New Model News

Get ready to drool: Aston Martin reveals Vantage Roadster

Aston Martin has debuted a convertible version of its Vantage coupe.

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin Lagonda

Aston Martin is once again shaking (not stirring) up its lineup with the introduction of a new model. This is its second in four months, having debuted the DBX sport utility vehicle in late Novermber in conjunction with the LA Auto Show.

It's time to drool over the capability and raw sex appeal of the new Vantage Roadster. It joins the Vantage Coupe in the Aston stable as an open-top two-seater option.

Aston Martin Vantage Roadster

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin Lagonda

"Open-top Aston Martins are always firm favorites with our customers, so it's very exciting to introduce the Vantage Roadster," said Dr. Andy Palmer, Aston Martin President and Chief Executive Officer. "For many, driving with the roof down is the true definition of the sports car experience as it truly brings your senses to life. Vantage has always delivered the purest of thrills, but in Roadster form that adrenaline rush is set to go to the next level".

The superluxury has installed a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine in the Vantage Roadster. Paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, the model gets from zero to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds and can hit 190 with the roof raised.

Despite removing the coupe roof and replacing it with a hardy convertible top, the Vantage Roadster is just 60 kg more than the Vantage Coupe. The roof also benefits from a new Z-fold mechanism. Drivers can lowered the roof in 6.7 or raise it in 6.8 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph. That makes the roof the fastest of any production model vehicle.

Aston Martin has engineered the Vantage Roadster to retain the dynamic drivability as the Vantage Coupe, without compromise. The rear dampers have been specially modified for the car, as well as bespoke Adaptive Damping System software and ESP calibration.

Drivers have their choice of Sport, Sport+, and Track chassis modes that have been specially tuned for the roadster. The car has the same powertrain modes as the Vantage Coupe, and they work in harmony with the chassis modes.

Despite having to store the roof in the trunk, with the roof stowed, the car still has enough space in the boot for a golf bag.

"Convertible sports cars are often seen as compromised when compared to their Coupe equivalents, but the Vantage Roadster remains absolutely dedicated true to its mission of delivering precise, agile and expressive handling dynamics combined with stonking straight-line performance," said Matt Becker, Aston Martin Chief Engineer. "And of course, there's the added dimension of driving a great-sounding sports car with the roof down."

The Vantage Roadster will run you $161,000. First deliveries are scheduled to begin during Q2 2020.

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Special edition Land Rover

Special Land Rover Defender stars in new James Bond film

The special Defender features several 007-inspired touches.

Land Rover

James Bond and British vehicles go together like bread and butter. The spy's most well-known rides come from Aston Martin, but Land Rover isn't sitting out on the action. The 25th film in the Bond series, No Time To Die, premiers in just a few weeks, and with it, a new special edition Land Rover Defender. Land Rover's SV Bespoke division created the special Defender, which in addition to making an appearance on the silver screen, will be on sale for a limited run to 300 lucky Bond fans willing to shell out the cash.


2022 Land Rover Defender V8 Bond Edition The Defender gets exclusive infotainment animations.Land Rover


The villainous Defender is powered by a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 that produces 518 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard, and Land Rover says the powertrain is strong enough to push the hefty off-roader to 60 mph from a stop in just 5.1 seconds. The V8 is a recent addition to the Defender line, and comes paired here with unique suspension and transmission tuning, bespoke spring and damper rates, and a new electronic active rear differential.



2022 Land Rover Defender V8 Bond Edition The 007 Defender V8 get special puddle lights.Land Rover


Unique touches to the 007 Defender include "Defender 007" treadplates, special infotainment animations, and "007" exterior puddle lamps. The interior will get a laser-etched detail plate to denote its number among the 300 vehicles. No Time To Die will feature the Defender front and center, but it's not the only Land Rover in the film. Two Range Rover Sport SVR SUVs will also make an appearance, along with a Range Rover Classic and a Land Rover Series III.


2022 Land Rover Defender V8 Bond Edition You'll need to be really into Bond to truly appreciate the special Defender.Land Rover


If you're more interested in seeing the Defender's time on screen than you are in getting behind the wheel, it hits theaters in the U.S. starting on October 8, 2021. The film will be the fifth and final movie to feature Daniel Craig as Bond. However, if you're really excited about the Defender, get ready to pay up. Prices start at $114,600 and supplies are extremely limited.

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Family driving

Can your family live with a convertible?

Convertibles are fun, but can your family handle the size and driving experience?

BMW

Testing convertibles is always great fun, but they sometimes show up when the weather isn't ideal. Here in Maine, our drop-top driving season is fleeting, which can make for a tricky time driving with the top down. This year, however, a 2021 BMW 430i Convertible showed up in early August and I had an entire week of sun to soak up in the open air. I have two children, however, and own a three-row SUV to haul them, their friends, and all the accompanying gear. Squeezing into a convertible is possible and even fun at times, but it got me thinking: Could a convertible be a car we could live with on a daily basis? The answer for me is no, but there's more to the story, and I'm certainly not ruling out a drop-top purchase for my family at some point in the future.

Of course, none of this came as a surprise to me. Last year, I tested the BMW M850i Convertible, and while it was a blast, there was nothing about it that screamed "family car." This BMW is no different, but my younger daughter's shift to a booster seat from a full-size harness car seat made the back-seat fit for both of my kids much easier. Now, it's a little easier to see how the 430i Convertible could be a perfect weekend or summer car for a family that is already set with roomy daily drivers.

Here's how owning a convertible might play out for your family.


2021 BMW 430i Convertible The BMW 430i Convertible is premium, inside and out.BMW

Open-Top Fun – At a Cost

This BMW's price tag lands in the mid-$50,000 range with a few desirable options, which is about right for a premium brand convertible. There are much cheaper options to be had, however, in the Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro. Both cars come in a convertible format and can be found for around half the price of the BMW. There are performance and luxury penalties when moving to the less expensive options, but for most people the draw of a convertible is the open-top experience itself. You don't absolutely need screaming performance or a top-notch interior to get the full convertible experience.

Good in Small Doses

My kids are over the moon about riding in a convertible for a while, and then spend the rest of the time complaining about noise, bugs, and wind. Rolling the side windows up helps, and models with a retractable rear windscreen are even better, but the reality is that some kids are not the best at dealing with outside-the-norm car experiences. More often than not, we'd end up driving for half an hour or so with the top down, a few more minutes with the windows up, and then the rest of the time with the top closed. That's no fun in a small car that feels even smaller with the top up.


2021 BMW 430i Convertible If your kids are like mine, the open-top experience comes with some tradeoffs.BMW

Weather Woes

I get that most of you don't live in Maine like I do, and that your spring, summer, and fall months extend longer throughout the year. You're able to enjoy the open-top driving experience more often than those of us in New England, but there will still be times that driving a convertible is less than enjoyable. If you live in Florida, for instance, how often are you going to want to drive with the top down when it's 90 degrees with 80 percent humidity under the bright sun? Even with the wind in your hair, that will get old. Keep this in mind if you're shopping for a convertible.

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