Aston Martin Vantage and Le Mans V8
|Production||1993–2000: 280 produced Volante, 2000: 8 SWB, 1 LWB|
|Body style||2-door 2+2 coupé 2-door 2+2 convertible (Works Service)|
|Engine||5.3 L supercharged V8|
As with many other Astons, a high-performance Vantage model of the Virage would later appear. First shown at Birmingham in September 1992, the Vantage was produced from 1993 through 2000 and, like so many other Aston Vantages, soon became the only variant available. Indeed, the Virage name lasted just a few years, with its final descendants inheriting the simple and familiar V8 name.
The design was freshened, leaving only the roof and doors of the car intact. The Vantage was wider, appeared lower, and used four round "grapefruit" tail lights (rumoured to have been those used on a Bova coach for the prototype). Like the 6.3, the Vantage used record-sized 362 mm (14 in) brake discs and 18 inch wheels.
The most radical change to the Vantage, however, was inside the engine compartment. The 5.3 L engine now sported twin superchargers. Power output topped the industry at 550 hp (410 kW), and torque was equally impressive at 555 lb·ft (745 N·m) at 4,000 rpm. Top speed was 300 km/h (186 mph), with a dash to 60 mph (97 km/h) taking just 4.6 seconds. Considering that the kerb weight of the car was almost two tons, this was no mean feat. The engine was later uprated to 600 hp (447 kW) for the 1998 V600. The earlier version is often referred to as "V550" to set it apart from the later, upgraded ones.
In 2000, Aston Martin's "Works Service" unit built nine bespoke Vantage Volantes (convertibles), one of which was built to long wheelbase specifications.
|Production||1996–2000 101 produced|
|Body style||2-door 2+2 coupé|
|Engine||5.3 L V8|
Just before the new European emission and safety regulations came in force, Aston Martin decided to put a memorable end to the V8-Vantage breed, with a special model called "V8 Vantage Le Mans". This car was presented in Geneva in 1999, the 40th anniversary of Aston Martin's victory at that race. It was decided that only a limited series of 40 Vantage Le Mans would be built, one for each year since the Le Mans victory. These cars were the only Aston Martin ever sold with the Le Mans name, and are different and better than any of the previous Aston Martin V8.
The engine delivers 612 PS (450 kW; 604 hp) and 820 N·m (600 lb·ft) of torque, whilst the suspension was also reinforced with special Koni shock-absorbers and stiffer anti-roll bars. The bodywork featured a blanked-out front grille and modified side vents – replicating the side vents of the Le Mans winning DBR-1 – as well as a bigger front spoiler and rear skirt. The interior was reworked with a gigantic rev-meter, a special Titanium finish on some parts, and all possible options such as heated windshield, parking radars, traction control, heated electric seats, and full Connolly leather upholstery with matching Wilton pure wool carpets. Wheels were the same Dymag magnesium units as seen on most V600s. Performance was high, with a claimed top speed of 200 mph (or 320 km/h) and zero to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds. The keyholder was in sterling silver and a map from Newport-Pagnell to the legendary Le Mans track was provided in the delivery documents, for owners who would like to do the pilgrimage. Each "Le Mans" was made upon special commission and fitted with a number plate indicating also the name of the first owner.
A less extreme V8 Coupé was also built from 1996, replacing the defunct Virage. Lacking the superchargers and the more aggressive body style of its big brother Vantage, the coupé produced 349 hp (260 kW) and 369 lb·ft (500 N·m). In total, 101 examples of the V8 version were built from 1996 through 2000. The price of a V8 Vantage Le Mans with all options was a little above £190'000 GPB in 2000.