Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430 in the test

Rossen Gargolov
Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430 put to the test
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A nglophilia is a disease. Not too serious, perhaps, but worrying. And one that brings you constant pity. From friends, relatives and even from fellow sufferers. It usually begins slowly: with a certain indifference to drizzle, mint sauces or gaps, for example. Frankly, the author is one of these English patients too. And even if this may now cause you deep dismay, please refrain from recovery cards. Because in between it can indeed be very helpful. For example, understanding sports cars. Especially those who are not primarily defined by vertices and G-forces.

Aston Martin Vantage a sports car made of flesh and blood

You must have guessed what all this talk about the bush is getting at. The tragic thing about it: you are right. Again. Because no, the Aston Martin Vantage was and is not a performer at any price, not - as the English say so beautifully - Thoroughbred, and by no means a nine-eleven. Not as a V12 S, nor as a GT3, which at the Geneva Motor Show brought the series to a head. What his critics tend to overlook: He never wanted to be.

And even if he tries a little - as in the specific case - he doesn't succeed. On the one hand, this is due to the fact that, despite body components made of aluminum and magnesium, it combines 1,625 kilos in less than 4.40 meters - in other words, around 150 more than a similarly powerful, but much more spacious Porsche Carrera GTS. On the other hand, his age simply stands in his way. It's been about ten years since Aston Martin moved the Vantage below the DB family. As a reminder: At that time, the 911 was still in the 996 generation in places.

Of course, something has happened since then: In 2008 the model was comprehensively maintained, the initially 4.3-liter naturally aspirated V8 was completely redesigned, In the main, however, it always remains the same - with all the advantages and disadvantages that this entails. Gimmicks such as roll compensation or torque vectoring systems, which today even turn elephants into a mosquito, are completely alien to him. In short: The Aston Martin Vantage is a thoroughly honest skin with minimal power assistance, minimal suspension travel, minimal noise insulation and thus one of the last sports cars - manwant to write - of flesh and blood. And to feel so drawn to it, you don't need any pathological tendencies towards the kingdom.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430 with 4.7-liter V8

It's just a shame that the Special Edition N430, which sees itself as a club athlete of the Vantage series, with its stitchings, Alcantara covers and body paintings, remains quite superficial in most details - especially more superficial than the N models 400 and 420 so far. Incidentally, the N stands for Aston's test center at the Nürburgring, which was in charge of the development work, the 430 represents the performance in bhp - which corresponds to continental European 436 hp and thus exactly the value of the V8 Vantage S, the starting point for the N430.

Only the one-piece Kevlar carbon fiber seats and the forged 19-inch model of the Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430 are really new. Both together should save 20 kilos, of which only four have remained on the scales. In contrast to the conventional S model, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430 can also be ordered with manual transmission. Although it costs sprint performance, it should - although it is said to have a certain bulkiness - fit better with the overall analog character than the automated seven-speed transmission of the test car.

Whereby: There is no need to fear that it will be perceived as digital in the test. In the partial load range, his extended gear changes stick between the speed ranges like chewing gum. Only when you turn off the pithy 4.7-liter, catch this tiny moment between the shift lamp and limiter, does it switch as racy as it should be. Speaking of which: The engine and transmission in the Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430 are transaxially opposite, which means that the axle loads are almost optimally distributed.

Everything about the Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430 looks tense

Otherwise, too the omens are correct: you sit deep in the Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430, thanks to the narrow cockpit, independent of the side bolsters, and in front of an instrument panel with a lot of art, a little kitsch and a little clutter: counter-rotating clocks, steep valance; Shift paddles on the steering column; a block of crystal glass as an ignition key; Metal keys that prove their authenticity by freezing your fingers to them in winter; and - to top it off, so to speak - the antediluvian navigation, the best part of which is the fact that it can be sunk into the center console with the screen.

At the latest, the acoustic hurricane sweeps away such worries. In the Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430, the Vantage V8 sounds like Braveheart after a night of partying: hoarse, smoky, brutal and bronchial on a cold start, in the lower speed range then for a moment mechanically civilized before the exhaust system opens its flaps at 3,000 rpm and The backdrop and the engine speed are rocking up into the racing drama.Gentleman athlete? No way: The thing here is the automotive translation of the Never Walk Alone chants that Liverpool fans roar through Anfield Stadium week after week.

Delicate drifts in the Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430

And the best part: The Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430 feels just as fervent in the test. Despite a jagged 4.6 seconds to 100, our turbo-fogged senses may lack the kick straight ahead, but on the lap the 490 Nm seem just as well-dosed as (almost) the rest of the way: Everything is tense, doesn't back down, even if you get there , and holds strong against it.

In the test, the corrugated surfaces of the curbs rattle directly into the spinal cord, you can feel the transition to sliding friction precisely in your palms, and even the gearbox seems to know when to pull itself together. Its delicate tendency to understeer can be turned into delicate drifts via the use of gas, which can be pulled or straightened as desired thanks to the fantastic traction of its mechanically locked rear axle and the tight power delivery.

Only the brakes don't really match the hand strength of the Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430. In the test, it slows little famous and concentrates its power too much on the front wheels. Effect: The front sags deep into the struts every time before cornering, so that it always has to reappear before turning. In the end, he wrestled an average 1:13 from Hockenheim. Decent, but - with all the love justified at the beginning - not quite as tight as the driving experience.

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