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2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster Review

Elegant Speed Demon

A three-quarter front view of a silver 2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster cruising on the open road

In short: A dashing roadster that adds edge to the Aston name.

The V8 Vantage was already a lithe little sports car when it was first unveiled in 2005, but a series of improvements have made it even more athletic for 2009. The baby Aston — available in a coupe or roadster trim — benefits from a boost in engine displacement (from 4.3 liters to 4.7 liters) and a bump in horsepower (from 380 to 420). Suspension is also more responsive thanks to stiffer Bilstein shocks, reworked geometry and firmer bushings. The optional Sportshift transmission now operates more smoothly at low speeds.

The V8 Vantage's elegant bodywork remains unchanged for 2009, and a flip of the recessed handle will tilt the door outward and upward; hence the term, "swan wing doors." Luscious leather and Alcantara cover a vast amount of the Vantage's interior real estate, and hide is even found on the tonneau trim for the convertible top. A zinc alloy center console has trickled down from the quarter-million-dollar DBS (James Bond's ride of choice), lending the interior a more sophisticated focal point. The sense of occasion continues with a crystal-capped key fob, which enables owners to carry a small piece of the Aston experience with them when they're not in their car.

A view of the 2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster's V8 engine

An interior view of the 2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster

Fire up the V8, and a hearty exhaust note signals the potential under the hood. The road noise transmitted into the open-air cabin isn't just a signal that you're riding on sticky rubber, it's a reminder that the Vantage has a sharper-edged personality than its V12 stablemate, the DB9. Steering effort lightens as speed accumulates, and the $3,785 Sport Pack further stiffens the ride and offers more steering feedback; it's an absolute must for enthusiasts.

An exhaust valve opens above 4,000 rpm, creating a throatier soundtrack for the open-air sports car as it roars down the road. A rear transaxle lends the Vantage incredible balance, and its combination of grip and maneuverability make it arguably one of the most tossable Aston Martins of all time.

Fast, smooth, and eminently elegant, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage boasts a winning personality not only because of its sharp-edged abilities, but because it achieves them with such understated maturity.

Read a review of the 2007 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

A rear view of a silver 2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster

Warranty/Service: Three-year/unlimited-mile basic warranty.

Base Price: $132,500 / As Tested: $141,285

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front-engine, rear-wheel drive, 2-passenger, 2-door convertible

Engine: 4.7-liter, 32-valve V8
Horsepower: 420 hp
Torque: 346 lb-ft
Transmission: rear mid-mounted 6-speed manual gearbox (available Sportshift4 automated manual transmission)

Curb weight:
3,770 lbs
Wheelbase: 102.5 in
Length/Width/Height: 172.5/73.5/50 in
Turning circle: 36.5 ft

all-wheel ventilated and grooved steel discs; ABS
Suspension: independent in front and rear with coil springs, anti-roll bars, monotube dampers
Traction: dynamic stability control, traction control, electronic brakeforce distribution and emergency brake assist

0-60 mph: 4.7 seconds
Top Speed: 180 mph

EPA City: 13 mpg
EPA Highway: 19 mpg

dual-stage driver and passenger airbags

Likes: boosted performance

Dislikes: some trim pieces are a bit rough around edges due to handmade construction


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Text and photography: Basem Wasef

PSV082608 (Updated 08/09/11 NW)