B roads, but it does mean at 30mph you really need 1st (47-ish mph) to blast off & at 50-60 you still need 2nd to get lift off . This car thrives on revs & goes through to 7300rpm, but it doesn't rev as fast as Pork, although it makes a refreshing change from the Turbo. So the gearing is a bit long & you need to keep it revving to get performance, but that isn't a hardship as it sounds so fantastic. The gearbox is very clunky, but positive. It feels great really interactive, adds to the driving experience, you feel you are "really driving" this car! But as it is heavy it is hard to make very fast changes smoothly & the foot-well is also tighter than Pork, my left foot keeps catching the foot- rest when pressing the loud pedal.
    The overall ride quality is much better than Pork, especially 030 (let alone x-74!!) so it is much more comfortable, but it does suffer from a really aggravating pitching bobbing movement over lightly bumpy roads. I am starting to get used to this, but initially it is very unpleasant & the biggest flaw (so far) for me, although the other half doesn't notice it & just prefers the comfort offered by the Aston!
    The dealer & practical stuff: Service is Pounds750 a pop, it does about 15 mpg, the rear hatch/boot make it much more practical to use than a 911, the dealer I have used (from a sales perspective) is light years ahead of Porsche they seem to actually care about your business & nothing is too much trouble, they even phone you back! I have yet to sample the service, but my OPC was always fabulous for service, so will be hard to equal...if not sales! the spec is good, standard stereo is great, I would never have specced rear park sensors, but as they are standard, I have found them to be great, as with pork it has all the other usual toys.. most on the options list!

    Summary: My feeling is I need to adapt to the cars high revving nature, I don't think it will give me as much ultimate B road buzz as an 030 specified 911, TT or the 997S, but it has so many other compensating factors (the looks, ride, interior, feel-good factor, exhaust note etc) that first impressions are positive. As they say you pays your money you takes your choice. But with second hand prices of AMV8's getting more reasonable, 55 plates will soon be near to O.P.C.'s well specified 55 plate 997C4S's, makes you think !
    Of course after 6 different types of Pork, I am still a Porsche fan first & foremost, but Aston have created something different here, it isn't really a direct competitor for the 911, rather something of the british bulldog/yorkshire bull terrier swathed in fine clothes (looks fabulous but a bit of a brute underneath), rather than a German Doberman (more agile & what you see is what you get).
    Ultimately it is a very "special" car & it gets under your skin!

    The Mrs has the final say......Her summary is.."better to behold, admire and sit in (loves the ride quality & special leather swathed interior), still too fast for her liking, loves the sound & the feel good factor, but... makes her feel more nervous in the corners"!

    Re: Drove the Aston Martin Vantage recently...

    So would you guys prefer to buy a 997S if it is about the same price? Here in Australia the difference between 997S and the Aston is only 5%.

    Re: Drove the Aston Martin Vantage recently...

    Quote:
    WAY said:
    So would you guys prefer to buy a 997S if it is about the same price? Here in Australia the difference between 997S and the Aston is only 5%.



    I would for sure. A normal Carrera is already a much better car. Of course if looks only count...
    I canceled my order for the Vantage and was planning to order a Carrera 4S instead , after speccing it I came so close to the Turbo price I decided to go for the 997TT.

    Vantage is very beautiful and drives OK , but OK is difficult to accept in comparison with GREAT for the 911.

    Re: Drove the Aston Martin Vantage recently...

    P-Cars, especially 911's are not too common down-under but A-M's are extremely rare.(saw a DB-9 at Crown casino last week). Did not even bother test driving it when ordering my 997 last November. I guess I'm like a lot of others when it comes down to brand loyalty... we're just narrow minded when it comes to upgrading our cars or changing cars. We set ourselves on the next model in thr P-car range and don't even consider other marques. No regrets for me though.... about to unleash the "beast", now that I've done 2920km's!

    Re: Drove the Aston Martin Vantage recently...

    This is my feeling... it's something that is better left in a friend's garage. Yes it is great to sit in, look at and feel good about but it's not a visceral car. I am also afraid that I would love it when I have it today and for the next 2 weeks but I would grow tired and out of it after a year or two. Not so for a Porsche.

    Re: Drove the Aston Martin Vantage recently...

    Guys I think you are being rather blinkered, Porsche's are fabulous cars, no doubt & I LOVE them, but don't just discount other brands out of hand when you haven't even driven them , or have only had a short test drive.
    The Aston Vantage V8 is a fabulous car & still great as drivers machine. the 997S may be a more accomplished drivers car than the V8, but not by that much & the Aston knocks the Porsche for six when it comes to exterior & interior design.
    Overall it is a draw, so you pay's your money & take your choice, but don't believe for one minute that anything short of a GT3 or Turbo would loose an V8 accross country, ain't going to happen! Credit where credit due, Aston have done a good job with the AMV8.

     
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