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First Drive: 2011 Aston Martin V8 Vantage S


Aston Martin boss Ulrich Bez used to be the head of R&D at Porsche. The Porsche 993, still regarded as the best of the air-cooled 911s, was developed on his watch, so you could say he knows a thing or two about sports cars. Never one to doubt the veracity of his view of the world, Bez left Porsche after clashes with senior management, most notably over the stillborn four-door 989, and spent several years in the wilderness at Daewoo. When he was appointed head of Aston Martin in 2000, it not only brought him back into a world he loved and understood -- sports cars -- but also gave him the opportunity to settle a few old scores with his former employers in Stuttgart.

 Thus, the glamorous Aston Martin Rapide went from concept to production in record time, upstaging Porsche's Panamera. And the tight, taut ASTON MARTIN V8 Vantage was designed from the outset as an exclusive alternative for those bored with Porsche's endless reworking of the ubiquitous 911. Bez might enjoy sticking it to Porsche whenever he can, but he's not afraid to follow its playbook when it comes to slicing and dicing a model range. If the Aston Martin V8 Vantage is his answer to the 911 Carrera, and the ASTON MARTIN V12 Vantage is a 911 GTS rival, the new ASTON MARTIN V8 Vantage S neatly splits the difference between the two -- just like a 911 Carrera S.

The Vantage S is powered by the same 4.7-liter Aston Martin V-8 used in the base car, but now it develops 430 hp at 7300 rpm, and 361 lb-ft at 5000 - increases of 10 hp and 15 lb-ft, respectively. The extra power and torque come courtesy of a new variable-length intake system, and more aggressive spark timing. Changes to the chassis include a quicker steering rack - 15:1 versus 17:1 in the standard car - plus stiffer springs and shocks, half-inch-wider rear wheels, and newly developed Bridgestone tires. The front brakes feature larger 15-in. rotors and new six-piston calipers, and the stability control system has been retuned.

(Source)


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