The 2008 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster
By Taylor Heath
After a seven hour cross-Atlantic flight into London, a two hour private jet ride to Avignon, and a forty minute drive into the ancient hill side town of Gordes, there it was, patiently waiting to greet me. As I approached, I noticed a sinister grin that gave thought to the words behind this chosen expression: “drive me”. Before I even touched it’s sleek metallic exterior, my instinct told me that I was mere moments away from one of the best driving experiences of my life. Like first witness to a wild animal, I took pause before getting too close to take in its majestic beauty and the emotions it stirred inside.
Once my awe subsided, I slowly approached it, my eyes trailing from its sleek cat-like eyes over its front haunches, finally coming to rest on the midsection where my saddle await. It didn’t take long to feel comfortable after I was strapped in, questioning for a moment whether it was designed specifically for me. I needed to let it know that I was there, so I reached over and gave it a quick tap. An instant growl emitted confirming that it, too, knew that I was there.
This is a car that, much like its brethren, is as enjoyable to drive slow as it is to drive fast.
What I am referring to is not that of an untamed beast, but rather that of the newest addition to Aston Martin’s strong lineage of sports cars: the V8 Vantage Roadster. Recently released in response to the world-wide praise of its older sibling, the V8 Vantage Coupe, this drop top version delivers everything that its hard top brother provides, and something it doesn’t. To say that this just means wind in your hair and sun on your face would be a devastatingly insulting understatement, as with the V8 Vantage Roadster, it is so much more.
This was made clear to me as I sat comfortably in the hand-stitched leather cockpit, navigating through the winding country roads of Provence; roads that gave wonder to whether Aston Martin designed the car specifically for these roads or whether these roads were designed specifically for Aston Martin. Every banked turn and clear straight-away that the region threw its way, the V8 Vantage Roadster mockingly gobbled them up with such confidence that you knew it was thinking, “Is that the best you got?” This confidence is relayed to the driver as you feel comfortable laying on the throttle approaching a hard turn, knowing that with a slight tap of the brakes and a smooth turn of the wheel, the V8 Vantage Roadster will respond with the elegance and grace that is found on the stage of the world’s greatest ballets.
While it comes across clear that Aston Martin did its homework in the performance department, the V8 Vantage Roadster’s sole design wasn’t to be the fastest thing with four wheels. This is a car that, much like its brethren, is as enjoyable to drive slow as it is to drive fast. Praise is to be given to the Aston Martin engineers for designing a sports car that isn’t jumpy when the slightest of pressure is applied to the pedal. So while an equal part of my love for the car was developed on the open roads and tight turns, another equal part was developed slowly cruising through the scattered hamlets of the region.
In addition to making good on its promise for the wind in the hair and sun on your face, it also provides you with an audible experience that is much more rewarding. Open the throttle to 4300 rpm’s and prepare yourself for the grin-inducing roar that would make the wildest of beasts cower in fear. This is thanks in part to the engine that makes up the first two symbols on its chrome badge. The Aston Martin V8, hand assembled in Germany, delivers a modest 380hp and 302lb-ft of torque which is capable of propelling the unique-to-Aston Martin bonded aluminum Vertical Horizontal frame from 0-60 in 4.9 seconds.
With a base price of $126,000, this certainly isn’t the fastest nor the most powerful car you buy for the money, but spend time with it and you quickly realize that you would not want to be driving anything else. When you purchase a V8 Vantage Roadster you are not just buying a car, you are buying perfect balance. Perfect balance between performance and luxury; between aggressive styling and smooth lines, a car that is as beautiful with the top is up as it is down, whether it is standing still or powering down an endless road. But above all else, you are buying into the Aston Martin brand, a brand that lets people know you are as calm and cool as you are powerful and daring.