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2020 Aston Martin Vantage: Art in motion [First Look]

2020 Aston Martin Vantage 3.JPG
2020 Aston Martin Vantage (Sinclair Broadcast Group / Jill Ciminillo)

Sinking into the 2020 Aston Martin Vantage’s seats, you can immediately tell it’s a vehicle you can take a long drive in.

The contoured bolsters and gently sloping seat bottoms somehow mold to your body – no matter your size – with the effect of a gentle hug.

Close your eyes, then run your hands over the leather and you will immediately feel the difference.

The smooth, unpuckered surface is supple.

Hand selected. Hand stitched. Hand molded. Each vehicle has a life of its own with a unique character and style. Bespoke in the true sense of the word with thousands of possible configurations, limited only by the creativity of the future owner.

The test vehicle was configured with Xenon Grey paint that sparkled in the sunshine. The interior was Red Oxide, which was a muddy red that, if truth be told, wasn’t my favorite color. But the general idea of the configuration was solid and the fit and finish was beautifully executed.

The charcoal-colored stitching provided a nice contrast to the red leather seats, and the black lacquered accents popped on the center stack in contrast to the surrounding red leather.

Every detail from the hand perforated stripe on the seats to the enamel logo on the steering wheel was precisely and stunningly crafted.

While the interior and exterior configurations of any Vantage have seemingly infinite possibilities, the two guarantees are how it sounds and drives.

The Vantage is equipped with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 that is sourced by Mercedes-AMG. It delivers 503 horsepower and 505 pound-feet of torque, and it has a top speed of 195 with a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds.

The Vantage has individual controls for suspension and steering output, and each operate separately. So though both have Sport, Sport + and Track modes, you can decide which combination best suits your mood.

For straight highway driving, I found leaving both in comfort was preferred, but as soon as we hit some twisty bits, I immediately put the steering output on Track, and depending on the road surface, I dialed up the suspension as well.

Unless the road was freshly paved, however, I found the Track suspension to be too stiff, so I mostly left it in Sport.

In dialing up the steering, the exhaust note tuned up as well with a louder roar and a series of throaty blips with the downshifts.

As we were only driving on city streets and highways, our drive time was sedate at just above highway speeds, with a couple of fast accelerations.

The overall impression is of a fast, fun and planted vehicle that has plenty of comfort when you want it and just enough grit when you want to get aggressive.

Frankly, there was only one thing on this vehicle I didn’t care for, and it was the Mercedes-sourced infotainment system. Because of the arrangement Aston Martin has with Mercedes, the infotainment used is always the last-gen version – and the previous Mercedes system was clunky and difficult to use.

And lest you think Apple CarPlay or Android Auto can save the day, it’s not available with this iteration of infotainment.

The base price of the 2020 Aston Martin Vantage is $152,995. But the vehicles we were driving were spec’d out to $170,807, adding up-level features such as the black exterior accents, contrast stitching, contemporary leather color, contemporary paint color, color-keyed steering wheel and interior gloss black accents.

The Vantage was all-new for 2019, so what do we have to look forward to in the near future? A manual transmission version will be arriving in the States “imminently,” and we’ll see a convertible version next year.

The bottom line

Aston Martin never disappoints.

This is not a high-volume automaker pumping out vehicle after vehicle.

Each Vantage is constructed by hand with love to each owner’s specification. The entire vehicle ends up being a work of art, perfectly suited to the person who buys it.

A work of art, by the way, that can move.

Editor’s Note: Driving impressions in this “First Look” review are from an invitation-only automaker launch event that allowed special access to the vehicle and executives. Aston Martin covered our accommodations, meals and transportation costs.