Aston Martin cuts loose its ‘911 Hunter’

Aston Martin cuts loose its ‘911 Hunter’


ASTON Martin is going after Porsche’s 911 customers with the launch during the Australian Grand Prix week of the new Vantage V8. Vantage was one of two models unveiled to Australian media in Melbourne today by the luxury British sports car marque which hopes the new modes will help fuel continued strong sales growth for Aston Martin after a record 2017.

The company says sell-out demand for models like the DB11, launched in 2016, drove global retail sales up a record 58 per cent year-on year.

The company isn’t hiding its confidence its new batch of hand-built vehicles will attract “conquest buyers” from other luxury car companies. Vantage has earned the title of “911 Hunter”, which certainly fits its athletic, predatory profile.

“The Vantage is stripped raw and focussed,” Aston Martin’s chief creative officer, Marek Riechman, said at the media launch. “It’s a rather dramatic car. It’s about performance.”

The Vantage and Volante are part of “Phase Two” of Aston Martin’s “Second Century Plan” which will see it roll out seven new models, including a crossover/SUV, the DBX, expected in Australia next year. The DB11 was the first of the seven off the production line, with the coupe’s more architectural and hard-edged design language setting the tone for the various vehicles that will follow, Reichman says.

“This is a Saville Row suit, this is haute couture, this is a beautiful black dress,… and its body work is there for the elegant journey,” he says of the DB11. The DB11 Volante - or convertible - was designed alongside the coupe “to avoid it being compromised”. “It’s about taking the core of the coupe and making an incredible, elegant car when the top is down,” he says. “All the core lines are still there, and you recognise the ‘golden ratio’, the one-to-two-thirds proportional relationships, that are still evident all over the car. 

'As for the interior, it’s about authenticity. “If it looks like metal, it is metal on the inside, and that’s always going to be the case with an Aston Martin.'

“So there’s still the Saville Rowe, but you’ve taken it to the Cote Azure, you’re driving along an ocean road with the wind in your hair in the most elegant car you could possibly have. And that’s the story I have to tell as a designer because this is the car to go touring in, this is your grand tourer, but it still has a huge trunk and it has loads of space in the back.”

The Volante is powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbos V8 engine, and features an eight-speed automatic gearbox and electric power steering. Its all-new eight-layer fabric roof takes 14 seconds to lower and 16 to close and can be operated with the key remote, or even while travelling at speeds of up to 50km/h with a 50km/h head wind.

The new Vantage is a completely different proposition, Reichman says. While design was important, its look and feel are more about its function as a true mid-engine sports car, set well back in the chassis for optimal weight distribution. The slim-line headlights don’t look very Aston Martin “but they are Aston Martin because there’s an Aston Martin badge on the car”, he says.

'This is a Saville Row suit, this is haute couture, this is a beautiful black dress,… and its body work is there for the elegant journey.'

The S curvature through the front sides share lines with the old Vantage continuing through to the rear of the car. “So when you’re half a kilometre behind this car and the lights come on, you’d recognise this as an Aston Martin, both from the front the rear,” he says.

As for the interior, it’s about authenticity. “If it looks like metal, it is metal on the inside, and that’s always going to be the case with an Aston Martin,” he says. 

But this interior is “more frenetic”. In the DB11 coupe and Volante, it’s about the drive and how comfortable it would be, how relaxed it feels. Vantage, however, is about the driver, “about me, it’s my car, it’s my drive. It’s a little but more frenetic because you’re there to drive spiritedly and all the feature are there in button form rather than in a feature menu.”

'The Vantage is stripped raw and focussed. It’s a rather dramatic car. It’s about performance.'

The Vantage features a new alloy, 4-litre twin-turbo V8 engine capable of accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds to a maximum speed of 314km/h.

President of Aston Martin in Asia Pacific Patrik Nilsson says the company’s been thrilled by the early response to the two cars. “We have already experienced significant interest from the Australian market in both vehicles, reaffirming the strong affinity for Aston Martin in Australia,” Nilsson says.

Deliveries of the new Vantage will begin after September, 2018, with a starting price of $A299,950 plus on-road costs. The DB11 Volante will be priced from $398,495 plus on-roads, arriving in May, 2018.