2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage roadster
2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage roadster
2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage roadster. Click image to enlarge

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Test Drive: 2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage roadster

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2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

North Vancouver, British Columbia – 2009 has already been a big year for Aston Martin. The venerable British marque brought to market two extreme machines: the V12 Vantage and the open-air DBS Volante.

Aston Martin, owned since 2007 by English businessman John Sinders and a Kuwaiti investment fund, also brought back an equally venerable name – Lagonda. At the recent 2009 Geneva Motor Show, Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. unveiled the Lagonda concept vehicle, a four-wheel drive, four-seater powered by a V12 engine (what else?) and slated for release to the general public this summer.

This is all very exciting stuff for an automaker that, for the better part of two decades, seem to have fallen off the motoring map. Undercapitalization, lack of innovation and big competition from the world’s other luxury sports car makers put iconic Aston Martin on the ropes, and it wasn’t until the unlikely suitor of Ford appeared on the scene in 1994 and bought the company, that Aston Martin cars would return to their former glory.

2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage roadster
2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage roadster. Click image to enlarge

Among the 21st Century models that have put the automaker back in the mix with Porsche, Mercedes and BMW is the V8 Vantage, an agile and lean two-seat coupe brought to market in 2006. A Roadster version appeared the next year, and in 2008 a number of technological updates were done to the Vantage’s engine, gearbox, suspension and appearance. First and foremost was an 11 per cent increase in horsepower from 380 to 420. Just as impressive, fuel economy and CO2 emissions were improved by 13 per cent.

Those updates and tweaks have continued into the 2009 Vantage Roadster, with new swan-wing doors, a leather and Alcantara interior and a zinc alloy centre console. The all-new crystal-capped key fob is pretty cool, too.

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