Dr. Ulrich Bez, CEO of Aston Martin, is an accomplished engineer, businessman and racing driver – so to all intents beyond reproach – but where I disagree with his philosophy is the way in which Aston Martin follows a Porsche-like approach to the evolution of its models.
In this 50th year of the 911, all the evidence points towards the philosophy being a sound one – the 911 still sells strongly with over 20,000 cars built last year, but part of what I enjoy when buying a new car is learning its nuances and after owning a 964, 993 and 996 I eventually needed a break (and haven’t returned 11-years later).
I feel the same way about the V8 Vantage.
After first appearing at the NAIAS over ten years ago, it’s become a recognisable sight on our roads, and while its design still looks right, it feels like it’s been around for a lot longer.
I’ve driven thousands of miles in them, and like the 911, the Vantage has improved considerably during its lifetime. One of my most disappointing drives of recent years was in an early 4.7-litre V8 Vantage and yet the same basic ingredients now form the V8 Vantage S, which by comparison is a delight.
Because of this, I wouldn’t ever consider buying a Vantage, and yet I suspect the SP10 is one of the sweetest ever made. That’s a shame, for Aston and its customers, and I wonder if perhaps it’s time to move on with a completely new design.
Based on the V8 Vantage S, the SP10 is a special-edition Aston Martin inspired by the marque’s motorsport successes in GT4 racing, especially the VLN endurance championship, in which it competed (and won) the SP10 class.
Beyond the Alcantara/leather trim, front splitter, carbon rear diffuser and six-speed manual gearbox the SP10 is technically identical to a Vantage S, which is no bad thing, given the impressive capabilities of that car, but you can’t help think of it as ‘just’ another dealer-special along the lines of something Ford would offer on a Fiesta. Perhaps Aston Martin could have introduced some dynamic or engineering improvement..
Fitted with the 430bhp version of Aston Martin’s 4.7-litre V8 engine, the SP10 accelerates from zero to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 191mph – quick, but easily matched by the £55,000 444bhp Audi RS4, which costs half the price.
The SP10 is available as a Coupé and Roadster in Ceramic Grey Metallic, with both models featuring 19-inch cast alloy rims, black brake callipers and clear rear lamps.
Inside you’ll find contrasting silver stitching on the seats, dashboard and door trim and a Piano Black centre console. The instrument panel is trimmed entirely with leather and embellished with silver stitching, as is the black leather steering wheel.
Unfortunately, if you live in Britain and like the sound of the SP10, you’ll be disappointed to hear that it’s only available for sale in mainland Europe. At a base price of €96,635 (plus VAT and local charges) you can order it now (location permitting).