Aston Martin's V8 Vantage - originally launched to widespread critical acclaim at the Geneva Motor Show in 2005 - is to receive significant technical enhancements.
While the award-winning outline of the V8 Vantage is retained, the car benefits from a number of technical changes, including uprated performance from a new 4.7 liter engine. Other changes include revised dynamics to take advantage of increased power and torque availability, improved Sportshift transmission software and a new sports suspension option.
The 4.7 liter V8 engine has a power output of 420bhp (an 11% increase on the previous 4.3 unit) and delivers peak torque of 347 lb-ft (15% increase), providing the V8 Vantage with new reserves of mid-range performance, an improved 0-60mph time of 4.7sec and top speed of 180mph. Combined European fuel economy and CO2 emissions are also improved by 13% (Sportshift).
Inside, the changes include a new center console, revised switchgear and the introduction of an ECU replacing the previous V8 Vantage key. Externally, the acclaimed V8 Vantage appearance is enhanced with new standard and optional 19'' alloy wheels.
Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ulrich Bez said: "With the new 4.7 liter engine and associated changes we have taken the V8 Vantage to new levels of performance to produce an even more desirable sports car. The V8 Vantage is now the most successful car in Aston Martin's history and we are confident these changes will continue its appeal and driving enjoyment."
The performance improvements have been achieved through a number of carefully developed changes to Aston Martin's acclaimed V8 engine.The cylinder bore has been increased from 89mm to 91mm, while the stroke goes from 86mm to 91mm, giving a total displacement of 4735cc.The increase in cylinder bore is facilitated by a move to cylinder liners that are pressed into the pre-machined aluminum-alloy block, allowing a thinner liner than was possible with the cast-in design of the 4.3 liter engine.
A new forged steel crankshaft provides the 91mm stroke and incorporates new holes in the counter weights for reduced rotating mass and improved inter-bay breathing. New forged steel connecting rods and cast aluminum pistons complete the capacity-related changes.Other key changes include improvements to the dry sump lubrication system, including a new oil pan casting with oil pick-up points moved from the front and rear to the sides. The cylinder heads are modified with a new intake port and an inlet valve size increase from 34.9mm to 35.9mm. The intake manifold has also been modified to match the new port and optimize air flow.
The V8 Vantage transmissions have also undergone changes to improve performance and handle the increased torque. Both the standard manual gearbox and the optional Sportshift transmission benefit from a modified clutch and flywheel, reducing clutch pedal effort and delivering a 17.6oz weight saving, reducing the rotating masses within the powertrain to increase engine responsiveness. Aston Martin's Sportshift transmission has a revised control strategy, allowing the transmission, rather than the engine, to dictate how best the engine torque should be deployed.
`Dual Throttle Map' software is also featured. When `Comfort' mode is selected the engine reacts in a smoother, more progressive manner to throttle inputs, In the default `Sports' mode, the throttle map is more aggressive, delivering a more dynamic, sporting feel.
Sportshift now also has the ability to take inputs from the steering wheel, enabling the current gear to be held when the car is negotiating a corner. It also has hill descent detection, allowing a low gear to be held, maximizing the effects of engine braking.
A series of improvements are introduced to the V8 Vantage chassis and suspension setup to deliver improved body control and low speed ride quality.
A number of the improved components originally introduced on the Vantage Roadster are now carried over to the Coupe, including revised upper damper mountings and bump stops. Additionally, the front spring rates are stiffened by 11% at the front and 5% at the rear.Steering geometry is also modified to improve steering feel, while the front lower suspension arm compliance bushings are stiffened 22% to provide enhanced steering response and handling. The V8 Vantage also benefits from Bilstein dampers as standard; these low-friction dampers provide improved the car dynamically and in terms of ride quality.
Also introduced as an option for both Coupe and Roadster variants is a new Sports Pack which comprises forged lightweight alloy wheels to give a lower unsprung mass; re-tuned Bilstein dampers; uprated springs and a revised rear anti-roll bar (Coupe only). The Sports Pack is intended to offer greater agility, high-speed body control and precision for the more enthusiastic drivers.
Although the award-winning exterior of the V8 Vantage remains largely unchanged, a new 20-spoke 19'' alloy wheel is introduced as standard, with either diamond-turned silver or graphite finishes available as options. Alternatively, as part of the Sports Pack option, a five-spoke lightweight aluminum wheel will be provided.
In the cabin, a new centre console constructed from diecast zinc alloy with a graphite-silver finish is introduced, along with a new ECU (first seen on the DBS in 2007). The ECU - constructed from glass, polished stainless steel and polycarbonate - replaces the key. The revised car also includes a new Hard Disk Drive (HDD) navigation system, offering faster route processing, additional features and improved graphics. Full iPod/MP3 integration is retained as standard equipment.Prices for the revised V8 Vantage will be confirmed at a later date, with deliveries set to commence later this year.