The Aston Martin Vantage is the most successful model in the British company’s modern history. The previous generation version went on sale in 2005 and, to this day, has remained a beautiful if slightly leftfield alternative to the long-established Porsche 911.

Now, an all-new version of the so-called ‘entry level’ Aston has been unveiled that boasts enough style, performance and modernity to bring it back into contention with the very latest £100k sports cars.

Firstly, let’s drink in the new looks, because this isn’t an iterative 911-style approach; it’s a complete rethink that finally kicks Aston’s Russian Doll design language to the kerb. From herein, each model range will be much more visually distinct and that’s without you having to order it in tennis ball yellow...

2018 Aston Martin Vantage

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Gone is the traditional Aston Martin grille, replaced by a racier, low-set mouth we first saw on the Aston Martin Vulcan track car, and it’s visually propped up by a huge front splitter that’s deep enough to rest a mug of tea on. And some biscuits.

There’s a new daytime-running LED headlamp graphic, while the rear end has received a similar overhaul, too, with an enormous diffuser juxtaposed with a delicate ribbon of light that wraps its way around the entire upswept boot deck. The boot itself remains a hatchback, and offers 350 litres of space which is enough for four custom-made travel cases and a branded umbrella. Smooth.

The new Aston Martin Vantage may use a shortened version of the DB11 platform – it’s 100mm shorter in the wheelbase – as well as borrow its bigger sibling’s key, infotainment system, switchgear and ‘squircle’ steering wheel, but that’s where the visual similarities end.

Inside, the Vantage retains its strict two-seater layout but also offers a huge step forward in quality, luxury and comfort. Existing customers may lament the passing of the crystal key that was inserted into the dashboard to awaken the previous car, or the old school fly-off handbrake located between the driver’s seat and door, but they’ll be more grateful for the improved ergonomics, heated seats, USB charging points plus an infotainment system that actually works.

2018 Aston Martin Vantage
2018 Aston Martin Vantage
2018 Aston Martin Vantage

Of course, merely being an Aston Martin is no longer enough against such accomplished and desirable competitors like the Audi R8 and Porsche 911, so performance is equally impressive. Aston will initially offer the Vantage in one flavour: a Mercedes-AMG-derived 4.0-litre, twin turbocharged V8 that develops 503bhp at 6,000rpm and 505lb ft of torque from 2,000-5,000rpm. If you want an idea of progress, the previous V8 Vantage used a naturally aspirated 4.7-litre V8 that developed 430bhp at 7,300rpm and 361lb ft at 5,000rpm.

With a dry weight of 1530kg and mated to an eight-speed ZF transmission, the new Aston Martin Vantage will accelerate from 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds (0.7 seconds faster than its predecessor) and hit a top speed of 195mph. That’s on par with the 503bhp Mercedes AMG-GT S, another two-door sports car that uses the same engine. However, what engineers refer to as the ‘tuneables’ are all model specific, meaning this V8 will feel and sound like an Aston Martin, not an AMG. Bespoke Pirelli P Zero rubber and a standard issue electronic limited slip differential also ensure that this Vantage will be more than happy to entertain a few, tail-happy track days. 

Prices in the UK are going to start from £120,900 in the UK, with deliveries commencing in summer 2018.

Gallery: 2018 Aston Martin Vantage