Matt Becker is the chief of vehicle engineering at Aston Martin. Needless to say, he played a critical role in bringing the British brand’s all-new Vantage sports car to market.
During development, his team benchmarked a number of rival models, something every automaker does. But of this rarefied crowd, one competitor rose to the top. According to Becker, the vaunted Porsche 911 is Vantage’s “main competitor.”
“My first year being at Aston, we bought a 911 Carrera S,” he recounted. “And then we were reading all the reviews about the GTS, so we bought a 911 GTS. And that’s the main car we’ve referenced against throughout the whole development.”
SEE ALSO: 2019 Aston Martin Vantage Review
Becker described this rival model as a very competent sports machine and one of impeccable pedigree. “But I would say we have a car that is more fun,” he added, one that’s got more soul.
“[The] GTS is great, but it doesn’t have that much emotion to it,” noted Becker, who also said the Vantage is more engaging, has a better exhaust sound and is simply more pleasurable to drive in anger. Continuing, he admitted, “The 911 is very efficient and very competent, very German,” but his loyalty is obvious. Certainly, Becker thinks they’ve built a better mousetrap, a product that goes beyond.
At the 2019 Vantage’s core is a brand-new aluminum-intensive architecture that’s the foundation of Aston Martin’s future product range. This conspicuously unnamed structure shares nothing with the preceding VH platform that underpinned the company’s previous-generation product range.
SEE ALSO: 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 Review
By minimizing the use of aluminum extrusions and adding more cast-metal nodes, engineers have been able to make this new architecture FAR more space efficient. Whether you’re in a Vantage sports car or a version of the DB11 grand-tourer, comfort shouldn’t be an issue, something that builds driver confidence, which can result in faster lap times.
Thanks to the company’s new platform, the Vantage can fit anyone from 4-foot-4 to a 6-foot-6 said Becker. “And that was purposefully done to appeal to a wider range of customers,” another potential advantage over its German bogie, though if you want a backseat, you’ll have to get a 911.
As for powertrains, how do you beat a proper eight-cylinder engine for sound quality, drama and wholesome automotive goodness? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Porsche’s flat-sixes, but you can’t argue with a V8.
One – or rather, two-upping – what’s offered in today’s Vantage, Aston Martin may even offer a V12 in the coming years. Becker said, “Technically it will fit, yeah… Have we got any plans to do it? Not at the moment. Will that happen in the future? Possibly.” For proper motoring, you’ll even be able to get one with a manual gearbox in about a year’s time, a seven-speed unit for maximum driver involvement.
SEE ALSO: 2019 Aston Martin DB11 AMR Review
The Vantage is a winner both on road and around a track, but whether it’s able to dethrone one of the automotive industry’s greatest nameplates remains to be seen, despite Becker’s assertions. The Porsche 911 is a living legend, but this is one comparison test that’d be a hell of a lot of fun. When can we book it?
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