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|Until now the price to live life like you were a secret agent was just too high, but one of the advantages of having Ford take over at Aston Martin is that Ford understands competition. Ford has always built its cars while looking over its shoulder to see what GM was doing. If GM was building an affordable sports car for $20,000, then Ford knew it had better build one also. When Ford took over Aston Martin the first thing it did was to look around and see who Aston’s competition was. Low and behold the only company that appeared on the radar besides Ford’s own Jaguar was Porsche. Porsche with their well selling 911 was prime for attack. Aston’s battle plan was simple build an Aston that would still carry the panache of a British spy but would be priced to go head to head with the 911 line.|
Before the 2006 Aston Martin Vantage 8 the least expensive Aston was the $157k Aston DB9. Its not that the DB9 was a bad car it’s that at $157k the competition is the totally over the top Bentley Continental GT. So to increase sales Aston sets it sights on Porsche. They had two reasons, first no other brand is so well recognized as a luxury sports coupe and second Aston’s betting that the same inner motivation that makes men want a very fast car will also make men want a car with the best movie tie in legacy of them all. It is true that the Mustang in Bullet was fast, but James Bond was smart, and no other car will make you feel smarter then an Aston. The only problem was with prices that looked more like beach condos then cars it was hard for a lot of guys to pull the trigger. But this is about to change, with a price of just $108k the Aston is not affordable like a Mazda but it is affordable like a Porsche. Obviously this strategy has worked. Delivery of the Aston Vantage 8 won’t begin till February 2006 and Aston has already taken 4,000 orders, which are twice as many Astons as they will sell this entire year. Aston will sell, thanks to the Vantage8 more cars in the next 5 years then they have sold in their entire history. Clearly the price point wasn’t too low for this brand, which was the mistake Ford made with Jaguar.
The power plant on the Vantage V8 is a 380 horsepower 4.3 liter V8 that rockets to 60 in a DB9 matching 4.8 seconds. Unlike the DB9 that tries to pretend it is a four passenger car, the Vantage makes no mistake here and only comes with two seats. There are some miscues like changing from three to 2 the numbers per row on the phone, and the small foot wells, but overall the entire car is well laid out.
The reality about all Astons is they are intensely sexy automobiles. Few other cars come close to the overall magnetism of an Aston. In the past Aston had to rely on their good looks to get the forgiveness they needed due their bad behavior. Not anymore, this may not be the best Aston ever, but it is a car that a lot of guys who were looking for a luxury car will now consider. The Aston has the feel of a “money is no object” car. Although several other cars have this also, with some even costing less, the Aston differs because it is not an Audi, Lexus or Mercedes it is a car that by its appearance alone, it’s aggressive Mustang like stance, it has that look of exclusivity.
With all of Porsche’s attention focused on the soon to be released Cayman S, maybe they didn’t notice how Aston was going to edge into their mainstay, the 911 customer. What the Aston Vantage brings to the table is exactly what has been for many years the exclusive territory of the 911. It is light, balanced, powerful and self assured. Aston’s customers in the past were limited to the truly well off; just consider that according to company data the average $255k Vanquish V12 buyer owns four other cars. The new Aston changes all that, and though Vantage buyers will probably own at least one other car for the times when the in-laws are in town, the Vantage 8 buyers will purchase them to drive them, not just to own them. With this difference Ford, which has owned Aston for 11 years, has gone all out to make the new Aston Martins much more reliable.
Although James himself might opt for the Vanquish, for most gentlemen, the Vantage will do just fine. Its 50/50 weight distribution makes handling a joy; while its interior is far more luxurious then any of the German brands except maybe the Maybach. With massive 275/35 rear and 235/40 front tires mounted on 19 inch rims the car reeks of testosterone. The bottom line is this; how can any man really find fault with a car, whose trunk was specifically designed to hold two sets of golf clubs?
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Aston Martin Vantage 8
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