The 2021 Aston Martin Vantage isn't just a gorgeous sports car, it's a vehicular work of art. The Aston's beautiful bodywork is showcased on a hard-bodied coupe as well as a newly minted soft-top convertible. Both body styles benefit from a 503-hp twin-turbo V-8 that's sourced from Mercedes-AMG that makes exhilarating sounds. It can be paired with a seven-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic in the coupe; the automatic is required on the roadster. Regardless of which gearbox is feeding the rear wheels, every Vantage is a riot to pilot. Inside, there's room for two rich people, and there are enough custom options to make the space unique. We only wish the cabin had more sound insulation and fewer cheap plastic pieces. Still, the 2021 Vantage would be worthy of worship for its supermodel shape alone, but it's so much more.
What's New for 2021?
Aston Martin finally adds a highly anticipated drop-top model to the Vantage lineup for the 2021 model year. The company also now offers the coupe with a manual transmission, which was previously reserved for the track-focused, limited-edition AMR model. Unfortunately, the new roadster isn't available with the manual.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Choosing between the Vantage coupe and convertible is difficult. Only the hardtop comes with a stick shift, but the soft-top version lets us feel the wind in our hair and better hear the Aston's glorious V-8 roar. In the end, we think the $15,000 we'd save by selecting the coupe would influence our final decision. Plus, that money would let us personalize our Vantage with the myriad interior and exterior treatments that are offered. We'd also opt for the heated and ventilated front seats to help keep our backsides hot or cold on demand, but we'd pass on the carbon ceramic brakes. Those who want the coupe but not the standard manual transmission can upgrade to an automatic for an extra $7000.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Beneath the Vantage's clamshell hood lies a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 that is supplied by Mercedes-AMG. This engine develops 503 horsepower and 505 lb-ft of torque, which is sent to the rear wheels through either a seven-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission. Going with the manual transmission creates a purer connection with the powertrain, and also has the added performance benefit of removing 209 pounds. The Vantage's V-8 sounds beautiful, starting with a low baritone rumble at idle and finishing with a high-strung shriek as it nears its redline. An electronically controlled limited-slip differential and adaptive dampers are standard. The Vantage's handling is lively but predictable, which makes it hilariously good fun on a race track; the suspension is compliant enough for daily-driver duty, although harsh bumps will be obvious to passengers no matter which drive mode is selected for the adaptive dampers. Unfortunately, the optional carbon-ceramic brakes are less amicable during daily driving. While they're excellent when enlisted for track duty, the upgraded brakes are too grabby for everyday use. We did get behind the wheel of the Vantage Roadster, praising its look-at-me personality as well as its ability to transition between behaving like an athlete and a lounger.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The 2021 Vantage isn't as thirsty for fuel as its powerful V-8 engine might suggest, at least not when equipped with the automatic transmission. The EPA estimates that models with the automatic will earn 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. Models with the manual are rated at 14 mpg city and 21 highway. However, we haven't run a Vantage with either transmission on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, so we can't evaluate its real-world mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The exterior theatrics continue inside with upscale materials and countless custom options. It's easy to spend money on the Vantage: Aston Martin offers fancy options such as a full-leather interior, heated and ventilated seats, a carbon-fiber steering wheel, embroidered headrests, and several different options for interior trim, among many other features. The cockpit is snug for two, but it's lined with leather and faux suede. Likewise, sport seats with power adjustments and memory settings are standard. Still, its luxury experience is diminished by poor noise isolation on the highway. Interior cubby storage is also scarce except for a shallow center-console bin and door pockets. The convertible's power-operated fabric roof folds up and down quickly and features a Z shape that Aston says helps save trunk space. While the Vantage Roadster has a slightly smaller trunk than the coupe, we're told that it's still able to fit a full-sized golf bag.
Infotainment and Connectivity
An 8.0-inch display sprouts from the top of its dashboard and is primarily controlled via a rotary knob and buttons on the center console. The Vantage's infotainment system also includes an Aston Martin audio system, Bluetooth compatibility, and built-in navigation. While an upgraded audio system and touchpad are optional, popular features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are absent.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2021 Vantage hasn't been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Although Aston doesn't offer a full suite of driver-assistance technology, it can be equipped with several safety features that include:
- Available 360-degree camera system
- Available blind-spot monitoring
- Available self-parking assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
While Aston's standard warranty isn't very impressive, especially since complimentary maintenance is not included, the company does offer extended coverage plans for extra money.
- Limited warranty covers three years and unlimited miles
- Powertrain warranty covers three years and unlimited miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance