Driving the Aston Martin V8 Vantage X Pack 580 Coupé is something very special, even though by today’s standards it seems antiquated and heavy, a little like a truck.
This is the result of 1970s’ technology, a heavy steel chassis covered in an all-aluminum body, a luxury all-leather interior being pulled by a 5.3 litre 432 BHP V8 engine, five speed ZF dog leg gearbox and a massive Salisbury rear axle: in short, a two-ton truck.
When you slide into the driver’s seat with the Connelly leather interior and wood veneer finish, it does feel and smell like a gentleman’s club lounge.
The switchgear looks familiar (it was stolen from other manufacturers’ parts bin) but fits in well. The door closes with a heavy clunk and you feel safe in the surroundings.
Pump the throttle twice and turn the key, and the big V8 bursts into life; shivers run down your back as the thunderous rumble is quite humbling; a quick squirt on the throttle and the V8 moves the chassis on its wheels.
Concentrate on the dog-leg gearbox, flip off the quick release handbrake and check the mirrors…. the power is instant and you are looking for second gear before you know it. The gearbox is quite short and positive; clutch slightly heavy in operation as is the power steering, but it is all part of the experience.
The suspension reacts to every bump and undulation of the road talking back to you, so you know exactly what is happening ever inch of the way, the steering is very positive.
With no warning or delay, the car dishes out its raw power, the noise makes you smile and you tend to drive on the engine’s song and exhaust note and they seem both in total harmony.
On the straight, the car sits so well and cornering at first you feel the true weight of the car, but it’s still very stable; stopping a two-ton mass requires forward thinking, but the brakes do their job with a lot of work from the driver’s foot.
The Vantage just ask to be driven and driven hard, a car for all roads, a true grand tourer and one you can drive enthusiastically all day without tiring.
This is a beast that can bite back; every aspect has to be respected to earn the trust of the Vantage. A car you get never get tired of and one you will always admire. Once driven never forgotten.
A true British supercar.