Driving the Aston Martin DB7 Vantage

6 Sep 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Driving the Aston Martin DB7 Vantage
Aston Martin DB7

Reviewing a normal car, I would probably mention that the fly-off handbrake interferes with the electric seat adjustment buttons. However, I am not here to tell you about a normal car. This is the Aston Martin DB7 Vantage, in open-top Volante guise.

It is difficult to know how to write a review of a car such as the Vantage. For starters, this car costs Ј104,350 in the UK. I cannot afford to buy it. I am guessing that most of our readers are in a similar position.

If you are, I advise you not to linger over the photographs for too long. The idea of selling your semi-detached in exchange for a nice tent and a hook on which to hang your new Aston Martin car keys becomes distinctly tempting.

The DB7 shape has matured beautifully. Cosmetic changes in recent years have been minor, limited to a more aggressive stance, and this year, some rather fantastic five spoke alloy wheels (shared with the new DB7 GT incidentally). Be in no doubt that you are looking at a piece of automotive art. Admittedly, the coupe lines are more pure, but the Volante version still looks great with the roof up or down, despite the fact that it does not fold flat.

Other than working on your tan, the reason for opting for the open-top Vantage must be to show off the carefully crafted interior. On the test car, the red and grey leather offset the deep grey paintwork a treat. Despite the relatively subtle exterior hue, this car turns heads and attracts pointing fingers.

Could be something to do with the menacing, shark-like nose. Then again, it could be the noise emitting from those none-too-subtle tailpipes.

I really have been trying to restrain my enthusiasm for the music the Vantage’s engine produces, as it is verging on unhealthy. The DB7 Vantage is powered by a 6.0-litre V12.

It produces peak power of 420 bhp and a space-time continuum warping 400 lb.ft of creamy torque. Taking the train-like torque into consideration, you may well assume that gearchanging is a rather unnecessary task. However, this jewel of an engine really likes to be revved too. Peak power is at 6000 rpm, and you will want to hear the unique wail of the engine as it reaches that speed time and time again. Ally super-train acceleration to this noise and you may soon experience sensory overload.

Not that lifting off the throttle will help to calm you down, as backing off produces the most wonderful popping and rumbling from the exhaust, as if the car is disgusted at you for not pressing on. Such character is rare in today’s world of clinical electronic control.

The Aston’s forte is undoubtedly blasting along well-surfaced sweeping A-roads, though I expect a short hop across Europe would be a breeze too. On smooth routes, the large tyres and stiff chassis keep it all on the island, with traction control reigning in too much exuberance. The front of the car sometimes feels floaty when on bumpier bitumen, which I suspect is an effect of the suspension having to control the weight of the V12 engine and turn corners.

Aston Martin DB7

The DB7 was never intended to be a car for really twisty roads but it was still fun trying it out on some of my favourite roads in Cambridgeshire. Mid-corner there is plenty of feedback through the chunky steering wheel. Grip is high too, enabling the driver to transfer terrific slugs of torque to the tarmac at the exit of a corner with nothing more than a slight squat from the tail letting onlookers know you are not hanging about. The only spoilsports at the party are the brakes.

They do their job well enough but they do not inspire confidence at all. The DB7 is a heavy car and the weight can really be felt when slowing into a tight corner from speed. The ABS cuts in too easily which detracts from the driver’s enjoyment. Though the Aston Martin was not designed always to be driven in the manner described, I would expect a nicer set of anchors.

The problem is most likely the weight of that lovely engine.

I realise that I dropped straight into road tester mode there for a moment, large price tag and all. Still, the rest of us now know that the other half don’t live in a perfect world after all. Ј104,000 may buy you a beautiful, capable sports car with the heritage behind the Aston Martin badge. Money doesn’t buy you everything though.

Such as easy access to seat controls. Now doesn’t that sound petty?

Many thanks to Classic Cars magazine.

Aston Martin DB7
Aston Martin DB7
Aston Martin DB7
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