After conducting promotional duties at the Melbourne Grand Prix, we put this Aston Martin Vantage F1 on our favourite Sydney roads. Is it fast enough?





What we love
  • The way it looks
  • The way it sounds
  • Not a limited-edition, it’s here to stay

What we don’t
  • Sits awkwardly between sports car and grand tourer
  • Interior needs an update
  • Terrible Bluetooth

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Introduction

“But then I checked how much the safety car was sliding in the corner, and I don’t think there was anything more that he could give, so I didn’t want to put too much pressure.”

It’s quite remarkable that the wee Aston – strangely making do with 150kW less than the Mercedes-AMG safety car it alternates duties with – is able to just about keep up with the world’s fastest automobiles.



Funnily enough, I jumped behind the wheel of the 2022 Aston Martin Vantage F1 just after it conducted light duties at the Melbourne Grand Prix, so the moral of the story landed strangely ironically on me.

Speed is probably going to be the last point of concern in this road review.

After all, I was hitting the open road, surviving the daily motorway grind, and later indulging myself on a few of my favourite roads, just like the ‘un-mere’ mortals paying $340,926 before options and on-roads for the same privilege.



If you’re interested by a track review in the capable hands of Drive international correspondent Mike Duff, click here. If you want the road review by yours truly, read on.

The 2022 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition is a new version of the brand’s 911-fighter, or sports car. The product sits underneath the GT-focussed Aston Martin DB11 as the more driver-focussed vehicle in the line-up.

It’s not a limited-edition, rather a permanent model. It’s not a sticker pack with licensed badges and F1 duco either, as this new Vantage’s power boost is just the start of the story.



Aside from the F1 green paint, you also get a wild rear spoiler, improved aero, and even a wholly new steering rack – showing the brand’s intent with making the product stand up to those F1-inspired proof points.

There’s only one way to find out if it’s any good, though.

Key details 2022 Aston Martin Vantage F1
Price (MSRP) $340,926
Colour of test car AM Heritage Racing Green
Options Interior Package 2×2 Twill Satin Carbon
Fibre ($8210), rear diffuser insert and blades body coloured ($1570)
Price as tested $350,706
Rivals Porsche 911 | Mercedes-AMG GT C

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Lime-green highlights are probably the last thing you were expecting, but surprisingly they contrast well against the muted green paintwork outside.

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The seats feel good too – well-bolstered and with adjustable wings to squish your fat bits, but are best suited to larger folk. I struggled to get comfortable with my skinny and gangly 73kg frame, but it pays to acknowledge we are all built differently.

Visibility from the driver’s seat is fantastic, but like all two-door GT cars, your view becomes slightly crippled past a frontward-facing 180-degree arc. As a front-engine car you usually have a clear view out back, but this Vantage has a huge wing covering the back window, so make sure you use the reverse camera instead.

Materials inside are both luxe and sporting, just as you’d expect, with acres of Alcantara covering the whole lower centre console, knee pads, and all of the seats. What isn’t fluffy and fuzzy is generally hard and detailed, as it’s probably expensive carbon fibre and not plastic. Our car has an $8000 optional carbon interior pack, so I really mean everything was made from carbon.

Sadly, the lovely material is covered in a sea of switches – complete with kitsch typefaces and a push-button transmission gear selector – that look cheap. Same goes for the overall design of the air-conditioning controls and centre stack too. It looks busy, squashed, and maybe swollen, with those large central air vents reminding me of the interior found in a 1996 Honda Integra VTi-R.

Jump behind the wheel of any modern Porsche 911, latest C7 Chevrolet Corvette, or even the now dated, old and outgoing Audi R8, to see how a sports car interior should look. Times have moved on, and Aston Martin needs to catch up.

Another bugbear is the octagonal steering wheel, as it can feel knobbly and pointy while it spins through your hands. Brands like Audi have pivoted back to using round wheels only, and that’s because steering wheels should be round in a road car.



Behind the driver is a small storage area that features a fold-up partition to get the most of the boot behind, and not much else. It’s a driver-centric cabin with little to no storage either, so one that doesn’t care for the detritus that follows you around, like your bag.

Speaking of which, you’ll probably use the 350L boot to store all your wares. It’s big enough for a kid’s gym bag and could work on the school run, but if planning on hitting the back nine after, you’ll need to ensure your clubs are left on-site.

2022 Aston Martin Vantage F1
Seats Two
Boot volume 350L
Length 4490mm
Width 2153mm
Height 1274mm
Wheelbase 2704mm

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Infotainment and Connectivity

Plonked in the centre of the luxurious leather-clad dashboard is a simple 8.0-inch display. While not the largest display in the world, one could argue that in a car so occasional – like an Aston Martin – screen size is a moot point.

I agree, but for different reasons. I would see a massive screen as distracting. Parking the subjective for a second, however, what isn’t up for debate is the lack of Apple CarPlay connectivity. It instantly makes the system feel old.

Then there’s the Bluetooth audio quality, which is bad by any car’s standards. With the volume set to 80 per cent, the single speaker that the phone audio comes through isn’t loud enough to be heard clearly over general cabin ambiance.

When set to 100 per cent, it isn’t much better. Worse yet, your caller will surely note the terrible echo introduced because you turned the volume up. Although a potential moot point to some as well, I still believe the car’s simple functions should operate as intended.



Also, in reality, I imagine the owner of an Aston Martin still wants to call his friends and family, or maybe has an iPhone.

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Safety and Technology

As expected, the 2022 Aston Martin Vantage V12 has not been crash-tested by local authority ANCAP.

Standard safety features include blind-spot monitoring, a self-parking system, front and rear parking sensors, and a 360-degree parking camera. However, things like autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist are not offered.

Where the Aston’s technology package comes to life is the driveline. Under the pretty bum of this Aston is a trick rear differential with a pair of fluid-bathed clutch packs located where the left and right axles protrude to drive the wheels.

What they do is enable power to be actuated intensely accurately, quickly, and finitely, to ensure the drive is both spicy and rewarding.

These clever forms of electronically actuated limited-slip differential (LSD) are really clever and give modern supercars a new level of accessible performance, or at least make them feel that way.



2022 Aston Martin Vantage F1
ANCAP rating Not yet tested

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Value for Money

At $340,000, the Aston Martin Vantage F1 feels like fair value. Its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 produces 393kW/685Nm and results in a power-to-weight ratio of 256.9kW per tonne (kW/t).

Porsche’s 911 GTS is your next best choice, and starts from around $314,000 before on-roads and options. By the time you throw on some goodies it’ll cost the same as the Aston, and its 3.0-litre twin-turbo flat six only makes 353kW/570Nm. However, 0–100km/h times are better in the Porsche (3.4 versus 3.7 seconds).

Another choice is the 2022 Mercedes-AMG GT C, which uses a similar driveline to the Aston Martin Vantage. Its iteration of twin-turbo V8 makes 410kW/680Nm, and similarly costs $341,000 before on-road charges.

At a glance 2022 Aston Martin Vantage F1
Warranty Three years / unlimited km
Service intervals TBC
Servicing costs TBC
Fuel Usage Fuel Stats
Fuel cons. (claimed) 10.3L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 13.0L/100km
Fuel type Petrol
Fuel tank size 73L

Firing up the twin-turbo V8 isn’t met with initial fanfare. It’s a good point, as it allows you to start your day without totally destroying the morning ambiance of your neighborhood, unlike others in the same segment.

The AMG-sourced V8 powertrain is still a brute, though. Although calibrated differently and hand-assembled in the United Kingdom – instead of Affalterbach in Germany – it still hits the same.

Nearly 700Nm is daubed thick and hard from 2000rpm, but it never feels relentless or out of control. The kilowatts manifest in a very Germanic way – maybe too clinical for the wild-winged matte-green coupe with F1 badges on its side.



Still, it’s plenty fast, hence the irony of my introductory quote from Scuderia Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc. It’s also a bit quiet, too, until you turn the factory-fit variable exhaust to loud mode through the vehicle’s overall drive-mode setting.

Amazingly, Aston Martin has yet to figure out that owners like to customise most driveline and vehicle settings independently of each other.

For example, another sports car in the segment has a button that resembles a set of binoculars, and if pushed turns the exhaust to loud agnostic of driveline settings. Other brands have the same button, too, albeit without the binoculars icon.

Even cars like the 2022 Hyundai i30 N – costing one-quarter of the price – give you the power to personalise each component of the vehicle independently, then save as an overall unique drive mode.

However, in the Aston you must brave track mode for the loudest exhaust setting, which also means you stomach 700Nm turning the 295-section tyres with limited traction control.

That’s right, you can only have your loud exhaust with a potential slice of death. Luckily, then, that the Vantage F1 has been tickled in favour of grip than oversteer.



As noted by Mike Duff in his track review, the Vantage F1 – with that aforementioned electro-viscous coupling rear differential – prefers grip over smokey stuff. The brand claims the car must stand up to the badge on its side, and has done so by calibrating the jovial behaviour out by simply adjusting the way its back axle performs.

On the road and in the realms of reality, it feels secure. Even with the imminent threat of halfway traction control, there’s stacks of mechanical grip and headroom to explore, meaning you should not end up in the weeds.

The suspension system is pretty good, too, with three damping stiffness settings selectable agnostic of the drive mode (hallelujah). Comfort mode handled the peppered roads of the Southern Highlands well enough to not want more composure, with track mode on clearer sections just making things white-knuckled.

There’s no denying the involvement of its pace; however, the Vantage never quite feels super sharp and super focussed. The steering feels intuitive to use and initial turn-in inspires confidence, but it doesn’t feel as poised as a higher-end Porsche.

There’s some off-centre vagueness that you quickly turn past, but you’re forever left wondering about it afterward. It’s those ever-so-small moments of doubt that result in the Aston feeling gnarly and damped, and maybe aligned slightly toward grand touring.

Then you realise the cabin noise and lack of amenities, and that it’s far from a masterclass in GT either.



Key details 2022 Aston Martin Vantage F1
Engine 4.0-litre eight-cylinder twin-turbo petrol
Power 393kW @ 6000rpm
Torque 685Nm @ 2000–5000rpm
Drive type Rear-wheel drive
Transmission Eight-speed torque convertor automatic
Power to weight ratio 256.9kW/t
Weight 1530kg
Turning circle 12.4m

Conclusion

We leave the best to last, and that’s the way this thing looks.

With my British, ex-pat, rose-tinted glasses falling from the sky, I concede that the 2022 Aston Martin Vantage F1 is probably the most gnarly-looking sports car currently on sale.

I wasn’t alone in my sentiment, as the anecdote-o-meter suggested everyone else felt no differently. Even a wonderful, elderly and classy Saab-driving owner of a local Southern Highlands business joined me for a quick spin around the block due to the car’s intrigue.

She told me in the car that her son works for Porsche AG in Germany as an engineer, so cars are in their family clearly. We both agreed its wild wing, elegant colour and overt rear diffuser transformed a regular Vantage into a rolling piece of sculpture that perfectly toes the line between style and aggression.

It just also happens to be a rolling sculpture that makes incredible V8 high-tech hot-rod sounds as well. The guttural baritone and performance from its burly twin-turbo V8 give it enough pub brawler to match the optics and impress the fans, too, so it’ll pass the pub test no worries.

Although, on the points of design and powertrain, both are contributors to the Aston Martin Vantage F1’s dissonance between sports and GT, amongst other reasons. It feels hard to be critical, but in this case pick it for emotion, occasion and attachment.



If you’re a driver seeking dialogue with a down and dirty corner-carver, or a cruiser just chasing some touring, you’re probably better off picking something else dedicated to your unique cause.

The Aston is not a tool of trade, but rather one you buy unabashedly, because just look at it.

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Ratings Breakdown

2022 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Coupe

8.1/ 10

Performance

Handling & Dynamics

Driver Technology

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Infotainment & Connectivity

Fuel Efficiency

Value for Money

Fit for Purpose

After more than a decade working in the product planning and marketing departments of brands like Kia, Subaru and Peugeot, Justin Narayan returned to being a motoring writer – the very first job he held in the industry.

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