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2008 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

2008 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Review of the 2008 Aston Martin V8 Vanatge

After what felt like ages, I finally did it. I drove my dream car. The one and only Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Well, … to be fair, my dream car is the V12 Vantage, but hey, close enough!

Aston Martin V8 - rear.png

So, what makes the Vantage so special? In essence, it's the baby Aston Martin. The entry-level supercar of the famous British manufacturer. The Vantage was fairly affordable back in the day and especially now, you can buy one on the second-hand market for around $50,000.

And even at that 'low' price, you get quite the supercar. Admittedly, the entry-level Vantage, which comes with a 4.3L V8, is more sports than supercar. But you still get the incredibly stylish exterior design and the roar; the complementary soundtrack that comes with the V8 package deal.

And so, I finally got to press the 'Start' button to ignite that V8. What a sound and what a feeling. I've driven several high performance cars and motorcycles, but the Aston does it differently from the rest. It ignited more than just the engine, it ignited my senses. Lately, I've been driving an EV for well over six months and I absolutely love it. But there is just something raw and untamed about a shiver that runs through the chassis and into your body. Combine that with one of, if not the best soundtracks in the world, and every edge of you is alarmed and ready.

Aston Martin V8 - front

The drive itself surprised me. I arrived in my other daily driver being a 2017 Audi A4. Jumping across make me realize just how special everything feels. I could probably daily the Aston too, given the lack of practicality. The leather seats held up nicely over time and although the car had over 100k miles, everything seemed fresh and clearn. Once I put it in gear and drove off, I noticed straight away that the steering is slightly heavier than expected. The brakes are a bit grabby too, but all that adds to the 'seriousness' the car tries to bring across. You quite obviously feel that the suspension is firm for that agile feeling. And the teering, although heavy, was nicely balanced and precise. 

Just a few miles into the drive, and I was smitten. She's stunning in every regard, and even today, I still think one of those will end up in my garage someday in the (distant or near) future? And just driving around in it, you know for a fact that the design is timeless. Everybody literally stops and stares as they hear that V8 roar past. Not a lot of 15 year old cars can do that nowadays. 

By its definition, a supercar should stand out from the crowd and draw attention. The Vantage does that more than its direct competitors such as the Porsche 911 and the Jaguar F-Type. Although it might not perform like one, it sure feels like a real supercar. The seating position is low as you look over that long bonnet. The car feels as fun as it looks. 

But, sadly, with that supercar status comes several elements of the car that you don't want... By far, the one that bugged me the most was the, well ... shitty ... gearbox. The Sportshift system is nothing short of awful, and it leaves you with a dull, unpredictable, and sluggish ride in town centers. On the highway, it's fine, and it will pull through most of your pedal-heavy moments with ease. But once you slow down and have to drive at walking pace (which sadly is often these days), you'll find that within minutes you absolutely hate the gearbox. Luckily, the suspension is firm but forgiving, meaning bumps in the road are dealt with fairly comfortably. The car feels planted and stable as you throw it around some bends. Driving it more sporty surely makes it come to life, and you'll soon forget the gearbox and its nasty lagging. In fact, the faster you drive it, the lesss the gearbox seems to lag.  

But still ... the 380hp makes up for the lack of gearbox smoothness. Surely, 380 bph is far from enough by today's standards. Yet, the car itself feels fast. It might have something to do with the sheer drama it creates when you accelerate. And that in return gives you plenty of enticement. Don't expect to outdrag a faster Porsche 911, but you'll sure as hell turn more heads and leave behind most conventional cars on the road. 


Finally, and with some pain in the heart, I had to pull up into the car park again. After 30 minutes of driving and begin on cloud nine, it was time to say goodbye. One last time, I revved the engine, spinning up the V8 like a purring cat. And i realized once again I really love that car. Even with all its flaws, dated interior, and old age. I'd still have one right now. She's a true classic to be respected. They say it's a dangerous meeting your heroes, but the V8 lived up to the expectation I had of it. Even after all these years. But, be realistic. It's not as fast or bonkers as modern day supercars. Things have evolved over time. Respect it for what it is; a true classic.

The owner did warn me of high maintenance costs and ... shockingly ... gearbox issues. According to the owner, the gearbox was a let down, not just in performance, but in maintenance too. According to them it was becoming quite a money pit with several failiures and replacements bugging the car. In order to limit the costs, they'd even disabled the paddle shifter behind the steering wheel. Luckily, replacements are fairly easy to find, given you find somebody with the correct knowledge and tools. But surely, I'll forget all about that one day soon when I finally drive one into my own garage.

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