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Aston Martin Vantage vs. Audi R8 – suave sports car or mid-engined supercar

Two of the most surprising bargains on the used market – the Aston Martin V8 Vantage and Audi R8 V8. James Bond and Iron Man.

Both have reasons for their vast deprecation over the years. The Vantage was born as the baby of the bunch – starting life as the cheapest and least exclusive member of the Aston family. All this means that, straight off the bat, the Vantage wasn’t likely to hold value as well as its bigger, more desirable siblings.

The R8, on the other hand, was born as the pride and joy of the Audi family, meant to showcase Audi’s ability to make a proper supercar. At the end of the day, however, the Audi badge is what stopped the R8 from holding proper supercar value. What’s more, the introduction of the more powerful V10 meant that V8 R8s only became less and less sought after as the years went by.

So one car with a prestigious badge, let down by being an entry-level car. And one flagship car, let down by not having a prestigious badge. Quite the opposite predicaments we have here…

What both cars have in common though, is that they are both in that period of being old enough to sink a considerable amount of value, but not old enough to be considered a classic, and therefore rising in value. Remember to buy before the latter begins to happen – the window is open people.

But which is the better buy? Well, that’s for you to decide. Doesn’t mean you can’t get some advice though…

Say you’ve got £30,000-£40,000 to spend on one of these beauties – that kind of money will get you a 2008 Vantage or R8 in good condition and reasonable miles on the clock.

Both cars look and feel special inside and out, but in their own ways. The Vantage is the beautiful British sports car typical of a manufacturer like Aston to create. The R8 is a striking German supercar with great amounts of flare compared to you’re regular run of the mill fast Audi. At this point, you may have already decided on which you like better, just from those descriptions – part of this will be put simply down to taste and preference, remember.

Without further ado, onto the driving! And, this time around, we’re going to start by talking about the R8. Immediately, you can tell you’re in behind the wheel of a supercar. You sit low down in a very driver orientated cockpit, and as you drive along you can hear the rumble of the mid-mounted engine piercing the cabin. Speaking of the engine, it’s a glorious growling 414bhp 4.2-litre naturally aspirated V8. Sure, there’s the later-introduced Lamborghini V10, but that’s outside of this price range – plus, the V8 has more than enough to offer.

The car handles beautifully to say the least. It’s all-wheel drive, but its torque delivery is rear-biased. All this means that you have an amazing balance of grip and playfulness. You can set lightning fast lap times, but at the same time, you can slide it around too. As much as you can be a racing driver, you can also be a hooligan. Perfection!

Depending on model what year you go for, the Vantage will have either a 4.3-litre or 4.7-litre V8. The latter, introduced in 2008, is still in our budget and of course you’ll want that, so lets focus on the 4.7. As you’d expect from an Aston, the engine sounds sublime. The signature roar is very much present with this car and, overall, the V8 has so much character behind it. Not only that, but the engine performs too, with 420bhp driving the rear wheels resulting in a 0-60mph time of just under five seconds.

Along with the introduction of the larger-capacity V8, Aston made some revisions including the steering and chassis. These tweaks result in a more focused sports car than the 4.3-litre model. It’s precise and balanced, but not to the point that you can’t also use it as a GT – this is an Aston Martin after all. Sure, it’s not as thrilling to drive as the R8, but remember it’s not a hunkered down mid-engined supercar – it’s a sportscar.

And really, that’s it right there. The R8 is a fantastic supercar, and the Vantage is a fantastic sportscar, so which is better could just depend on what you’re looking for – a supercar or a sportscar. Moreover, some people may just gravitate to the Vantage because of its good looks and British charm and character. But at the same time, some people may gravitate towards the R8 because it’s just that bit more thrilling and supercar-like, especially with its beating mid-mounted heart sitting right behind your eardrums.

On the other hand, that’s not to mean everyone will easily be able to choose one over the other. Not at least without going back and forth from time to time. The Aston Martin V8 Vantage and Audi R8 each respectively have an atmosphere of great performance and charisma – something that speaks very much to the heart rather than the head. With that in mind, it could very much end up being a tough choice to say the least…

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