The traditional Aston Martin grille shape dates back to 1948, where it first appeared on the 2-Litre Sports model. Every Aston since has sported a version of this grille design. But on the new Vantage, it looks quite different—a huge, gaping grille opening with no bars or slats, like the track-special Vulcan. The dramatic new look is not just a styling exercise—it's for weight savings.
, Aston Martin chief designer Marek Reichmann explained that ditching traditional grille slats reduces weight in a crucial area of the car, shifting the weight balance more toward the center of the car and aiding in handling.
"Why put 15 or 20 kilograms [33 to 44 lbs] of weight on the nose of a car, in the worst possible spot?" Reichmann asked The Drive.
Aston Martin wants to position the new Vantage as a sports car through-and-through, more so than its predecessor. To do so, it focused on handling, chasing a 50-50 front-to-rear weight distribution. Achieving that perfect balance requires a lot of work, like positioning the engine as far behind the front axle as possible, and using a rear-mounted transaxle. And yes, getting rid of the grille slats.
Aston also wanted the Vantage to look like more of a departure from previous designs as well as the new DB11, to reflect its sports car ambitions. "This is not a DB11," Reichmann told The Drive. "This is our sports car. It’s a hunter, the predator in our pack that’s going to chase down and pass a 911."
The new Vantage definitely makes a bold statement in its looks, but the functional benefits of that new grille sound great too.