Three key numbers set the astonishing new Aston Martin Vantage Roadster apart from other convertible sports cars. None of them may sound particularly unusual —until they are put in context and unravelled on the open road.
Just 6.7 seconds is needed for the ingenious Z-roof to stow neatly away behind the Vantage’s seats. The fastest for any fully automatic, convertible hood, the ultra-compact mechanism also squeezes down to a meagre 210mm flat — the lowest of any comparable soft-top.
This is the UK, notorious for inclement weather, so the second important number is 31mph — the maximum speed the Roadster’s fabric hood can be operated when the heavens open and the roof needs to shut in a hurry. Barrelling across Welsh mountain roads in the autumn almost certainly means both will come into play. Dodging a shower without the need to pull over completely, or even slow down to a crawl to raise the roof, allows more time to focus on the road ahead.
And the final number is 70. This year is the 70th anniversary of the iconic Vantage nameplate, which dates back to the famous DB2 of 1950 and then applied to a string of high-performance versions of the DB4, DB5, DB6 and DB7. It’s a name badge synonymous with Aston Martin and to celebrate, Vantage buyers can opt for the company’s iconic “vane” grille on this new Roadster too.
Whichever imposing grille you decide on, whatever the weather, the latest Vantage Roadster is a glorious thing to behold. A visual feast, the streamlined bodywork is an adrenalin rush for the senses — and that’s before I even press the glass starter button.
The new Roadster is mesmerising from every angle. Compact, muscular across the haunches, the Vantage profile is a bold blend of sophistication and sporting purposefulness that creates maximum impact with a real sense of occasion.
Underneath the shimmering Spirit Silver paintwork there’s a good deal more going on in this new model, too. The Vantage sits on a bonded aluminium chassis — not a bad place to start, although the Roadster is 30% more rigid than its sibling.
However, the Roadster’s more aggressive nature is complemented by a full suite of electronic wizardry, specially tweaked to match the dynamics of the car. Among them are adaptive damping, ESP calibration and a bespoke tune to the rear dampers.
And like its sibling Coupe, the open-roof version benefits from Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic Torque Vectoring and an electronic rear differential that varies the torque to each rear wheel. It’s ingenious stuff, but probably requires a Venn diagram to explain properly.
A far more enjoyable way to understand the advanced technology on board is to simply find my favourite stretch of road, then unleash the scintillating power of Aston Martin’s 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine. The important numbers here are 510PS/685Nm. Straight line performance is simply astounding. The 0-60mph dash is dispatched in 3.7 seconds — just 0.1 seconds slower than the Coupe — with the potential to reach a maximum speed of 190mph roof raised. Heading into a corner, each dramatic downshift on those long paddle-shifters is a pure thrill, especially driving a wet British road in September.
This is an extract from an article featured in the next issue of the Aston Martin print magazine, which is due to be published in November. If you're not already a subscriber, visit magazine.astonmartin.com/magazine-subscription so that you can read the full story.