Aston Martin's new V

models

Aston Martin Vantage and DB11 Volante
Aston Martin DB11 Volante, 2018, front, action
Aston Martin DB11 Volante, 2018, side, hood up
Aston Martin DB11 Volante, 2018, rear, action
Aston Martin DB11 Volante, 2018, interior
Aston Martin DB11 Volante, 2018, side
Aston Martin Vantage, 2018, front, action
Aston Martin Vantage, 2018, front, cornering
Aston Martin Vantage, 2018, side, action
Aston Martin Vantage, 2018, side, static
Aston Martin Vantage, 2018, rear, static
Aston Martin Vantage, 2018, interior
Aston Martin Vantage, 2018, display screen
Aston Martin Vantage, 2018, instrument panel
Aston Martin Vantage, 2018, centre console controls
Aston Martin Vantage, 2018, starter button
Aston Martin Vantage, 2018, sill plate
Aston Martin Vantage, 2018, badge

BACK in 2015 Aston Martin announced its Second Century Plan, a programme to replace every new model in its range.

The idea was to deliver seven new models in seven years - and the latest is the all new Aston Martin Vantage.

The plan seems to be working well because the Vantage comes hard on the heels of the DB11 Volante, the convertible version of the DB11 coupe.

And in the near future there will be Aston's first SUV, the DBX, as well as electric models under its new Lagonda brand.

The Vantage and the Volante are two very different cars although they share the same the same twin turbo V8 engine and eight-speed gearbox.

And while the Volante is the epitome of an elegant, high performance 2+2 Grand Tourer the Vantage is a more macho out and out two-seater sports car.

Get behind the wheel of the Volante and you soon realise it's much the longer of the two cars although there is barely any difference in their width.

With 510bhp under the bonnet it boasts a top speed of 187 miles per hour and will hit 62mph in just 4.1 seconds.

For most convertible drivers, however, it's all about image and the Volante - priced at a whisker under £160,00 - is one of those cars that just oozes style.

With its elegant long bonnet, neat rear end and eight-layer canvas hood that stows away completely out of sight in just 14 seconds it looks good from every angle, hood up or down.

In fact you get the feeling that this car would always be more at home on the roads of the south of France than in England, especially as there is remarkably little wind buffeting when driving with the roof down.

The interior is pure up-market luxury with beautifully sculptured leather seats, a dramatic dashboard with the gearshift buttons built into it - P (park), R (reverse), N (neutral) and D (drive) - as there is no gearshift as such.

Push the dashboard starter button and the big V8 roars into life assuring you there is power aplenty on tap.

Hit the accelerator hard on the open road and the Volante drops a couple of gears and throws you back in your seat as it takes off for the horizon. Drive it gently and it skips quickly through its eight gears rapidly to deliver impeccably quiet and well mannered low speed motoring.

And that's the nice thing about Aston Martins. They boast the performance to match almost anything on the road but around town they are as comfortable and easy to drive as your average family hatchback.

"Our cars are not meant to be uncomfortable at low speed," David King, the company's vice president and chief special operations officer, said.

The same characteristic applies to the Vantage, despite its harder image.

The moment you get into the Vantage you realise just how compact it is compared to the DB11.

The lack of any space in the rear means the interior seems to wrap itself around you like a traditional two-seater British seat-of-the-pants sports car.

And while the dashboard layout of the car is different to the DB11, particularly with its squared off steering wheel, it retains the same push button gear changes.

The all new Vantage has a 503bhp V8 which gives a 0-62mph acceleration time of 3.6 seconds on its way to a top speed of 195 miles per hour.

It's handling is superb and it goes exactly where you point it no matter how sharp the bend, even if it's ride - after all this is more of a sports car - is harsher than the DB11's.

If it appeals it will set you back £120,000, making it the lowest priced Aston Martin you can buy.

In many ways it's the most important car the company has launched because it's the volume seller for the brand and has to do well.

Meanwhile the Midlands-based company's design team is working on everything from submarines and power boats to apartments in Miami and even London buses.

And if you think Aston Martins are expensive spare a thought for those customers buying from the dealership in Jordan. A 100 per cent tax means they have to pay double the UK price for their cars.

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