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Aston Martin to Launch "Hard Core" V8 Vantage RS


V8 Vantage
Photo by Global Auto Index

Inside Line

GAYDON, England—Aston Martin is planning a high-performance RS version of the V8 Vantage that will pitch the new, smaller Aston head to head with the new Porsche 911 GT3 and Ferrari's F430 Stradale.

The V8 Vantage RS, currently under test in Europe, will have a stripped-out interior, an uprated engine, and a stiffer suspension. And it is likely to be followed by a similarly lightweight "hard core" version of the larger DB9. It's due before the end of 2007, priced at around $150,000.

According to Auto Express magazine, the lightweight V8 Vantage's styling is influenced by Aston's DBR9 Le Mans racer, with a low splitter and gaping air intakes supplementing the trademark grille. But the body kit is subtle, so the car is recognizably a V8 Vantage. Indeed, many of the aerodynamic enhancements are under the car. The floor pan has venturi tunnels that channel airflow around the car.

Weight-reducing measures will include composite body panels, a carbon fiber roof and 19-inch magnesium alloy wheels. Together with a stripped-out interior, including racing bucket seats, the RS will weigh at least 330 pounds less than the current V8 Vantage.

Aston is likely to raise the output of its 4.3-liter V8 from 380 hp to 420 hp, thanks to an uprated variable valve timing system, giving 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and 0 to 100 mph in less than 10 seconds. It'll have a six-speed manual gearbox, and a top speed of 190 mph—figures that should match the forthcoming 911 GT3.

What this means to you: There's a big trend in the supercar world toward stripped-out, race-bred lightweight "hard core" versions, and Aston is hopping on the bandwagon.
 
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