Review: Aston Martin Vantage GT8

Review: Aston Martin Vantage GT8
Review: Aston Martin Vantage GT8

It’s already sold out, naturally. So just what is it that we all can’t buy?

Here’s how it works: Aston Martin announces a limited-run model, they all sell out immediately, Aston Martin then sets about building them, repeat.

There was the Vantage GT12. All hundred of them, gone. Now there’s the Vantage GT8. Ooh, an extra fifty this time. Boom, gone.

Quite a lot may have gone to people who would have liked a GT12 but weren’t fast enough on the draw. They weren’t going to make the same mistake this time.

Could they have actually ended up with the better car of the two? Not likely. Or…

The GT12 had a 6.0-litre V12 engine and 592bhp, and what could be better than that?

Well, a 4.7-litre V8 and 440bhp could be. Less power, for sure, and by no small amount, but with less weight over the nose – and the gearbox mounted on the back axle – the GT8 is not only lighter but balanced to perfection.

aston-martin-gt8-drifting

Result? It’s still fantastically quick, and now it’s every bit as fantastically agile. That gearbox is a six-speed manual, so it engages you to a thoroughly immersive degree, and with mostly carbon bodywork it tips the scales at just 1570kg – and low weight always means high jinks.

Aiding handling still further is a wider lateral track, and circuit-spec shocks and tyres are completely in keeping with a design that looks like it’s come straight from Le Mans. Yet it rides with composure and control, like a chef expertly rolling honey off the back of a spoon – it’s not meant to be a continent-crusher, but it’s civilised enough to have real GT credentials.

Well, it does if you don’t mind lots of engine noise. It’s not the kind of engine noise you need to mind, though, because it’s a mighty V8 howl which gets more and more spine-tingling as the revs build.

aston-martin-gt8-badging

It’s the sound of an engine with silky power delivery and no end of pull, whether you’re stirring the box or leaning on its torque. But really, it’s the GT8’s chassis that will knock your socks off. It steers like an extension of your brain, all feel and feedback, and the car’s responses get crisper and crisper the faster you go. Again, it’s just beautifully controlled, fluent and wonderfully natural.

And, again, you can’t have one. They’ve all been sold.

So here’s the good news. The multimedia system is dire, ancient, hopeless and completely out of keeping with any car worthy of the name, let alone a top-notch masterpiece like this.

Yes, we’re clutching at straws, aren’t we?

If you want to get ridiculously picky, you couldn’t buy one of these for competitive motorsport, because it’s not possible to fit it with a roll cage. But carbon buckets go with its track-focused chassis to create what looks like a mighty proposition for trackday use.

That’s quite something on a car whose cross-country ability is so imperious. Really, the GT8 is just a massively wonderful example of Aston doing what it does best.

If it follows the GT12’s lead, the GT8 will be sullied by the tawdry business of investment as well-heeled speculators lay them down ready to make a future killing. That would be a shame (some would say a crime) – because seldom has such a track titan also been so usable as an everyday dream machine.

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