The cheapest new Aston Martin that you can buy in South Africa is the Vantage V8 Coupe.
When compared to its peers, a selling price of R2,999,000 is not too much to ask.
You will have to sacrifice around 0.4 seconds on the 0-100km/h acceleration time, but you save a few hundred thousand rand by doing so.
Depending on your taste you also might prefer the look of the sculpted Vantage over its more flamboyant competitors – I know I do.
Its front gets a huge titanium mouth that stretches from flank to flank, a low diffuser and angry LED headlights, and a power-domed hood that reveals beautifully-elegant details.
Minimal overhangs and wide hips accentuate the aggressive stance, integrated side gills add flare, and a V8 exhaust note demands recognition when this beastly coupe speeds by.
The 2+0 cabin configuration inside the Vantage continues the focused sports car aesthetic.
It has a winged design for the air-conditioning vents and instrument cluster, with premium Strathmore leather-covered panels and sports seats completing the upmarket look.
Embroidered Vantage logos are found on the headrests, with 2×2 Twill Gloss Carbon Fibre inserts placed on the steering wheel.
Optional trim inlays include red, white, and lime accents; and five seat belt colour options make the cabin just as lively as the engine.
In-car entertainment is then provided by an 8.0-inch Aston Martin audio system with integrated navigation and Bluetooth connectivity.
The side mirrors also tilt down when reverse gear is selected.
More comfort is provided by electrically-adjustable seats with memory functions, a central control touchpad that handles the vehicle features, and large paddle shifters behind the steering wheel for those dynamic driving days.
Sports car safety
High-performance vehicles, unlike mass-production models, tend not to subscribe to the notion that you need to stuff your car full of safety systems before it reaches the showroom.
They do, of course, add some.
As such, the Vantage gets ABS with EBD, hydraulic and emergency brake assist, airbags, traction control, torque control, and dynamic torque vectoring.
This takes care of active safety.
Passive systems comprise a park-distance display, all-round parking sensors, park assist, and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
Below the clamshell hood of the Vantage lies a 4.0-litre, twin-turbo, V8 engine.
The motor mates to a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, and plays its tune through a stainless steel exhaust system.
The entire package produces 375kW at 6,000rpm and 685Nm between 2,000rpm and 5,000rpm.
It accelerates from 0-100km/h in 3.6 seconds, 0-200km/h in 11.8 seconds, and will reach a top speed of 314km/h.
The Vantage also features an electronic rear differential which will intelligently react to driver inputs – and send power to the wheel that needs it most.
The suspension will adapt to your driving style, too, and three drive modes allow you to squeeze the ultimate amount of fun out of your rear-wheel drive Vantage.
Speaking of wheels – the Vantage sits on 20-inch Y-spoke forged alloys wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero tyres.
You cannot beat it
When compared to the likes of the Audi R8, Porsche 911, and BMW M8, the Vantage offers a unique look which you rarely encounter on public roads.
It is a bit slower than these vehicles, by about half a second, but you save a few hundred thousand rand by selecting the Aston Martin – while owning a car whose brand has not been diluted by mass-market models.
Put a price tag on that.