No car company on earth exploits collectors with limited editions as cravenly as Aston Martin. The latest, the V8 Vantage N420, is a paintjob, some carbon peripherals and a plunder through the options list. On paper then, not earth- shaking. But wait a minute… N420 stands for the 420bhp, 4.7-litre V8 engine, which all V8 Vantages have these days. But here it gets a new sports exhaust, and once you hit 4,000rpm, there’s a proper rock-gig V8 bellow, and with it all the power the noise promises.
Aston’s optional ‘sports pack’ chassis is standard on the N420, it’s stiffer and tauter than normal. Going slowly, it crumps at every little lump in the road, but put some speed through it, and the springs really start to work with just the right suppleness.
On a straight back road, the steering wheel twists and wriggles in your hands, as the tyres are deflected by bumps. The test car had the optional flappy paddle transmission. It hits you with an old- school pause-clunk as it changes, but because the steering needs such a ﬁrm grasp, it’s handy to keep both hands on the wheel as you brake and turn into a corner.
Aston has developed the Vantage steadily over the years, and it’s now fluent and beautifully balanced, giving you the conﬁdence you need as you load it up through a series of bends and project your way out and down the straight.
A pair of lightweight one-piece semi-race seats are optional, and the main reason the N420 is 27kg lighter than a normal V8 Vantage. It’s enough to give you fantasies about the race series that go with the paint. The — optional, luckily — colour schemes celebrate various racing Astons, and they’re two-tone liveries with a contrast band around the radiator grille, and an equally non-matching screen pillar and roof rail.
The others are luminous green, yellow and a shockingly strident blue. No doubt, there are collectors who’ve bought one of each.