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The Aston Martin AMV8 Vantage is the basis for a smaller third Aston Martin model, due to be launched in 2005, and will sit alongside the DB7 and the flagship Vanquish. The AMV8 Vantage will be hand-assembled at Aston Martin's state-of-the-art production facility at Gaydon, in the United Kingdom, which is currently under construction. The name Vantage -- which will also be adopted for the production version - was chosen due its long historic links with Aston Martin. This time it's a specific model name rather than denoting a high performance version. The AMV8 Vantage is a tailored two-seater sports car that retains a front mid-engine/rear-wheel drive layout. Its design work was undertaken by Henrik Fisker, Aston Martin's Design Director, and his key objective was to produce a thoroughly modern Aston Martin. Another aim was to ensure that the interior layout and equipment were unique to Aston Martin and could be easily carried over into the production car. There are also a number of traditional Aston Martin design cues which have been incorporated into the AMV8 Vantage's styling such as the front grille shape and the typical side strakes found on all Aston Martin models.
Visually stunning, the look of AMV8 Vantage is very much of a modern Aston Martin. However, like all Aston Martin models there are subtle lines and embellishments that help create a powerful-looking sports car. In fact the design brief was to make the car look like a muscular athlete wearing a tailor-made suit. From the exterior, AMV8 Vantage is striking and perfectly proportioned from every angle. Each carefully detailed feature provides graphic evidence of the painstaking craftsmanship and quality, which are synonymous with the Aston Martin marque. Adamant that AMV8 Vantage should not be a pastiche of retrospect design, Henrik Fisker created a pure, elegant and classic body that reflects the heritage and tradition of the Aston Martin brand. The long bonnet (hood) and two-seater cabin create an instantly recognisable stance, while minimal front and rear overhangs, combined with a wide track, appear to push the rear wheels out and enhance the extremities of the bodywork.
One area that has received considerable development is the AMV8 Vantage's cabin design. Great effort has been made to ensure that everything the driver and passenger touch is bespoke and Aston Martin unique. This is something also that will be carried over into the production car. The AMV8 Vantage features a host of switch gears, which perhaps owe more to the styling cues of premium watch design and prestigious home entertainment systems than from car instrumentation. Finished in an imaginative combination of different leathers and anodised aluminium, customers will be offered an infinite choice of body colours and upholstery schemes as well as the option of being able to request different materials.
(Image credits: Aston Martin Lagonda ltd.)
Spy Shot update :: 10-2004 (red vehicles below)
The latest shots of the 'baby Aston' - and a good glimpse into its interior. Aston's 911 rival will be unveiled early next year, probably at the Detroit Motor Show (where its "concept car" predecessor was shown last year), with sales following by springtime. The final name for the car hasn't yet been announced; "V8 Vantage" is a possibility though many industry-watchers are putting money on a revival of "DB5". Aston Martin has, so far, strenuously denied the latter...
The AM V8 will cost from around £60,000, and is expected to account for up to 50 percent of all Aston sales, significantly upping annual output from the tiny but Ford-owned British firm. It will feature a version of the Jaguar 4.3 V8, likely to give a good 370bhp, and a supercharged R version is to follow later in the year. The engine is front mid-mounted - positioned well back in the engine bay to give optimum front:rear axle weight distribution. Six-speed manual transmission will be standard, a sequential-shift auto optional, and both gearboxes will be rear-mounted. On a practical note, it has a wide-opening hatchback, a generous luggage area and a two-seat interior inspired by the Vanquish's. Although the car pictured here has rather retro wood trim, there are likely to be all manner of bespoke interior options, including sportier aluminium finishes.
Estimated Price :: $100,000 - $110,000
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