AN ever-expanding Aston Martin range means the legendary marque is more within reach.
Mind you, the entry level two-seater Vantage will still set you back almost £90,000, even in its most basic form, so aspirations to become an owner are still limited to those who’ve done well for themselves.
But if you are in a fortunate position where you can afford to splash the cash or one week find those six lucky lottery numbers then it’s hard to imagine spending it on anything better.
The Vantage was quite a big step for Aston Martin. It represented the first time the brand could compete directly with Porsche in a bid to woo potential 911 buyers.
As far as looks go it’s instantly recognisable as an Aston with a profile which combines sleek and classic styling with just a slight air of menace.
In many ways it actually looks better than its larger stablemates, its squat stance giving it an imposing and regal presence.
If you think people who ramble on about sweet engine notes are a walking example of a petrol-head cliché then you need to sit in a Vantage and appreciate the noise it makes.
The growl of its engine really does put a smile on your face and I would expect it’s the sort of thing you never tire of.
As one might expect the Vantage is a joy to drive. It might be an 'entry-level' Aston but it is very much a grown-up sports car.
It has a very solid and sturdy feel when you step in and feels strangely bigger than the fairly compact two-seater that it is.
It is wonderfully finished on the inside with a classy and opulent feel that manages to combine the feel of a racing car with a country club.
In a suburban setting it not surprisingly feels somewhat restrained and slightly out of place, perhaps in part because I spent most of my time attempting to avoid the potholes that proliferate on our roads these days.
To fully appreciate it you need to get out on an open and empty B road and it’s in this setting where the Vantage really comes to life.
It’s pace will pin you to your seat as the engine’s addictive growl turns into a roar and you start to explore its awesome handling capabilities.
It is wonderfully sure-footed and generally pretty forgiving too though a degree of caution needs to be exercised as is the case with any supercar.
With cars like this driving is a pleasure in itself rather than a means of getting from one place to another.
Overall the Vantage is a great car, very much a fully-fledged Aston Martin and a worthy wearer of that legendary badge.
Aston Martin Vantage V8 Roadster
Mechanical: 420bhp, 4,735cc, 8cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max speed: 180mph
0-62mph: 4.8 seconds
Combined mpg: 20.4
Insurance group: 20
CO2 emissions: 328g/km
BiK rating: 35%
Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles