we find out where the new Vantage will take us. head’s up: we’re definitely going places
If the DB11 proved that Aston Martin can make a great GT, then the new Vantage will have to prove Gaydon (Aston Martin’s headquarters) can make a great sports car. Specifically, one that can challenge the Porsche 911.
A tall order, to be sure. But if the rave reviews it’s received so far are any indicator, it seems Aston Martin has another winner on its hands. It’s also a bit of an animal, according to Matt Hill, Aston Martin’s creative director for interior design.
It was mentioned in an earlier presentation that the Vantage is inspired by a wolf, so where would someone completely unfamiliar with the car see the animal in it?
Usually inside the car, when they’re driving it, the animal is definitely there. In terms of the imagery – the wolf and the shark nose, that’s very strong. When you look at the car, the stance and proportions, you see a very sharp, directional nose. The profile of the car looks like a creature about to pounce, with the wheels visually lifting the car, as if it’s sitting on its claws.
What about its proportions?
That’s the simplest and hardest things to get right. If we get the building blocks wrong, we’ll be fighting throughout to fix it and get good proportions. It’s the engineering underneath that’s doing a lot of the heavy lifting. Engine position, wheel centres, position between front wheel and door-shut, engine firewall, occupant position, fuel tank. It’s deceptively simple on paper, but it’s the hardest thing to get right when building a car. If you haven’t got the balance there, you’d be on the back foot all the time.
What are the key takeaways of its interior design?
We want the occupants to be cocooned. The primary feel of the car is that it should be lithe, animalistic, agile. Some controls, like the gear selector buttons, come towards you and others move away from you. Shoulder room is critical, it needs to have a supportive seat, but you also want enough width for certain customers.
What has the internal response at Aston Martin been like to the new Vantage?
It’s almost a sigh of relief. We feel from the public’s response to it that we’ve got it right. People can’t stop staring at it. You get everything from the ‘wow’ moments… and some swearing, positively of course. People just make appreciative noises, which is great. I noticed at some private events in Gaydon that you get a completely different set coming up to view the car. Drivers of hot Volkswagen Golfs and Fiat Abarths – we’re attracting petrolheads, not just serial HLS (high-end, luxury, sports) buyers.