Aston Martin’s Muscular Vantage Is a Combination of Sophistication and Aggression
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Aston Martin’s Muscular Vantage Is a Combination of Sophistication and Aggression

By JOHN SCOTT LEWINSKI
Thu, May 16, 2024 8:51amGrey Clock 4 min

Aston Martin builds all of its cars with a peak blend of performance and luxury. Still, their six-figure creations can lean more aggressively into one side or the other of that simple recipe.

For example, the DBD707 SUV hides a 4-litre V8 engine capable of 697 horsepower, but its overall size and endless creature comforts nuzzle a little closer to luxury’s embrace. The small-batch Valour muscles up on the performance scale with its prized manual transmission and 5.2-litre, 705 horsepower V12 power plant. Meanwhile, the recently redesigned DB12 is the company’s best attempt at splitting the performance-luxury gambit right down the middle.

Amid all of those supercar machinations, the Aston Martin Vantage sneaks away to play as the most performance-centric car coming out of the Gaydon, England, factory. Redesigned for 2025, the US$191,000 coupe reasserts itself as the most dedicated “driver’s car” in a very driver-friendly line. Should this be in pounds first?

During a road drive and speed testing event at Spain’s Circuito Monteblanco about an hour outside of Seville, the new Vantage proved itself as Aston Martin’s most accessible track-day companion.

Aston Martin is the most accessible day-track companion. Aston Martin

A first look at the latest addition to its very elite Warwickshire family pulls the eyes right to the newly extended rear wells that jut out around 21-inch, forged alloy wheels. While widening the car’s haunches, the wheel positioning reduces unsparing weight and gives the new Vantage a much more athletic pose.

Beyond that muscular base, the Vantage continues the modern Aston Martin styling tradition of riding the razor’s edge between aggression and sophistication. While the car’s Italian and Swedish rivals opt for prominent fins and big scoops, Aston’s designers keep the lines low, wide, and balanced from the signature highlighted grille to the understated aerodynamic spoiler.

In the performance specs department, the Vantage now packs an AMG-built, 4.0-litre, V8 twin turbo, front-mid mounted engine, capable of 656 horsepower, and a top speed of 202 miles per house and a 0 to 60 mph time of 3.4 seconds.

According to James Owen, Aston Martin’s senior manager of Vehicle Engineering, if the DB12 is the automaker’s distinguished overachiever, the Vantage is its less responsible, but equally attractive pugnacious sibling.

“The DB12 is a sports tourer and is positioned in the market as a GT,” Owen says. “It’s important for us to differentiate between Vantage and the DB12—to make sure that difference is clear for buyers and enthusiasts”

Owen describes the larger, pricier DB12 (starting MSRP of US$245,000) as more refined, while he considers the 2025 Vantage as playful and passionate. He even uses the word “brutish,” if such a term can be used for a technology-stuffed, six-figure sports car.

“The word that we keep hearing when talking about the Vantage is ‘fun,’” Owen adds. “That’s what we wanted to hear. We wanted to create a car that pulls at the heartstrings because it’s so enjoyable to drive. But, we wanted it to have a challenging character to it.”

Previous versions of the Vantage fit that punkier image. While always built for speed and powerful acceleration, the last couple editions of the Vantage were a little more harsh. The steering seemed more aggressive—demanding more input from the driver. The suspension felt tighter, deliberately transmitting more of the road’s surfaces and imperfections into the driver’s backside. If any current car in the Aston Martin line is a direct descendant of the automaker’s racing pedigree at Le Mans or in F1, it’s the Vantage.

Still, amid all this talk of driving fun and racing performance, Owen is quick to remind drivers that the Vantage is still an Aston Martin— steeped in the company’s signature identity of sophistication as the grownup’s more dignified supercar.

“The Vantage also has that added feature in its wheelhouse,” Owen explains. “Yes, it will respond to a driver pushing it in a racing scenario, but—with the technology we built into the car to stabilise the body at its most comfortable driver mode settings – the Vantage is still a very pleasant place to be.”

In keeping with such pleasantness, the interior of 2025 Vantage bears no resemblance to any race car. Handmade and stitched Haircell Leather stretches in all directions in any colour the buyer prefers. The Sports Plus Seats are 8-way adjustable with heat or cooling on demand. The complete infotainment suite featuring the official Aston Martin Audio system from Bowers & Wilkins is a step up from the previous Vantage (and the current DB12).

The interior includes an infotainment suite featuring the official Aston Martin Audio system from Bowers & Wilkins. Aston Martin

Once the internal comforts and engineering feats come together, the experience behind the wheel is a sensual union of car and operator. Acceleration is smooth, yet immediate. The cornering is focused and nimble, and its rear-wheel drive allows for just enough play for the occasional drift at speed in turns.

A key piece of Aston Martin technology makes the Vantage’s elite performance potential accessible to more drivers. The ESP System (Electronic Stability Programme) debuted in the DB12, and the Vantage adopts the tech to its driver mode system. ESP takes information from multiple sensors around the vehicle, feeding the accelerometer data into a computerised concept of the car’s driving conditions and the ability of the operator.

Resulting algorithms react to those conditions, road surface issues, available grip, etc., tightening up the vehicle where necessary to aid the driver and offer as much feel and performance as the given operator can manage.

In its completed package, the 2025 Vantage is aimed at a specific buyer demographic—the driving enthusiast who puts thrills ahead of all-out creature comforts.

“For each project at Aston Martin, we have a customer profile in mind,” Owen says. “They have defined interests that highlight their demographic. For the Vantage, we consider a buyer who is perhaps new to the brand and looking into the ‘entry level’ Aston Martin. That’s a buyer who isn’t concerned with having a backseat or the DB nameplate. He or she thinks performance first and foremost.”



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Should AI Have Access to Your Medical Records? What if It Can Save Many Lives?

We asked readers: Is it worth giving up some potential privacy if the public benefit could be great? Here’s what they said.

By DEMETRIA GALLEGOS
Tue, May 28, 2024 4 min

We’re constantly told that one of the potentially biggest benefits of artificial intelligence is in the area of health. By collecting large amounts of data, AI can create all sorts of drugs for diseases that have been resistant to treatment.

But the price of that could be that we have to share more of our medical information. After all, researchers can’t collect large amounts of data if people aren’t willing to part with that data.

We wanted to see where our readers stand on the balance of privacy versus public-health gains as part of our series on ethical dilemmas created by the advent of AI.

Here are the questions we posed…

AI may be able to discover new medical treatments if it can scan large volumes of health records. Should our personal health records be made available for this purpose, if it has the potential to improve or save millions of lives? How would we guard privacy in that case?

…and some of the answers we received. undefined

Rely on nonpartisan overseers

While my own recent experience with a data breach highlights the importance of robust data security, I recognise the potential for AI to revolutionise healthcare. To ensure privacy, I would be more comfortable if an independent, nonpartisan body—overseen by medical professionals, data-security experts, and citizen representatives—managed a secure database.

Anonymity cuts both ways

Yes. Simply sanitise the health records of any identifying information, which is quite doable. Although there is an argument to be made that AI may discover something that an individual needs or wants to know.

Executive-level oversight

I think we can make AI scanning of health records available with strict privacy controls. Create an AI-CEO position at medical facilities with extreme vetting of that individual before hiring them.

Well worth it

This actually sounds like a very GOOD use of AI. There are several methods for anonymising data which would allow for studies over massive cross-sections of the population without compromising individuals’ privacy. The AI would just be doing the same things meta-studies do now, only faster and maybe better.

Human touch

My concern is that the next generations of doctors will rely more heavily, maybe exclusively, on AI and lose the ability or even the desire to respect the art of medicine which demands one-on-one interaction with a patient for discussion and examination (already a dying skill).

Postmortem

People should be able to sign over rights to their complete “anonymised” health record upon death just as they can sign over rights to their organs. Waiting for death for such access does temporarily slow down the pace of such research, but ultimately will make the research better. Data sets will be more complete, too. Before signing over such rights, however, a person would have to be fully informed on how their relatives’ privacy may also be affected.

Pay me or make it free for all

As long as this is open-source and free, they can use my records. I have a problem with people using my data to make a profit without compensation.

Privacy above all

As a free society, we value freedoms and privacy, often over greater utilitarian benefits that could come. AI does not get any greater right to infringe on that liberty than anything else does.

Opt-in only

You should be able to opt in and choose a plan that protects your privacy.

Privacy doesn’t exist anyway

If it is decided to extend human lives indefinitely, then by all means, scan all health records. As for privacy, there is no such thing. All databases, once established, will eventually, if not immediately, be accessed or hacked by both the good and bad guys.

The data’s already out there

I think it should be made available. We already sign our rights for information over to large insurance companies. Making health records in the aggregate available for helping AI spot potential ways to improve medical care makes sense to me.

Overarching benefit

Of course they should be made available. Privacy is no serious concern when the benefits are so huge for so many.

Compensation for breakthroughs

We should be given the choice to release our records and compensated if our particular genome creates a pathway to treatment and medications.

Too risky

I like the idea of improving healthcare by accessing health records. However, as great as that potential is, the risks outweigh it. Access to the information would not be controlled. Too many would see personal opportunity in it for personal gain.

Nothing personal

The personal info should never be available to anyone who is not specifically authorised by the patient to have it. Medical information can be used to deny people employment or licenses!

No guarantee, but go ahead

This should be allowed on an anonymous basis, without question. But how to provide that anonymity?

Anonymously isolating the information is probably easy, but that information probably contains enough information to identify you if someone had access to the data and was strongly motivated. So the answer lies in restricting access to the raw data to trusted individuals.

Take my records, please

As a person with multiple medical conditions taking 28 medications a day, I highly endorse the use of my records. It is an area where I have found AI particularly valuable. With no medical educational background, I find it very helpful when AI describes in layman’s terms both my conditions and medications. In one instance, while interpreting a CT scan, AI noted a growth on my kidney that looked suspiciously like cancer and had not been disclosed to me by any of the four doctors examining the chart.

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