Consolidating the S and GT Vantages, the 2017 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTS represents what is perhaps the last chance sports car enthusiasts will have to buy something straight out of the book titled The Good Old Days.

More and more sports cars are being engineered with turbocharged engines. Sure, they redraw torque curves so they’re fat and flat, and never mind posting better fuel consumption numbers, but these engines lose a some character in contrast with a good old fashioned naturally aspirated set up.

Straying even further from the purists’ ethos, fewer sports cars are available with manual transmissions, swapping those for fantastically efficient and effective dual clutch boxes. Yes, they’re faster – and certainly my preference if my objective is lap times – but manual transmissions aren’t just a romantic notion. They create a level of engagement between driver and machine that is unparalleled, and driving this GTS is sublime.

 

This is one way to spend an afternoon and evening.

A photo posted by Brian Makse (@brianmakse) on

The GTS available in either Luxe or Sport Edition specification. My test car – the one you see here in blue – is a Sport, which is my preference. If you’re paying attention, you’ll notice the plentiful standard carbon fibre both inside and out, as well as the black trim, all part of the Sport Edition’s finishing.

 

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At $138,000 US, it’s priced squarely among some formidable competition, however, a Vantage is a far more interesting choice than something as common 911 or the crude design of an R8. While the 911 is available with a manual, the Carrera and Carrera S models are now turbocharged, and the Audi is exclusively available with an automated transmission.

Either in the video or in the accompanying images, cast your eyes upon this GTS. It’s unquestionably gorgeous, both inside and out. Interior materials are exceptional and are honest in their hand finishing. On the other hand, the modernized AMi II infotainment interface is improved and includes Apple Car Play.

 

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Of course, you could option your GTS with the Sportshift II seven-speed automated manual, and Aston Martin won’t refuse your order, but for the love of all that is good, don’t do that. Get the six-speed, simply because this is one of a few cars in which you can have both a gorgeous naturally aspirated engine and a satisfying manual gearbox.

 

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Don’t forget the V8 Vantage GTS is practical, too. It’s a hatchback, of course. While it doesn’t exactly carry a golf bag (neither does the 911 using conventional methods), there’s more than enough room for a couple of pieces of luggage.

The 2017 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTSs are in short supply because there are only one hundred available for North America and if you want one, you’d better place your order soon.

2017 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTS
Base Price: $138,000 (USD)
Drivetrain: 4.7-litre V8, 430 hp, 361 lb-ft, six-speed manual transmission, rear-wheel drive
Performance: Precisely the right amount of go, stick, and wail to paint a smile on your face
VVUZZ Recommended: This is the kind of car we’ll lament in five years.

 

Images courtesy of the author and Aston Martin.

Published on Jun 24, 2016