The upgrade from base Vantage coupe to F1 Edition is worth every penny.
They say timing is everything, so driving a 2023 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition the same week Fernando Alonso claimed his second podium of the F1 season must be the stars aligning. We were lucky enough to drive the standard Vantage Roadster just two weeks prior to this and found it to be very enjoyable but flawed in certain regards. Aston Martin introduced the F1 Edition a few years ago as a tie-in to its now highly competitive Formula 1 team.
An increase of 24 horsepower might not seem like a massive leap over the base car, but the F1 Edition delivers more than the numbers might suggest. The entire package is a massive improvement over an already great "normal" Vantage - so much so that we believe it's a must-have option when purchasing the Vantage. Here's why the Vantage F1 is possibly the best value (as funny as that sounds to say) Aston Martin on sale right now.
You'd expect to attract a lot of stares when driving any Aston Martin product, but the F1 Edition is on another level. We've had the pleasure of driving every Aston model in the lineup, including the Vantage Roadster, and they were virtually invisible compared to the F1. The color is a huge part of the draw; the special color is called Aston Martin Racing Green, and while it's available on the base coupe, it stands out all the more on the F1 with its F1-inspired body bits. The gorgeous green is one of only three colors available on the F1, including black and white. We can't imagine seeing this green in person and somehow turning it down. It's stunning. For even more flare, all three colors can be ordered in a matte finish.
The F1 Edition only comes with the vaned grille and, fortunately, doesn't get access to the optional mesh from the base car (we aren't fans), and the grille is finished in black or silver. After seeing the vaned grille in both colors, we much prefer the all-black look. It complements the aero kit exceptionally well and picks up on the blacked-out vibe you get from the smoked taillamps, black chrome badges, and matte black quad exhaust.
Color aside, it's pretty uncommon to see an Aston Martin with a giant wing on the back; this is a gentleman's sports car, after all. You can order the car without the spoiler and front splitter, but that sort of defeats the purpose of upgrading to the F1 Edition. The standard aero kit looks menacing without coming across as tacky. It is functional, too, adding around 440 pounds of downforce at high speeds, though we doubt too many drivers will manage that pace on a public road.
The F1 Edition is far more than a Vantage with a wing on the back; Aston has fettled this car to the point where it feels almost unrecognizable from the standard car. Recalibrated suspension, damping, springs, and bushing rates improve lateral grip while reducing understeer. Aston's engineers managed to make the car sharper without hurting the ride one iota. In fact, even on the standard 21-inch wheels, we thought the F1 felt more comfortable than the base Roadster. We understand why the Vantage F1 Edition does duty as one of the official F1 safety cars alongside the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series.
The F1 Edition's weight is only slightly different from the regular Vantage. Equipped with the optional carbon fiber bucket seats, a carbon fiber roof, and other aero bits and pieces, it has a minimum dry weight of around 3,461 lbs. It's a full inch longer than the base coupe and weighs around 88 lbs more, thanks to the model-specific upgrades.
Aston offers the Vantage with a V12 engine, but the F1 Edition still uses the 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 sourced from Mercedes-AMG. Power is up from 503 to 527 hp, while torque stays the same at 505 lb-ft. The eight-speed automatic gets a new tune, enabling more sustained torque during shifts. It's a small change, but one that becomes instantly noticeable when driving spiritedly. Shifts are crisper without ruining daily drivability.
0-60 mph is only a tenth of a second quicker than the regular Vantage Coupe at 3.6 seconds, so buyers looking for a neck-snapping experience should look elsewhere. Even with launch control, the F1 Edition doesn't jolt off the line, opting instead for a smooth, controlled start. It's worth noting that the 690-hp V12 Vantage does 60 mph in 3.4 seconds, so even a huge influx of power doesn't make this car a launch control hero.
While it's no drag strip warrior, either, it is an outstanding driver's car. Aston went for Pirelli P Zero tires, which offer decent grip without the harshness or compromise of an R compound tire. That means you can control the rear end on throttle, getting it loose on command. Some stickier tires might be better for track days, but the Pirellis are fine for road use.
There are only three modes - Sport, Sport+, and Track - for the car and the suspension, which can be adjusted separately. We loved driving the car in Track mode with Sport suspension, as the stiffest suspension made the car less comfortable without much noticeable benefit on the street. Our tester was also equipped with the optional $11,700 carbon ceramic brakes, which provide excellent feel and incredible stopping power. They are expensive, but worth it on a car like this.
As we've said in our previous Vantage reviews, you don't buy this car for the interior. The F1 Edition gets Alcantara on nearly every surface, including portions of the steering wheel and an optional suede $2,000 headliner. Our tester was a bit plain inside with the all-black interior, but buyers can opt for grey, red, or lime green accents. We had the base sport seat, which is optional on the standard Vantage, but Aston now offers a manually-adjustable carbon fiber bucket seat that saves weight and hugs occupants tighter. They look a bit extreme, so we'd hesitate to select these seats unless you plan to track the car frequently.
Aston's technology comes from a several-generation-old Mercedes COMAND system, meaning it's lackluster compared to other modern sports cars with a tiny eight-inch non-touchscreen. We look forward to the infotainment upgrade the marque is developing in-house, which would uplift the cabin here, too.
With 12.4 cubic feet of space in the trunk, the Vantage Coupe is surprisingly usable. It has a glass hatchback, but the main trunk portion is covered when the lid is down. There's an upper shelf area with a foldable divider in case you need a larger storage area.
The Vantage can handle a Costco run for a few household essentials without any problem, and you'll probably come back to a cart attendant taking pictures of it (this actually happened to us).
An Aston Martin can't be considered a "value" buy in the sense that it's an exotic car that requires a substantial outlay - but the Vantage F1 Edition feels inexpensive for what you get. A base Vantage starts at $159,800, while the F1 Edition costs $175,200. That's $15,400 more. Keep in mind that upgrading from a Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS to a GT3 is a $24,700 upcharge. In relative terms, it feels like Aston Martin is selling the F1 Edition for very little money.
If you're going to spend this kind of money on a special car, it's not a far stretch to spring for the F1 Edition. It drives sharper than the base model, attracts way more attention, and the price difference isn't going to be a dealbreaker for those shopping in this segment. Even if you don't like the big-wing look, Aston will let you delete it. While this car exists, we see no reason to buy the standard Vantage. It's that good.
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