A sports car’s primary mission is to make the driver feel behind the wheel, and the beautiful 2022 Aston Martin Vantage does all that while making heads turn everywhere it goes. Its sensual shape–available with a fixed roof or a retractable soft top–is classic sport’s car stuff, with a long hood and wide haunches. What’s under that clamshell hood: a 500-plus-hp twin-turbo V-8 sourced from Mercedes-AMG. This vociferous mill mate with a manual or automatic transmission, but unfortunately the former is only offered on the regular coupe. For drivers looking to channel their inner Sebastian Vettel, Aston now offers a track-tuned F1 Edition with distinct styling, an enhanced chassis, and extra horsepower. While the Vantage’s interior suffers from some uncouth wind and road noise at highway speeds, the highly customizable cabin can still be lavishly appointed. Most importantly, Aston Martin’s entry-level machine constantly manufactures smiles and stares.
What’s New for 2022?
For 2022, Aston introduces a track-ready F1 Edition. It features a prominent rear wing and other aerodynamic add-ons as well as a specially tuned suspension and engine enhancements that increase horsepower from 503 to 528. Apart from the new F1 Edition, the Vantage is largely unchanged compared with the previous model year. Among the small revisions are new 21-inch wheel designs. Aston also debuts several interior design themes the company is calling “environments” that include Accelerate, Create, Impulse, and Inspire. These different options include unique combinations of colors, features, and materials.
Choosing between the Vantage coupe and convertible is difficult. Only the hardtop comes with a stick shift, but the soft-top version lets us feel the wind in our hair and better hear the Aston’s glorious V-8 roar. In the end, we think the money we’d save by selecting the coupe would influence our final decision. Plus, that money would let us personalize our Vantage with the myriad interior and exterior treatments that are offered. We’d also opt for the heated and ventilated front seats to help keep our backsides hot or cold on demand, but we’d pass on the carbon-ceramic brakes. However, we would stick with the standard manual transmission thanks to its added engagement.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Beneath the Vantage’s clamshell hood lies a thrilling, thundering twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 that is supplied by Mercedes-AMG. This engine develops either 503 or 528 horsepower and 505 lb-ft of torque. The higher output is reserved for the track-inspired F1 Edition. While the regular Vantage feeds the rear wheels through either a seven-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission, the F1 Edition only comes with the latter. We drove the F1 on track discovered a meaningfully sharpened driving experience. Still, going with the regular model’s manual transmission creates a purer connection with the powertrain than the autobox, and also has the added performance benefit of removing 209 pounds.
The Vantage’s V-8 sounds beautiful, starting with a low baritone rumble at idle and finishing with a high-strung shriek as it nears its redline. An electronically controlled limited-slip differential and adaptive dampers are standard. The Vantage’s handling is lively but predictable, which makes it good fun on a race track; the suspension is compliant enough for daily-driver duty. Unfortunately, the optional carbon-ceramic brakes are less amicable during daily driving. While they’re excellent when enlisted for track duty, the upgraded brakes are too grabby for everyday use. We did get behind the wheel of the Vantage Roadster, praising its look-at-me personality as well as its ability to transition between behaving like an athlete and a lounger.