CNET bashes the V8 Vantage Roadster

This video is suddenly doing the rounds on the interwebs, even though it was apparently uploaded to YouTube in May. It was new to me too and must say it is .. ehm… interesting.
But before I go on, let’s watch the video:

I must admit he makes some valid points, but still it’s clear this reviewer had already made up his mind about the car before he even touched it.
Or maybe he set out to do a Jeremy Clarkson-like hilarious review of a foreign car. Problem is, he failed, the guy just isn’t funny…

Anyway, let’s go over some points this dude makes:

Sat Nav system – horrendous interface

True, the sat nav system is a bit old fashioned, especially the old Volvo system. But hasn’t that been replaced by the new Garmin system by now? This review was done in May so I think his review car must have had the Garmin system already. That isn’t too bad, is it?
I admit, it would be nice if Aston would some day get its’ act together and bring an integrated multi-media system, with sat nav, media, aircon-controls, etc… all controlled through one screen. But even the new Vanquish still has the separate sat nav screen at the top of the dash.
Oh well, it doesn’t bother me really. For me even the old Volvo sat nav works fine.

Bluetooth an option, no audio streaming

I can’t remember Bluetooth being an option when I spec’d my last Vantage. Must say I have never seen a Vantage without it. But I agree, bluetooth and bluetooth audio streaming should come as standard in a 2012 car.

Phone won’t fit in the cradle

He makes it seem like that leather strap is the “phone cradle”, to connect your phone to the car. It isn’t. The iPhone connector is in the compartment between the seats, beneath the lid. I have never ever heard that strap referred to as the “phone cradle”.

What’s this leather “sex toy”?

Dude, that’s the leather cushion that fits in the cup holder. It extends the armrest for the driver.

Compartments behind the seats, crappy toolkit, pen holder

Ehm… who cares.

The crystal key and the emotion control unit

They got this obsessively fancy crystal key and they also got something called the Emotion Controller, it’s in the manual but they don’t tell you what it is…

They sure look alike don’t they, that crystal key and the Emotion Controller displayed in the manual…? Maybe, just maybe, they’re the same thing?

The gauges

Now he really gets into the important stuff. If you’re planning on buying an Aston, make sure you know about the following shortcomings because they may be a deal breaker:

  • Can’t read markings on the fuel gauge: Seriously? You need clearer markings between Full and Empty? If the gauge is pointing halfway between F and E, what do you think it means?

  • Speedometer scale: A quote:

    The speedometer goes to 220, the car goes up to 180, you’ll be going to maybe a 100… so why waste all that space on the gauge?

    Ehm, because some people, gasp, do go over 100? And BTW, did you really miss the digital speedometer in the middle of the dash?

  • Tachometer goes counter-clockwise: Oh noes, look what those wacky Brits did, the tachometer goes the other war around. So? I always thought that was a nice touch. In any case I don’t see the problem. By now I got so used to it that whenever I’m driving a different brand car the tachometer feels weird…

He doesn’t fit

I’d always have the top down, even in the rain, because that’s the only way I fit in this car.

So what happened at 5:05 in the video? Looks like he suddenly fits just fine, with room to spare.

But I admit, I am 6’3” and don’t fit comfortably in a V8 Vantage Roadster with the standard seats. In my first V8 Roadster, which did have the standard seats, I had the seat rail lowered and some padding removed, after which I fit fine. In my later Vantage’s I just got the carbon fibre sports seats, which sit much lower giving me more than enough head space.

The Sportshift automatic gearbox

This is where I fully agree with the reviewer. The Sportshift gearbox in the V8 Vantage kinda sucks. It’s slow and bumpy, especially in city traffic and while parking.
However, leave the city, switch off Comfort mode (or put it in Sport mode), and the gear changes become faster (but more brutal) and you’re get the superb down-shifting noise as it automatically blips the throttle.
In short, I always had a love/hate relationship with the Sportshift 1 gearbox.

My tip: just get a manual gearbox, or better yet, skip on the Vantage and get a Vantage S with the Sportshift 2 gearbox, which is
much better. Faster and more seamless gear changes (but sadly, less blipping).

Suspension is really hard

Ehm, yes it is. This is a sports car, not a Prius.
And the V8 Vantage suspension really isn’t that hard. In fact, it’s the softest in the Vantage range. The Vantage S is harder and the V12 Vantage even more.

So what about the engine and noise?

What struck me most in this review is that this guy doesn’t even mention the main attraction of the V8 Vantage: the fantastic V8 engine and the wonderful noise it makes. He just brushes over it because “he can’t get to the engine because of the gearbox”.
This is what makes me think he deliberately and up-front decided not to like this car. Do a bit of bashing for the sake of bashing.

I mean, who doesn’t like the roar of the V8 Vantage?
Maybe CNET should just stick to reviewing smart phones and laptops…

(BTW: Bang & Olufsen in an open car? Hell yeah!)


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