WORDS: ABHISHEK KULKARNI
PHOTOGRAPHY KUNAL KHADSE
“It’s much sharper than the db11 which we drove a few months ago, and just feels more focussed”
Just like James Bond in Licence To Kill, this car gets rid of all your problems for you. In this case, by involving you in a driving experience unlike any other
The name’s Bond… James Bond. That’s when it all began for me, my love for Aston Martins. Ever since the prominent appearance of the DB5 in ‘Goldfinger’, the Aston Martin name has etched itself deeply in every car aficionado’s heart. Bond’s trusty sidekick has been a emblem of true British craftsmanship in automobilia and the name has carried around itself a certain air of elegance and lavishness. And this is not the first time URBANE gets to whiff in that air. Our first encounter with an Aston was the proper ‘James Bond Machine’, the DB11 which you can read about in our May ‘18 issue. Since then, the itch to experience another one of these fine, exquisite machines remained at the back of my head for ages.
Imagine my surprise when one lazy Sunday afternoon, I get a call to drive the 2019 Vantage! Ecstatic, I rush to the location and spot the crimson creature from afar. I was already in my suit, as usual, and the Bond vibes were creeping into my veins with every passing step I took towards the car. Enough about me though. Let’s move on to the styling, which has been the biggest talking point about the car. Aston Martin has always been stringent when it comes to the classic design language of their line up, only letting loose a couple of time for the Valkyrie and Vulcan. But with this new Vantage, the company has shifted its spectrum entirely, making the 2019 Vantage look properly futuristic. Some might even question if you’re driving a concept car around. That’s the ‘new cool’ which comes with this Vantage. Where you’d usually find a chromed-grille on any other car, this one has an aggressive, angled snout, paired with, dare I say, a rather dull pair of eyes. The rear, however, looks fantastic and unique with the tail lights hugging the back entirely. And the shoulders jut out which makes the car look muscular, even at standstill.
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage was first introduced in 1977, as ‘Britain’s first supercar.’ The latest generation is no different, save for its guts, which comes all the way from Germany. Yes, it gets the insane 4.0-litre quad-cam twin-turbo V8 from Mercedes-AMG, which I personally feel is the best V8 out there right now. The front-mid-mounted engine lets 503 horses run wild and shoves you way back into those intimately stitched leather seats. Speaking of which, once you’re into the cabin of the Vantage, it can overwhelm you. There are buttons. Lots of them! With the world shifting their focus on touchscreens which control every aspect of the car, Aston Martin, on the other hand, maintains traditions with nice clickety buttons. In fact, even the transmission selector is laid out at the centre console.
The new powerplant is mated to an eight-speed auto arranged as a transaxle. The blistering catapult to 100 kmph takes just 3.6 seconds which has the potential to make James Bond wet his suit, and spearheads to a butch-guy-shrieking-like-a-girl top speed of 315kmph. It’s a British sports car after all. It is going to scare you. But the way it handles corners can just be described as beautiful. It’s much sharper than the DB11 which we drove a few months ago, and just feels more focussed. Now in the limited time I spent with the car, I couldn’t really test its limits. But like a proper sports car, it gets three driving modes - Sport, Sport +, and Track. The Vantage makes you feel like Bond in more ways than one, with the techno-wizardry that goes on inside the cabin.
The infotainment system, also borrowed from Mercedes, works seamlessly. And one can opt from a lot of different options for how your spanking new Vantage should look like. All that aside, this entry level Aston starts at a whopping Rs. 2.95 crore ex-showroom. And at that price point, the company aims to sell just 15 to 20 units in India. You could argue that one could get a faster, more technical, or more luxurious car for that price or lesser. But that won’t look like this Aston Martin. Neither would it make people swoon like this Vantage does. And it isn’t just a looker, but a sensational performer as well, keeping everyone, from purists to tech-savvy enthusiasts, and whoever falls in between, immensely happy. Now the itch to drive another car from this British automaker’s stable begins.