The balance and stability are poised, firm and confident, there is little sway on dilapidated old roads as you accelerate with extreme prejudice from 0-62 in 3.5 seconds, but by jove, the handling brings a gentle tear of emotional pleasure as the engine growls (much overused word, but absolutely correct here) rapidly up the rev counter in track mode. The Vantage is Goldilocks, just the right size, not too big or too small which gives you a lot of confidence.

The V8 sound is spine tinglingly joyful, all car manufacturers are competing to find that sweet spot, but Aston Martin have distilled the classic engine roar to its sublime apotheosis. If you looked up perfect engine sound in Google this

is what you should hear. Yes, I have

recorded it and it is now my ring tone (sad old petrolhead). In track mode, it coughs, cracks and backfires so it is monumentally hard to keep it in simple sport mode (the lowest setting) as you just want to keep hearing that sublime background concerto.

Push the start button quickly and it starts up loudly for maximum effect, push it slowly and it starts up quietly, maintaining good relations with the neighbours. Bless em for thinking of that.

There are three driving modes starting with Sport, no time for normal drive mode in this car. S is sport, S+ is.., well more sport, or dynamic if you like and T is track mode. The dampening system is a little bouncy in Sport mode, but this tightens up nicely in Sport + and Track. Already punchy in Sport , the throttle response in Sport + is exciting and in Track it’s electric, even brutal, with a noticeable difference between each mode. I would advise keeping the suspension in Sport + and then just varying the engine response to suit your mood and road conditions.

The new rear ZF eight speed automatic transmission is lightening fast, only a real racing pro is ever going to get more out of it in manual, but it’s terrific fun doing it yourself even if you know deep down the auto does it better. The dashboard even has a helpful advisory display for the gears when you’re in manual, suggesting you reign in the thuggery for the sake of the engine and your mpg. The power builds up nicely rather than swamping you the moment you hit the throttle, developing torque in a smooth linear fashion. The electric steering is taut, responsive and precise with a 13.09:1 ratio and glides tightly into the apex of

particularly with the graphite exterior body paint, though I love the lime green that the Vantage also comes in, for those that want to stand out.

The windscreen and roof stay low and swoop gracefully backwards, and the whole body flows about the beefy 20” Pirelli P-Zero tyres, suggesting

that this car may have been

designed by airflow dynamics more than anything else. It exudes class and style and I must admit I can’t wait to see what the Volante version looks like. The rear of the Vantage is a masterpiece, the slight rise of the tail, the 4 exhausts and the lower vents channeling the airflow are well proportioned and quite striking.

Take a look at the Aston Martin Vantage side on and you realise that it’s not just perfectly balanced mechanically, but also visually. The shape evokes Leonardo Da Vinci’s golden ratio, the proportions are so magically pleasing to the eye. You may have been paying a little more for the badge before, but not anymore, this is a fascinating and enthralling car with terrific performance to match.

£120,900 in the UK, €154,000 in Germany and $149,995 in the USA

every corner with little effort, almost finding the lines itself with the camber of the road.

The exterior is low key, but a closer look reveals a sensuous waist with large hips conveying a forward motion, a car that seems to be racing even standing still. The sinuous soft lines are both attractive and aerodynamic whilst the door handles are recessed to flip out when needed so nothing disturbs the airflow. With its large titanium front grill and the sleek headlamps it most resembles a whale shark, 13

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