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  •   Ben Barry reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Hardcore V8 Vantage: catch it if you can

    TRACK-INSPIRED LIMITED - EDITION GT8 SELLING FAST / WORDS RICHARD MEADEN PHOTOGRAPHY / / #Aston-Martin / #Aston-Martin-Vantage-GTE / #Aston-Martin-Vantage / #Aston-Martin-Vantage-GT8 / #2016

    It might be getting long in the tooth, but the V8 Vantage is showing no signs of losing its bite if the GT8 is anything to go by. Following in the slipstream of its big brother the GT3-inspired GT12, the GT8 is Aston’s road-going interpretation of its #Aston-Martin-Vantage-GTE-World-Endurance-Championship contender.

    Developed by Aston’s Special Projects team, the £165,000 GT8 is a strictly limited-edition model with a production run of 150 cars. Powered by a slightly more powerful iteration of the familiar 4.7-litre naturally aspirated V8, the GT8 has 440bhp and 361lb ft of torque and is available with a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed Sportshift II paddleshift gearbox. Performance? Well, it’ll hit 60mph from a standstill in 4.4sec and storm on to a top speed of 190mph. Presumably on the Mulsanne Straight. So far as suspension and brakes are concerned the GT8 keeps things simple, with fixed-rate dampers (with a suitably track-focused set-up) and cast iron discs, 380mm at the front, 330mm rear. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s and a mechanical limited-slip diff complete the package.

    In keeping with its road-racer vibe, the GT8 focuses on reducing weight to increase performance. Savings come from extensive use of carbonfibre, though to achieve the claimed 100kg saving and 1510kg kerbweight you’ll need many of the cost options. These include a carbonfibre roof, centre-lock forged magnesium wheels, polycarbonate rear screen and side windows, a titanium centre-exit exhaust and carbonfibre sports seats.

    If you go for that little lot you may as well go for the optional aero package and ‘halo’ paint scheme. The former adds a large wing to the rear decklid and an additional lower element to each corner of the front splitter, while the latter gets you brightly coloured accents mimicking those on the GTE race-car. As you can see, it looks the part. Sounds the part, too, according to those who’ve heard it. But then it should do for what amounts to a near-£200k car when optioned to the hilt.

    How will it drive? It won’t have the borderline lunatic performance of the GT12, but experience of that car’s noseheavy weight distribution and limited traction suggest the lighter, less powerful but better-balanced GT8 will be a more biddable machine. We also like the fact you can have it with a manual gearbox, and the old sweet-shifting six-speed unit at that, even though the paddleshift transmission is perhaps more in keeping with a 21st century quasi-racer.

    By the time you read this the chances are all will be sold. If you’re one of the lucky 150, bravo! If you’re not, console yourself with the fact we’ll bring you a full test of the GT8 in the next issue.

    Above and below. Optional aero package adds the large rear wing and the lower elements to the front splitter; ‘halo’ paint scheme adds race-car-style accents.
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  •   Richard Meaden reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    The last great British analogue sports car?

    NORTH AMERICA - ONLY GT IS AN OLD-SCHOOL IT

    Words David Lillywhite. Photography #Aston-Martin / #Aston-Martin-Vantage-GT / #2016 / #USA / #Aston-Martin-Vantage / #Aston-Martin-N430 /

    Unless you’re living stateside, you probably won’t have seen this car before. Built for the north American market only, the 190mph Vantage GT is the US equivalent of the UK-market N430, with a pared-down specification that keeps the starting price under $100,000.

    Does it suffer for being the cheapest Aston that dollars can buy? Not at all. In fact, the vantage is arguably at its best when the deliciously raucous 430bhp 4.7-litre V8 is mated to the six-speed manual transmission rather than to the pricier (by $5000) and rather clunky sportshift automated manual.

    In manual guise, the GT feels like the last of the great British sports cars. It’s the most analogue of any of the current Astons, and arguably of any GT currently on the market, and with that comes a level of driver involvement you don’t find in more remote-feeling machinery.

    So it tears away from rest with a satisfying squirm from the rear tyres and an intoxicating roar from the V8, hitting 60mph in 4.6 seconds; the brakes are excellent, and the electronic traction and stability systems allow indulgent tail-slides.

    Like the N430, the GT comes in a choice of five different colours, with grille, mirrors, rear diffuser blade and (on the coupé) roofline picked out in contrasting hues. Not to everyone’s taste, and neither is the optional GT sidestripe inspired by Aston’s GT4 race-cars, but it does rather suit the exuberant character. Graphite forged alloys wheels and yellow brake calipers complete the look, while the interior features plenty of Alcantara trim. Coupé or roadster? Well, that’s your choice but we’d go for the metal roof, and not just because the drop-top costs an extra $15,000. This is an Aston Martin that’s best served at base level.
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