by Shin Takei
Daniel Craig plays super agent James Bond in the movies “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace.” As the embodiment of the coolest man alive, what kind of car does he drive? An Aston Martin, of course. The 2010 Aston Martin V8 Vantage is a true gentleman’s GT car, a magnificent vehicle that would impress even 007.
Civilized and well behaved at low speeds, an easy and quiet drive in traffic, the “wolf” within comes alive when needed. Our car came in Magna Red, a light metallic burgundy color that is a welcome departure from the usual silver, black or white. The interior fit and finish is first rate. The hand stitched Obsidian black leather seats and the Iridium interior are highlighted by red stitching and an Alcantara headliner. The seats hold the occupant well in spirited corners, with plenty of adjustments including upper and lower lumbar support and seat heaters. Together with the power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, it’s easy to find an ideal driving position. The doors swing in an upward arc preventing any “dragging” on the curb or sidewalk, a thoughtful feature in a low car.
The Emotion Control Unit (ECU) is made of stainless steel and glass. The ECU is the “key” that you insert into the Engine Start receptacle in the middle of the instrument panel. Do not drop or lose this jewel like module, as it costs $2,000 USD to replace it. When pushed in, the 4.7 litre V8 engine starts up with a nice growl and immediately settles into a peaceful idle. Our car was equipped with the Sportshift automated manual six speed transmission with paddle shifters located behind the steering wheel.
The Bang & Olufsen BeoSound audio system with 13 speakers in 10 locations is quite simply the best automotive sound system we ever heard. There are twin tweeters at the top corner of the instrument panel incorporating Acoustic Lenses Technology, which rises up when the audio button is depressed. With the top down, we were driving at 50 mph and accelerating, yet the violin concerto playing on satellite radio sounded as if the violinists were performing live in the car.
The purpose of a Roadster is to drive with the top down. The high quality, fully lined top is operated by a switch on the center console. Once the top is out of the way, you can fully enjoy open-air motoring. Visibility with the top up or down is good for a convertible and all the mirrors do their job. An optional wind deflector keeps wind turbulence to a minimum and allows occupants to engage in a decent conversation without having to shout at each other.
The overall driving impression is fabulous. The feeling is one of security and stability. The V8 Vantage accelerates briskly and is a joy to ride. Whether you are in congested traffic or just cruising, the true GT nature of the sports car announces itself by changing the exhaust note from a civilized burble to an angry growl. If you feel like unleashing the beast, 0-60 mph comes in 4.7 seconds. Well behaved in fast corners because of the good weight distribution, there are no surprises. The Vantage is simply a great car to be in all day long.
You will get plenty of looks, but the style is understated. The beautiful shape, the right proportions and the Aston Martin face indicate that someone special has arrived. Anyone driving the 2010 Aston Martin Vantage V8 Roadster will look good and look the part of dashing gentleman. Act out your own 007 fantasy without dodging bullets or trashing the car.
Beverly Hill Lifestyle Ratings:
Overall Impression: 10 . Difficult not to love this car.
Looks: 9 . The convertible sacrifices the sexy coupe roofline for open-air motoring.
Driving: 10. The perfect vehicle for relaxed or aggressive driving.
Handling: 10 . Smooth corner exits beckon the driver to push more.
Entertainment System: 10 . Customized system for this car. Can’t get any better than this.
Luggage Space: 4. The convertible top leaves little room left for the trunk. Good for an overnighter for two, not much more.
Bling Factor: 8. Doesn’t scream “look at me,” but when people get close, an Aston Martin is noticed and appreciated.
The EPA Fuel Economy Ratings are 14mpg city, 20mpg highway and 16mpg combined. The MSRP on this car is $136,450 USD. With Options totaling $24,350, Gas Guzzler tax of $1,300 and Destination charge of $1,350 the total suggested retail price is $153,450. We believe this is a relative bargain in comparison to other cars in its class.
For more information and technical data please visit www.astonmartin.com