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Aston Martin V8 Vantage – Clive Sutton Market Report

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Clive Sutton Market Price from £35,000 (2005 car, 25,000 miles)

aston martin v8 vantage

What is it?

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage is the entry level Aston Martin. The firm’s rival to the Porsche 911, it is all about looks and sound. It makes an incredible noise, whether in early 4.3-litre V8 form or the later and more powerful 4.7-litre V8.

I’d argue it’s a modern, more upmarket interpretation of the classic TVR. It is often bought by former owners of TVRs, who have since made their money and been able to trade up.

Who buys it?

Buyers looking at a Porsche 911 or a Mercedes SL 55 AMG (or later SL 63 AMG) tend to look at the Vantage too. By prioritising low running costs and ease of use, Aston Martin has been able to draw them in with the V8 Vantage. However, it is worth noting that a good number have since traded back to the German alternatives. The beauty and sound alone was not enough to keep them in the brand due to early issues with quality and reliability.

What is the model range like?

The Vantage range was originally centred around the standard V8 Vantage coupe. Here, I prefer the later 420bhp 4.7-litre models, on sale from 2008. The gearing on 380bhp 4.3-litre models is rather compromised, and the frequent need to stir the lever is not in keeping with the muscular nature of an Aston. It’s also worth noting that the Sportshift semi-automatic gearbox software was updated for 4.7-litre cars. It’s smoother, but still not quite the finished article. Buyers tell me they’re lukewarm about semi-autos. They’re neither one thing nor the other, lacking the smoothness of a full auto and the involving control of a manual. My advice is to buy as late as possible: Aston Martin is constantly developing the software in the gearbox.

The V8 Vantage Roadster alternative arrived in 2007, with a beautifully integrated fabric roof that lowers in just 18 seconds – and can be operated at speeds of up to 30mph. This was a shift away from the traditional open-top ‘Volante’ Aston Martin, with the V8 Vantage Roadster intentionally being a slightly sportier car than the coupe. Traditionally, V8 Vantage Roadsters have been rarer than the coupe, but numbers are growing. Buyers also actually seem to prefer the coupe, although this is slowly starting to change, as the car falls into more enthusiasts’ hands.

How did the model range develop in its lifetime?

The mighty V12 Vantage joined the range in 2009: £135,000 price tag apart, it’s a real connoisseur’s car that is such a special model, I’ve covered it in a separate section for my Market Report.

The Vantage S, an addition to the range in 2011, marked the start of the development of the core V8 Vantage range. It only had 10bhp more, giving it 430bhp, but it had a series of changes to the suspension which transformed it into a near-perfect driving machine. A true rival to the Porsche 911 at last, it was only hindered by its six-figure price tag. Aston Martin argued the standard seven-speed Sportshift gearbox, sat nav and subtle carbon fibre styling additions made this extra spend worth it, but it was still too much for some customers.

And for 2012, Aston Martin has finally woken up and smelled the coffee. The firm has revised the standard V8 Vantage, taking many of the suspension enhancements of the more expensive Vantage S, blending them with a mild styling update and, crucially, lowering the price to a far more sensible entry ticket of £85k. This version of V8 Vantage really is the real deal and I look forward to them arriving on the enthusiast market as it’s a real rival to the Porsche 991 911.

Which model do you recommend?

The later 4.7-litre V8 Vantage is the pick of the V8 Vantage range. It has the better gearing and a perfectly honed engine, while the revisions to the interior centre console made it much easier to use. Aston also replaced the sat nav system in 2011 with a far more intuitive setup, meaning buyers will do well here to buy as late a car as possible.

The V12’s heady price ticket remains lofty for a Vantage, so I look forward to seeing these age a little to find used examples at more sensible price points.

What colours and trims do you recommend?

For some buyers, part of the Aston Martin appeal is the James Bond look. For that reason, Tungsten Silver and Meteorite Silver Grey take more than half of Vantage sales. If you do want something else – well, you can get away with blue, and we’re beginning to see a few brave buyers taking up white.

What should I avoid?

Red. It’s an absolute no-no if you ever want to re-sell a Vantage.

Aston also offers a bespoke paint service, meaning you can choose any colour you like. For example, some buyers specified Ferrari or Bentley colours. The trouble is, the configurator at franchised dealers was poor – it was little more than a box of colour samples and leather trim cuttings. This made it hard for car buyers to visualise the final result of their choices, meaning some of those early adopters chose colour combinations that, today, are virtually unsaleable. For example, I’ve seen bright red interiors, totally mismatched to the exterior colour. Best though to play safe and stick with 007 silver.

Summer 2012 Market Report values update

The baby Aston is also the bargain of the range. This is the cheapest way of getting into a modern Aston Martin and appeals to growing numbers of sports car fans because of this.

The current starting price is £35,000 – that’s the CS Market Price for a 2005 model that will have covered around 25,000. This represents an enormous amount of very appealing car for the money, particularly as the V8 Vantage still has the ‘current’ look about it. With a private plate, most non-experts would not realise you’ve spent £50k less than a brand new one.

I am starting to see a lot of interest for such 2005 model V8 Vantages. To be able to buy a modern-look Aston Martin as dramatic as this for less than the price of a nearly new BMW M3 is tantalising beyond belief, and it is thus gaining plenty of interest. It is also seen as more ‘approachable’ than the V12 DB9.

Prices for subsequent years are fair too: they rise slowly for 2006 cars, and then increase by between £5,000-£10,000. The mileage plummets too, although this is less of a worry with a modern Aston Martin. There may be electrical grumbles but the basic engineering is very solid.

The premium for early Roadsters is around £3,000, rising to a cap of £5,000 for later models. This is fair and makes a Roadster very appealing alongside its hard-top sibling. Remember, Roadsters have often covered fewer miles than the coupe too.

Just be wary of 2011 cars. The CS Market price for these is £75,000 and £80,000 respectively – but, earlier this year, Aston Martin reduced the price of the standard V8 coupe significantly, down to £85k. This will undoubtedly have an impact on the secondhand market, so I would advise caution when buying a nearly-new car: make sure you know exactly what you are getting relative to a similar spec new car.

Most early cars were heavily specced by speculators and they often ticked lots of options boxes, which can sway advertised prices, but I’d be careful about paying much extra now. Here, I’ve assumed an average spec car, with must-haves such as sat-nav and phone kit. As cars get older, options become less about value, and more about the difference between the car selling or not.

Things to look out for

  • Camcover gaskets often leak
  • First and second gear synchromesh in early cars can be troublesome. This should have been fixed under warranty
  • Roadsters are more expensive to insure, which can be a reflection of the type of driver, the sort of use they get, and possible attraction of vandals. They’re a bit more of a weekend car than the Coupes
  • There may be very attractive leasing deals still available on brand-new V8s, which is having an impact on nearly new prices
  • Main dealer servicing costs are the most affordable of all supercars here, at £1,442. This fits in with Aston’s affordability aims
  • Extending the warranty is half the price of a Ferrari, at £1,724, but a Porsche is cheaper still

 

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