🔒 The $191K Aston Martin Vantage is great, but it may not be enough

In a rain-soaked encounter in Seville, Spain, the 2025 Aston Martin Vantage makes a bold impression with its chiselled design and revamped interior. Amidst the racing excitement at Circuito Monteblanco, it faces the uphill battle of reclaiming Aston Martin’s financial stability. Yet, with increased horsepower and upgraded performance, this third-generation Vantage aims to reignite the brand’s allure, promising a thrilling drive despite lingering challenges. Is this the dawn of a new era for Aston Martin?

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By Hannah Elliott

I was inclined to love the 2025 Aston Martin Vantage at first sight when I met it on a damp April day in Seville, Spain. The $191,000 coupe’s welterweight body is more chiseled than its predecessor’s, with hypercar-inspired LED headlamps and 21-inch wheels split into spokes, plus new air vents on the side and hood. It’s wider, too, with the grille stretched into the grin of a Guy Ritchie bruiser. ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

Even better, as I discovered when I jumped inside for laps at the Circuito Monteblanco racetrack before winding about 100 miles through Andalusia: Aston has at last overhauled its poorly designed infotainment system in favor of a single instrument display. And in the old cars, you had to push different buttons to change gears. It was not intuitive and a bit infantilizing. Now there’s a single lever, as God intended.

But it’s going to take more than a pretty new face and a gearshift to reverse the fortunes of Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings Plc, which since the company’s 2018 initial public offering have wavered between measured optimism and abject despair. Aston hasn’t reached profitability since then and has faced high executive turnover. It misjudged production volumes on uncompetitive products, failed to scale and suffered from supply chain defects and a precarious cash balance, Bloomberg analyses show. The carmaker needs something drivers will choose over the segment-topping $197,200 Porsche 911 Turbo and $177,050 Mercedes AMG GT 63.

That’s a steep hill to climb, I thought as I pushed the car into Turn 1 of the track. I could feel its rear end agitating, the wheels working to stay planted on pavement wet from a surprise deluge. Maybe it’s all too little, too late.

Now, I should note the company still has plenty going for it: a charismatic billionaire boss in Lawrence Stroll, plus a Formula One racing team and a prestigious 113-year heritage. The last is an especially valuable marketing tool and offers a font of institutional knowledge that money can’t buy. Wealthy shareholders in Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which owns 20.5% of the company, have pledged £200 million ($250.5 million) in funding and gobs of patience. Its handsome sports cars are synonymous with James Bond himself.

New products such as this third-generation Vantage could be the final piece of the puzzle to get the brand back in the black. The car’s improved performance over the previous generation and strategically elevated pricing (up 9%) are intended to nudge average sales margins to 40%.

After driving the car for a day on the track and off, there’s no doubt it surpasses its predecessor in attitude and grit. The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 gets 656 horsepower, up 30% from the previous model, and 590 pound-feet of torque, 15% more. It’s stiffer and has less propensity to understeer; a new suspension keeps it relatively agile.

Top speed is 202 mph, with a 0-to-60 sprint time of 3.4 seconds. I hit 143 mph on the front straight at Monteblanco. That convinced me this car could handle itself on the starting line—but it still wasn’t as fast as that 911 Turbo (2.7 seconds 0 to 60) or AMG GT 63 (3.1 seconds).

On the raceway, I felt like I wasn’t driving the Vantage so much as it was driving me, and I realized somewhere around my third lap it’s because I’ve grown so used to cars with rear-wheel steering. That setup makes me feel like a better driver than I am, because it keeps the car on rails. This mid-engine rabble-rouser lacks it and thus feels analog—wild, even. It barks and plunges midturn; it dives into corners like an adolescent pit bull still learning its own body. It’s fun, but it gets tiring.

Three hours later, I was happy to hit the highway. In the Vantage, fat A-pillars flanking the front windshield created such massive blind spots that Monteblanco’s famous coils became a chore of craning my neck. The turns also revealed the car’s considerable heft of 1,605 kilograms (3,538 pounds). It felt like trying to figure-skate while wearing a backpack.

The Vantage settled into a more relaxed stance as I wound through rust-colored Iberian hills; its 50-50 weight distribution and shortened drive ratio on the eight-speed transmission kept me engaged even as jet lag began to catch up to me.

This rolling rural tract is where the car excelled with its big, comfortable cabin—and I paused to snap photographs of its taut curves against the slate sky. The Vantage needs to surpass its German rivals for driving pleasure and engagement. It doesn’t. But its clear improvements hint at brighter times for Aston Martin. I could see that even on a rainy day in Spain.

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