2015 Aston Martin Vantage Roadster GT
You know the type: no matter how special a car some folks have, they’re always on the lookout for something…special-er. If that’s you, our next car is one you may not have thought of: the Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster GT. Sure you could buy one just for the beauty, or even its rarity. But it’s a whole lot more special than that!
One look at the 2015 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster GT, and there’s no mistaking that it belongs in the legendary Aston Martin family.
But while traditional styling cues are obvious, and the overall look is far from fresh, there’s no denying this car is truly stunning; and proof that there is still plenty of shelf life left for a design that works this well.
Sure it’s a beautiful, exotic sports car, but there’s a subtle gentlemanly manner about it that enables it to be appreciated by any age group and members of all income brackets.
Of course it all flows from the iconic grillwork, here nicely trimmed in white and made of real aluminum, not chromed plastic. This Skyfall Silver livery features additional white accents throughout; and is 1 of 5 special paint schemes you can choose from.
Things are clean and uncluttered in the rear, with Aston feeling the design speaks for itself, so no need for excessive badging. Though the added GT graphics package on our tester suggests otherwise.
19-inch graphite forged alloy wheels wear 245-series rubber in front, 285 in the back. The fabric top is power operated and stores itself under a hard tonneau cover and also hides pop-up roll-over protection bars.
Inside, it’s certainly GT car spacious, not the more cramped feeling of say a Corvette. The gauges resemble fine watch faces, and all interior switch gear have a solid, high quality feel. The leather is deep, lush, and even smells terrific.
It’s not all great, though, as with hardly any miles on our test car, some interior surfaces are already showing significant wear. The screen for navigation rises from the top of the dash; while a central controller is mounted lower on the center stack.
And as for options, how about a 1,000-watt Bang & Olufsen BeoSound audio system for $8,330?
But, trunk space for picking up whatever luxury items the typical Aston Martin customer picks up is fairly limited to just 5.0 cubic-ft.
We were very pleased to see that our tester also sported a manual shifter! It engages swiftly and is accompanied by excellent clutch feel. The 6-speed can be replaced with a 7-speed automatic should you decide to wimp out.
Classic British touches abound, like the outboard parking brake handle. But perhaps our favorite feature is sliding the crystal key into the ignition; as it reminds us of Superman accessing the Fortress of Solitude, and the results that it triggers are no less stunning.
Power erupts from a 4.7-liter V8, and while it doesn’t have the bite of a supercharged Jaguar F-type, its bark is much nastier with a more realistic and primal sound. Make sure you engage Sport mode for full effect. Horsepower is 430; torque comes in at 361 lb-ft.
Our drive time was limited to a few days in the Garden State, so we weren’t able to hit the track, but Aston claims a 0-60 of 4.6-seconds and that seems spot on.
The suspension is very tight for a GT, with ride quality easily on the firm side, falling just within daily driver parameters. It handles well enough to surprise, so you’ll need much more than sweeping back roads to find this car’s limits.
Horsepower numbers are certainly far from class leading, but as with most classic roadsters, power numbers are not the be-all-end-all.
As at no matter which speed you’re travelling, this car feels like a true driver’s car; the proverbial extension of your driving soul, if you will. And can both help you remember the joy of driving and forget about whatever was bothering you before you got behind the wheel.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are about what you’d expect; gas guzzler tax worthy at 13-City, 19-Highway, 15-Combined. The Energy Impact Score is thus dismal at 22.0-barrels of annual oil consumption with CO2 emissions of 9.6-tons.
Now for the good news, the V8 Vantage GT in Coupe form is actually the cheapest Aston Martin you can buy, starting at $104,425. Roadster guise of course, costs a bit more at $117,225.
Time may be winding down for this platform, but the 2015 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster GT still exudes appeal and sexiness that few manufactures can channel. And while you may choose to buy it based on looks alone; after spending only a little time driving it, you’ll quickly realize that motoring is this car’s greatest asset.
- Engine: 4.7 liter
- Horsepower: 430
- Torque: 361 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 4.6 seconds
- EPA: 13 mpg city/ 19 mpg highway,
- Energy Impact: 22.0 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 9.6 tons/yr
2024 Mazda CX-90
A Force To Be Reckoned With
If you’ve been following Mazda lately, you’ll know they’ve been fielding some serious new designs; you could even say, they’re latest efforts are 10-times better than before. After all, the CX-3 became the CX-30, then CX-5 became the CX-50, and now it’s the CX-9’s turn. So, let’s find out if this all-new CX-90, their largest SUV yet, is a real multiplier or if it’s all just a numbers game.
Don’t think of this 2024 Mazda CX-90 so much as an updated version of the CX-9, as it’s more of a complete rethink of their 3-row crossover, the first built on an all-new, large vehicle platform for the brand. And this platform carries a host of surprises. Not only does it make the CX-90 bigger by every dimension, but it’s a rear-drive architecture, and features all-new powertrains, including the brand’s first plug-in hybrid, and even an inline-6 engine.
Why an inline-6 to replace the CX-9’s turbo-4? Well, in general terms, I6s are better balanced, run smoother, and can deliver more torque at lower RPM. Just ask the BMW faithful, or any of the truckers you see going down the road hauling more than 20-tons of cargo with their inline-6s.
There are 2-versions of the longitudinally mounted 6, both assisted by turbocharging and a 48-volt mild hybrid system. Output for the base Turbo is 280-horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque; this Turbo S cranks it up to 340-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. The PHEV, on the other hand, is based on a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I4, working with a 100-kW electric motor to deliver 323-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. A 17.8-kWh battery delivers 26-miles of EV driving.
It’s not the prettiest SUV, but it does have very smooth body work; plus, the longer hood and 7½-inches of wheelbase stretch over the CX-9, give it more stately proportions. All CX-90s come with i-Activ all-wheel drive and the brand’s first 8-speed automatic transmission; the longer wheelbase allows tow ratings to step up from 3,500-lbs. to 5,000.
At the test track, our Turbo S launched effortlessly with good grip on the way to a 6.4-second 0-60. The smooth vibes continued throughout the ¼-mile, with refined power delivery, seamless shifts, and a noticeably more solid and stable feel at speed than the CX-9. Our best time was 14.7-seconds at 98 miles-per-hour.
Through the cones, it still behaves like a Mazda, with very good steering feel and a solid presence in corners at low to moderate speeds. Some understeer and body roll will show up when pushed hard, but Mazda’s Kinematic Posture Control uses subtle selective braking to help the vehicle rotate, and safety systems will step in well-before it gets out of sorts.
There’s a nice firm feel to the brake pedal, delivering good stopping results of 118-feet from 60 miles-per-hour. You can feel a lot of weight transfer, but nosedive was well contained.
Another unique element the CX-90 brings is seating arrangements for 6,7, or 8. It’s the 8-seater that’s standard with 3-across bench seating for 2nd and 3rd rows. 7-seaters get either captain’s chairs in the 2nd row, or more contoured seats for the 3rd; 6-seaters sport 2nd row captains and the contoured 3rd row. Cargo capacity varies with seating, but is at best 15.9 cubic-ft. behind the 3rd row, 40.1 behind the 2nd, and 75.2 with all seats folded.
As far as what it’s like to actually live with, the CX-90’s cabin is a clear step up, including on some trims suede-like materials, intricate stitching, and real wood, all consistent with what we’ve seen from the brand lately. A 10-inch dashtop touchscreen is standard for infotainment, with upper trims getting a larger 12.3-incher. We applaud Mazda’s inclusion of plenty of old-school manual controls for radio and climate, which keeps menu diving limited to secondary functions. PHEVs get a few unique controls and readouts to monitor drive modes and battery level.
Overall, the CX-90 is highly functional, entertainingly sporty to drive, and will be more competitive in the ever growing 3-row family crossover segment; and its posh interior may even attract luxury buyers on a budget.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the Turbo S are 23-City, 28-Highway, and 25-Combined. We averaged a good 26.5 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
Pricing begins with the base Turbo at Select trim for $40,970, PHEVs are available in Preferred trim and above starting at $48,820, and the Turbo S starts at $53,125.
Force multiplier is a military term for when strategic elements come together to produce results greater than would have been possible without them. Well, no high-level math skills are necessary here to see that the 2024 Mazda CX-90 is clearly more than just a much better CX-9; it’s now a force to be reckoned with in the 3-row family crossover segment.
- Engine: 3.3-liter I-6
- Horsepower: 340
- 0-60 mph: 6.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 118 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 26.5 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 369 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 14.7-seconds at 98 mph
- EPA: 23 City / 28 Highway / 25 Combined
- Starting Price: $40,970