Aston Martin offers power upgrades to last-gen V8 Vantages

If you're a 2005-2008 Aston Martin V8 Vantage owner, you may have wished you'd held out for the 2009 model which benefits from an extra 0.4-liters of displacement (up from 4.3- to 4.7-liters) and gains an extra 40 hp and 45 lb-ft of torque, along with some revised suspension tuning. The crew at Gaydon feels your pain and has begun offering a new performance package for the 4.3-liter model.

The kit includes a new induction system originally developed for the DBS that features a pair of toggling airbox valves that open at 5,500 rpm to bring more air into the engine. With the help of a revised ECU that optimizes ignition timing and recognizes higher octane fuels, output increases to 400 hp (20 extra ponies) and torque grows to 307 lb-ft.

The sports package developed for the 2009 model can also be retrofitted to the last generation Vantage and includes forged aluminum five-spoke wheels, upgraded springs and Bilstein dampers. Aston hasn't released pricing for the new performance pack, but we're sure it's less than trading in your old Vantage for the updated model.

Gallery: First Drive: 2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage


Aston Martin axing 600 jobs to reduce costs

It looks like Ford got rid of Aston Martin just in time. With sales falling just about everywhere, Aston was hardly immune, so the automaker has announced plans to cut up to 600 jobs in the near future. The company is currently working with its union to cut 300 jobs from both the permanent and temporary worker ranks. Aston Martin joins Bentley which is also making cuts in response to the now official recession that the economy has descended into. Prior to Ford selling off the brand, Aston was believed to have been the only profitable member of the former Premier Automotive Group. With German brands like BMW, Mercedes and Porsche all suffering as well, the big question now is how long will it until we hear about layoffs at Ferrari? Press release below the fold.


Sabelt stitches together a pair of shoes for Aston Martin Racing

Aston Martin Racing has emerged as the dominant force in sports car racing wherever they've lined up on the grid, and they haven't gotten there without copious amounts of horsepower. And as Aston knows best, all that power needs to be properly harnessed, so for the past three years they - like some of the greatest names in motorsport - have teamed up with Italian harness company Sabelt to keep their drivers in place. Unfortunately, their collaboration was something only to be enjoyed by AMR's professional pilots, but the two have now teamed up to bring the fruits of their racetrack dominance to the market in a driving shoe for the gentleman motorist.

The Sabelt for Aston Martin Racing shoe is crafted from a blend of traditional and high-tech materials and available in a variety of colors. You can order directly from Sabelt's website for 129-139 euros a pair, but Classic Driver magazine's got a pair to give away for free if you've already blown your money on tickets to Quantum of Solace or the 24 Hours of Le Mans.


[Source: Classic Driver via Luxist]


First official Aston Martin Rapide image comes online

It's only one image, but it's supposedly the real deal. Or so says CAR Magazine in the UK, which published this rendering of the upcoming Aston Martin Rapide today. The publication claims the computer-generated rendering comes straight from Aston and previews the final form of this ├╝ber four-door coupe. They apparently have another image in hand but are saving that for the January 2009 print issue of CAR. From what we can see, it appears that the Rapide will remain very true to the concept version. CAR notes the front end has changed a bit with the concept's quad air intakes being replaced by an upper and lower grille, and there's now a more creased character line running down the length of the vehicle. The rear has supposedly changed a little as well, but is not viewable from the angle we get in this rendering. The mag is also claiming the Rapide will be powered by a big 6.0L V12 producing 500bhp and 420 lb-ft of torque, which should be enough to keep the large sedan, err... coupe, moving briskly.

Gallery: Aston Martin Rapide Concept

[Source: CAR]


Aston Martin Racing reveals new Vantage GT4 to replace N24

At the Dubai Autodrome this week, Aston Martin revealed the car that will replace the Vantage N24, which has raced successfully in the FIA GT4 class and endurance events like the 24 Hours of N├╝rburgring for the past two years. Named the Vantage GT4, the new racer will employ a racing version of the production car's 4.7L V8 in place of the N24's slightly smaller 4.3L V8. Other race-bred modifications include a free-flow exhaust system, dry sump lubrication and new engine management software calibrated for racing. The new GT4 is hand-built by Aston Martin and can be ordered by race teams from the factory with a six-speed manual transmission or Sportshift tranny with paddle shifters. The production car's interior gets gutted and replaced with a molding of the dash that's covered in Alcantara suede (which also covers the steering wheel), a steel roll cage and Recaro competition seats. The suspension has been beefed up for race duty and the wheels are now cast magnesium wrapped in Yokohama race rubber, but Aston has carried over all of the production car's active safety systems like stability control, traction control and ABS. If you're a gentleman racer, you can order the new Vantage GT4 from the factory for £96,645 and have it ready to race by this January.

Gallery: Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4

[Source: Aston Martin Racing]


Autoblog goes to the movies: No solace in this quantum

After Daniel Craig's triumphant return as James Bond in Casino Royale, my family and I were really looking forward to seeing his sophomore effort in Quantum of Solace. We were among the guests at a Ford preview screening of the new Bond flick last night, and after we walked past the gorgeous Aston Martin DBS placed in the lobby (talk about product placement), the movie got off to a promising start. The opening chase sequence with Bond's DBS being pursued by a crew of Alfa Romeo 159s was classic 007. In fact, the first third of the movie was actually quite promising. Unfortunately, my wife, who is a film buff, noticed something during the opening credits that is usually a bad omen: three different screenwriters. That's typically a sign that other writers had to be brought in to fix the original script.

In this case there were a number of plot elements that seemed to pop up and then be forgotten, while others seemed to appear with no explanation. It's almost as though the three writers were each assigned one act to write and not allowed to read the work of the other two. Given that Ford hosted this screening, it should come as no surprise that Ford vehicles figured prominently. Fortunately, having multiple brands in the family allows for some extra variety in the movie vehicle fleet. While the Ford Edge dominated after the opening, Volvos, Range Rovers, and Jaguars also appeared. Now that Aston Martin, Land Rover and Jaguar have been divested, it seems unlikely that Ford will be a part of the next Bond Film. What about the stuff besides the cars? Read on after the jump.

Gallery: Quantum of Solace


Project Kahn retrofit interior for Aston Martin Vanquish S

If you haven't been living in a cave, shut off from the fantastic world of European supercars for the past decade, then you'll likely know that Aston Martin has been hard at work on a succession of new flagships since the vaunted Vanquish. But Aston Martin is an automaker deeply rooted in its heritage, so even after discontinuing the Vanquish, it came back to give it some upgrades. Now, noted British tuning house Project Kahn has followed suite by revisiting the Vanquish S with a new interior package.

Kahn's vision for the Vanquish's interior includes a custom dashboard, center console, seats, door panels, steering wheel and roof lining decked out in the customer's choice of contrasting Nappa and Alcantara leather trim, deliciously perforated and top-stitched. Piano lacquer trim panels and smoked privacy glass also form part of the delectable package. Of course Vanquish owners could probably find any number of upholsterers eager and willing to work up a fresh take on the erstwhile Aston flagship's cockpit, but Kahn presents a compelling option. Follow the jump for the press release and check out the high-resolution images in the gallery below.

Gallery: Project Kahn Aston Martin Vanquish S interior

[Source: Project Kahn]


Second Aston Martin One-77 teaser video rises from the mist

Laced with shadowy images of details of the upcoming Aston Martin One-77, the company has released their second video teaser for the new supercar. Comparing it to the company's legendary limited production DB4GT Zagato, the One-77 is said to be the "Embodiment of Aston Martin." AM tell us it should feel like it's been tailored to the driver and that it has new technologies, exclusive components and handmade body panels. The talking heads call it a piece of art and then go on to describe how this piece of art will behave, with unbelievable performance, programmable control feedback and an exhaust note beyond compare. As we've reported before, only 77 examples will be built, all powered by a hand-built 7.0-liter V12 capable of pushing the carbon fiber beast from 0-60 in 3.5-seconds, with a top speed north of 200 mph. All for just £1 million... and it's already sold out. The full video is after the jump. Aston Martin promises the next video in January 2009.

Gallery: Paris 2008: Aston Martin One-77


Gallery: Aston Martin One-77 Teaser

[Source: Aston Martin]


Aston One-77: short, wide and fast, with only 5 coming to U.S.

Despite a slowing economy, Aston Martin is not shying away from tackling some high-priced territory. Its Rapide four-door coupe is on the way, the as-yet un-named convertible DBS is due imminently, development of the V12 Vantage continues, and it's re-launching the Lagonda marque with some new luxury machinery. All the while the next DB9 and Vantage are tipped to go up-market, but not before the ultra-premium One-77 lands in the hands of a few very fortunate customers. Only six in the U.S. to be exact, with just five destined to stay in the UK out of the total production run of 77. That leaves 66 for the rest of the world, and just where they'll all end up is open to speculation, but expect a fair few to be destined for emerging luxury markets in Asia especially.


Although the One-77 won't be officially unveiled in full until next year - we got a partial preview last month in Paris - the first batch of pictures is already out, and initial specs have now found their way onto the internet. CEO Ulrich Bez has confirmed that power will come from an artfully-crafted derivative of the company's existing 6-liter V12, bored and stroked to 7 liters and producing somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 horsepower and 520 lb-ft of torque. All that power will have to move just 1500kg, lighter than the 1630kg V8 Vantage, the 1760kg DB9 and even the lightweight 1690kg DBS. Despite the One-77's imposing silhouette, at 4576mm it will actually measure 133mm shorter than the DB9, but 196mm longer than the compact Vantage, while at a stout 1223mm high and a lane-dominating 1900mm wide, the supercar will also be shorter and wider than either the Vantage or the DB9. Bez claims that an all-out performance battle with the Bugatti Veyron isn't the point of the One-77, but a top speed well in excess of 200 mph is all but guaranteed.

Gallery: Aston Martin One-77 Leakage

[Source: Autocar]


The story of the Vantage that crossed Asia finally finished

Driving an Aston Martin V8 Vantage over the Asian Highway to promote highway safety strikes us as, if not the least safe thing we can think of, certainly dubious. Yet the Project 30,000 car piloted by Britons Richard Meredith and Phil Colley made the trek safely, albeit with quite a few adventures along the way: a cattle stampede, border hassles in Turkmenistan, and a sandstorm in China. And that road you see in the picture above is apparently what they call a "detour" in certain parts of the world. Yeah. The book of the journey,
Driven Together, will come out late next month. To whet your appetite, check out the gallery of photos below, or if you can't wait, head over to Mercury Books now and pre-order a copy at a discount.

Gallery: Driven Together Book

[Source: Mercury Books]


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