2019 Aston Martin Vantage First Drive: The Porsche Hunter

LISBON – Damn the rain. First it turned BMW’s Enduro Park in Malaga, Spain into a mud bowl — rendering Yours Truly’s job of pretending to know how to ride a motorcycle off-road more than a little difficult. Then, the deluge spread to Lisbon where it turned Portugal’s famous Portimao racetrack into a greasy piece of paved slime.

Make that a high-speed, more than a little scary greasy piece of paved slime. Greasy as in anything above 4,000 rpm had the new Aston Martin Vantage’s normally super-grippy Pirelli PZero tires squirming more than Harvey Weinstein deposing for a Rose McGowan civil suit. Still, between lurid slides and babying the super-torquey twin-turbo V8, we learned a few things about Aston Martin’s new budget-basement — for Aston Martin, that is — super sports car.

If you’re looking for perspective, Craig Jamieson says that the new Vantage’s closest competitor is Porsche’s 911 GTS. He should know who is the competition; he’s Aston Martin’s senior engineer for vehicle dynamics. More to the point, he swears up and down that, in deluges like we’re suffering, his Aston will leave said Porsche in its dust … er, wake. Credit, says Jamieson, goes to Aston Martin’s first-ever electronically controlled limited-slip differential which, Aston claims, can basically tie the two rear wheels together with about 1,844 pound-feet of clamping torque in but a few milliseconds.