The latest Aston sets its sights as high as they go â€“ itâ€™s designed to be better than a Porsche 911. We admire that sort of aspiration, and we admire this most English of companies, but aspiration and admiration arenâ€™t enough. Which is why we took this latest sports car to the racetrack as well as on the roads to find out what goes on under the somewhat indiscreet paintwork.
The racetrack of choice was Portimao in Portugal, and its bumps and lumps meant that the third of the three modes, Track, was actually too hard. It would be suitable only for a billiard table really. But Sports and Sports + both offered tremendous scope for the willing driver.
Thereâ€™s a gorgeous 50:50 weight balance, with the car seeming to rotate on a point just behind your back. This front-engined, rear-wheel drive car has such benign handling that itâ€™s very straightforward fun. And if itâ€™s this good at the extremes of the track you can be reassured itâ€™s going to handle any road situation with ease.
And so it proves. The 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 shoves its near 500bhp and 500lb ft of torque through a seamless transmission, and you can work the paddles better than any other car bar, perhaps, a Ferrari.
One result is that you get the reward of the glorious noise this AMG V8 makes. Aston Martin spent time and treasure on the exhaust and the effect is better than any tune AMG can extract from this engine.
Itâ€™s addictive on the road and even more so on the track, where you can take off the rather controlling traction control and really light up those big rear tyres. On the road all you need is the softest setting in everything, and youâ€™ll be fast, fluid and comfy, ensconced in a classic British cabin.
On the road youâ€™ll feel the size of the Vantage, this isnâ€™t a small car and it doesnâ€™t feel as slim as a 911, but it does feel properly made by a proper company, a great blend of the hand-made and the rewards offered by a decent-sized company.
Did we prefer it to say a Porsche 911 GTS? Well, youâ€™ll have to watch the video to find out. Turn on, turn it up and turn green with envy.