Aston Martin Driving Experience Gift

Aston Martin V8 Vantage S on Fifth Gear

Fancy driving one of these? Check out the latest Aston Martin V8 Vantage supercar driving experience thrills available from Experience Mad.

To compare it to a 911 Turbo, for sure the turbo would be a lot quicker round a lap, but would it be as fun? I think it’s a close run thing actually. I like it, I like it a lot!” – Jason Plato, Fifth Gear


Meet the V8 Vantage S.

It’s like a standard Vantage with the knobs turned up… to eleven. As it costs £102,000, you’d expect it to have the performance to rival a Porsche 911 Turbo, the benchmark 100k sports car, but it doesn’t. Nope, not even close you see it’s actually slower, less powerful and heavier than a Porsche. It uses more fuel. It’s got less torque, but if I had a pound for every one of you that wants one of these anyway, I’d have enough to buy one myself. Honestly which would you rather be in, the Aston or the Porsche? It’s no accident, Aston Martin have put a lot of effort into making the Vantage S a car you can lust after.

Jason’s gone to the stunning roads of southern Spain where the rain falls mainly on him, to explain exactly what they’ve done. Starting with the car’s 4.7 litre v8. It’s got a bigger engine that you’ll find in the 911 turbo but it’s got 70 BHP less, and that doesn’t mean the Aston engineers have been working half days, it just means that their priorities are different. One of those priorities is to create the best possible noise. Aston Martin employ a man whose job it is to make the car sound horny. Compared to the standard Vantage, the S has a noisier muffler, different exhaust pipes and according to the chap himself, a sound that’s both mellow and sharp.

It’s a feast for the eyes too. The Vantage S is less aerodynamic than the Porsche 911 Turbo, but do you really care when it looks like this? But it’s the chassis where the Aston and Porsche the most different, and here that’s not a good thing. Despite having tighter suspension, quicker steering and a new seven-speed gearbox over the standard v8, the S still isn’t sharp enough for me.

Now there is no doubting this is better than the standard car. It turns in better, it’s got more grip, it feels a little bit more lively. So that’s really good thing, but it’s just lacking something and that’s a little bit of lightness in your hands, and it feels almost a bit heavy, a bit cumbersome. This is a more of a GT kind of car than a supercar. It doesn’t give your third eye a tingle.

Although we haven’t given it a fair crack. Let’s get it on a track and see what it’s really like. Jason takes the car to the Ascari circuit in Italy. It’s the perfect workout for any chassis. “I’m really quite surprised because it’s cornering nice and flat, steering’s really good – got great feel. It’s a completly different animal. The traction, even thoough the circuit’s a little bit damp, traction is really brilliant. If you go a bit too far, it tends to bite, and that’s the sign of a car which has got lots of grip. To compare it to a 911 Turbo, for sure the turbo would be a lot quicker round a lap, but would it be as fun? I think it’s a close run thing actually. I like it, I like it a lot! On the road, I was worried the Aston was just just a collection of kinky noises and sexy shapes. On the track, it’s clear there’s much more to it than that.”

So in making the Vantage S a car to lust after, Aston Martin have also made the car just plain, bloody good!

Fancy driving one of these? Check out the latest Aston Martin V8 Vantage supercar driving experience thrills available from Experience Mad.