Depreciation can be a dirty word, but what is the bane of sellers is often buying bliss for others. Original owners will bear the brunt of the downward dip, while second-hand buyers can save some serious coin waiting for their dream cars to drop in price.
There exists a particular sweet spot for semi-modern sports cars, where notable models aren’t yet old enough to be considered properly classic or nostalgic, but are still swept aside in the face of newer, more desirable metal. It’s this space that the Aston Martin V8 Vantage has seemingly been residing for the past few years.
Originally costing more than $250,000 when new, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage was the brand’s most lithe and agile offering. It was aimed squarely at the Porsche 911 buyer, and currently sits at less than half its as-new sticker price on the used market.
Designed by Henrik Fisker, the baby Aston was based on the same bonded aluminium VH architecture of the DB9; measuring just as wide, yet 25cm shorter, giving the Vantage a squarer footprint with a muscular stance.
A watershed model for the brand, the V8 Vantage was first produced in 2005, remaining in production all the way through to 2017.
Early cars were plumbed with Aston’s quad-cam 4.3-litre dry-sumped V8 capable of 283kW at 7000rpm (and 410Nm at 5000rpm), however, a 2008 update saw displacement and power swell to 4.7-litres and 313kW. The quad-cam V8 was loosely based on the Jaguar AJ-V8 design, but was hand-assembled with in-house internals and ancillaries at Aston Martin’s Cologne factory in Germany, alongside its V12.
In updated 4.7-litre guise, the V8 Vantage boasts a claimed 0-100km/h time of 4.3 seconds (4.9 in the 4.3-litre), and is available in both six-speed manual configuration, as well as Aston Martin’s Sportshift II automated-manual transmission.
The V8 Vantage arguably defined the modern era of Aston Martin, and as premium manufacturers increasingly shy away from free-breathing large-capacity engines, we suspect that many will gaze upon these rear-drive V8s with much the same regard as V8 Astons of old.
"The V8 Vantage arguably defined the modern era of Aston Martin"
In the market
The V8 Vantage was the brand’s most successful model yet, so they should prove easy to find on the second-hand market. Pre-update 2005-2008 cars are available for as little as $85,000, while post-facelift cars – as well as the sharper Vantage S – begin at around $125,000.
It appears values have been shoring up over the past few years, yet will still offer an ownership experience that feels far more expensive than the actual buy-in requires. If you’re considering a brand-new M4 or C63, the second-hand Aston arguably offers a more ‘special’ ownership experience, for less money, and could also prove to be a smarter place to park your money in the short term.
Manual examples are markedly less plentiful; however, there are a number currently on the market which don’t exhibit any discernible price discrepancies to the self-shifting examples. These will likely hold more long-term collector interest into the future as nostalgia grows for these modern classic Astons.
Body & Chassis
Most examples on the market display very meagre mileage so obvious degradation should be minimal. Signs of water entering the boot can indicate blocked drain holes while the presence of any rust may indicate a dodgy repair. Aluminium trim on early cars is also known to corrode and whiten, often afflicting wing mirror stays, door bottoms and interior door handles.
Paint blemishes aren’t unheard of, and are most often observed at the base of the A-pillar.
Engine & Transmission
The Vantage’s V8 powertrain is known to be a durable unit, however, proper maintenance should be adhered to. Alternator belts are known to squeal when cold, although this can be rectified by adjusting the belt tensioner, or with an aftermarket pulley kit.
The exhaust features intricate butterfly valves which open above 4000rpm to release a more vocal bellow. If you seek a more theatrical soundtrack – or just hate your neighbours – remove fuse #22 to keep the valves open from zero rpm.
Suspension & Brakes
With very few high-mileage examples on the market; suspension, brakes, bushings and other wear-prone components should still have plenty of life in them.
Conversely, cars in disuse can often develop their own problems as parts that usually move become problematic, so an independent inspection by a marque specialist is highly recommended for prospective purchasers.
Interior & Electronics
Software bugs with the car’s central locking system were known to afflict early cars, however, problematic examples should have been long fixed under warranty. Elsewhere, the sat-nav system can grow slow over time, while the fancy flip-up display screen itself operates via plastic gears which can become brittle and break with age.
Again, most local examples aren’t heavily used so leather materials shouldn’t display obvious signs of wear. Leather dashboards were known to shrink due to frequent rapid temperature changes, although this will mostly impact cars that live outside in the sun.
Aston Martin V8 Vantage specs
Body: 2-door, 2-seat coupe
Engine: 4735cc, quad-ohc, 32v, V8
Power: 313kW @ 7300rpm
Torque: 470Nm @ 5000rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual/7-speed automated manual
Used Range: $80,000-$130,000
Three other options you may consider
1. Porsche 997 Carrera
Rivals when new, and still to this day: the Porsche 911 is the most obvious alternative to the GT Aston. It is the sharper scalpel, and can be had quite a bit cheaper than the Brit. But would it feel as special?
2. Bentley Continental GT
It may not boast the performance credentials of the Aston Martin, and certainly not the Porsche, but a 6.0-litre W12 for the price of a mid-spec 3 Series is seriously tempting stuff.
3. Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG
Another luxury-oriented powerhouse, the CL63 boasts AMG’s famous 6.2-litre V8 in a more exotic SWB S-class body. You can also swing a V12 CL600 in this price range, if you’re brave.
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