2017 Aston Martin Vantage GT8 Review

Jan 23rd

It takes something special to stand out at the Nürburgring, even in the line of traffic entering the parking lot. We visited during the annual 24 Hours race, which brings tens of thousands of fans to this corner of the usually deserted Eifel mountains. Many, in our experience, seem to have come to ogle supercars of the attendees rather than to watch the on-track action. As it crawls past the main entrance, the Aston Martin Vantage GT8 scores as much attention as the Martini-liveried Porsche 918 Spyder that’s two cars ahead in the queue; indeed, it’s subject to only fractionally less gawking than the apparently unregistered Bugatti Chiron that, bored with waiting, passes us on the emergency shoulder. Everywhere we look, there’s a cellphone or a camera raised for a picture. Not bad for such an aged star.

The GT8 isn’t like other, lesser Vantages. Visually it’s a near clone of its GTE racing sister, with a similarly outrageous body kit and wearing a rear wing that is pretty much visible from outer space. But what really turns heads is the outrageous noise that it makes, exhaling through an exhaust that seems practically unmuffled, bouncing hard-edged V-8 harmonics from every acoustically reflective surface. This definitely isn’t an Aston for undercover espionage work.

The GT8 follows on the heels of last year’s V-12–powered Vantage GT12 and, as its name suggests, is basically a V-8–powered take on the same theme, although Aston claims even more aggressive chassis settings for the octocylinder edition. Just 150 copies will be produced and all have already sold, despite a price in Europe that makes a GT8 (with all of its lightweight options) more than twice as expensive as a basic $107,825 V8 Vantage. The bad news, as previously broken, is that none will be coming to the United States.

The one thing that double-money doesn’t buy here is a significant increase in power. Aston has given its venerable 4.7-liter V-8 the mildest of reworkings, so it now claims that the engine delivers 440 horsepower, just 10 horses more than in the standard car. Credit the freer-flowing exhaust. The GT8 can be had with either Aston’s automated single-clutch seven-speed or with the six-speed manual gearbox. Happily, the latter was fitted to the car we drove. Aston says buyers are split about 50-50 between the two transmissions; the manual seems to be bouncing back, at least among those with sporting intent. Complete review on www.caranddriver.com, by Manufacturer

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