Aston Martin Vantage Roadster is powered by a twin-turbo V8.
Special fabric top lowers quickly and stows away seamlessly.
Deliveries of the Vantage Roadster are expected this spring.
Aston Martin has just rolled out a new Vantage Roadster to join the Coupe in Aston’s most driver-focused model line. Propelled by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, and mated to an eight-speed ZF transmission, the drop top is quick enough to sprint to 60 in 3.7 seconds. And that’s not the only fast thing it does. The Vantage Roadster can go from top up to top down in less than seven seconds.
Honestly, when I first saw pictures of this thing, I thought it was a Ferrari Portofino. That’s not a bad thing. The Portofino is a very attractive car, as is the Vantage. And I suppose both of them are aimed at the same sort of buyer; it’s fast enough but it has tons of style.
The performance that the Vantage Roadster is capable of throwing down is largely thanks to that 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8. The engine, with dual variable camshaft timing and water-to-air charge cooling, cranks out 503 ponies and 505 lb-ft. of torque with a top speed of 190. They don’t say if that vMax is with the top up (I expect it is), but I’m sure doing nearly the double ton with the top down is an experience.
Yes, it has a rear mid-mounted, eight-speed ZF automatic to handle the ratios, but you won’t notice the lack of shifting when you’re cruising down The Esplanade, basking in those admiring stares.
It turns out, the convertible soft top only adds around 125 lbs. over the Vantage Coupe, thanks to a lighter Z-fold roof mechanism and other exterior and chassis revisions. Aston Martin says the Roadster is just as rigid as the Coupe, but I’ll believe that when I see it.
Suspension & Chassis Tools
The new Vantage Roadster has an independent double wishbone design, with coil springs and an anti-roll bar at the front. Out back, there are multi-link coil springs and another anti-roll bar.
Like the Vantage Coupe, the Roadster also makes use of Adaptive Damping, Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic Torque Vectoring, and an Electronic Rear Differential – each of which are Aston Martin hallmarks. The difference is that the Roadster has specifically-tuned rear dampers (shocks), and special adaptive damping software and ESP calibration. The Sport, Sport + and Track chassis modes were also tuned specifically for the Roadster.
Now, about that fabric convertible top. The compact-powered, Z-fold mechanism means it can lower in 6.7 seconds (or be raised in 6.8). It also has the really cool feature of being able to go up or down while you’re moving at speeds of up to 31 mph. Aston crows that this is the fastest, full-operating cycle of any automatic convertible system. And I think they’re right. The previous record holder was the old Ferrari Superamerica with that glass roof that could go up or down in nine flat.
Low Stack Height
Also, the folding mechanism makes for a very low “stack height.” That’s how tall the folded package is when it’s as mushed up as possible. If a designer works it right, you can’t even tell there is a folded roof down in there. If not, you get a big mass of wadded fabric like on a VW Beetle Convertible. At any rate, the Aston’s folded top not only creates a seamless rear profile, it also has minimal impact on the Roadster’s luggage space. The trunk is big enough (200 liters according to Aston Martin) to hold a full-size golf bag and accessories.
Pricing & Availability
The Aston Martin Vantage Roadster starts at $161,000, which is about $50k less than a Portofino (if you’re price conscious). Deliveries of the Vantage Roadster are expected this spring.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.