If you’re like us, you’ve stayed up late at night, waiting impatiently on your couch in the dark with the TV on; wating for Bryan Tyler’s F1 theme song to play from the speakers as the intro sequence for the race begins.
The images of 20 of the best drivers in the world flash up on screen and an excitement fills you from head to toe – it’s race day – Formula 1 race day. Now stretch your imagination a little because we have the keys to the 2022 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition.
Inspired by the iconic race series, the F1 Edition is said to be the pinnacle specification for the sportiest of Aston Martin models, the Vantage, adding official Formula 1 badging all over the interior and exterior of the car, a rear wing and some neat driveability changes.
Thankfully, it’s also not over the top, or garish. Everything, including the aerodynamics outside, the seats inside, and the steering wheel all serve a purpose, and that exterior is definitely very, very easy on the eyes.
The front is sharp considering how round it is, piano black canards on the lower part of the bumper match the splitter for some downforce, while the rear aero is covered by the piano black wing with side plates to match the very aggressive finned diffuser.
The exterior of our tester is finished in a satin AMR Green (or Aston Martin Racing Green), the same green you’ll find on Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll’s F1 cars. Buyers will have the choice of the AMR Green, Jet Black or Lunar White in either a gloss or satin finish.
Inside, there’s a mixture of dark Alcantara, leather, dry carbon fibre and plastic. There’s so much going on in the interior that it took us 15 minutes to start the car and drive away from Aston Martin’s dealership when we picked it up.
The first thing you’ll notice as you sit in those sporty seats is that there are buttons practically everywhere. Reverse, it’s a button. Drive, it’s a button. Everything has one, but so do F1 cars.
The steering wheel is shaped more like a square, but you get used to it after a few turns and it’s wrapped in Alcantara so it’s great to touch and hold. The 8.0-inch multimedia unit that’s been glued to the top of the centre console looks and feels ancient.
Luckily, it works well enough with its built-in satellite navigation, but does not benefit from such luxuries as Android Auto. For Apple users, there’s in-build iPod and iPhone integration with USB playback.
In an odd design feature, there are three stalks on the left hand side of the steering column, but none on the right side. Luckily, we didn’t have a need to utilise the wipers but the indicators are on the same stalk, just to make it interesting.
We did muck around with the cruise control a little bit as well, which is stalk number two, while third is for steering column adjustment. It’s odd but understandable in a car with gigantic fixed shift paddles and because, well, it’s a glorified race car. Deal with it.
Firing the F1 Edition up for the first time is surreal because while you expect some level of noise, you’re still surprised by what you hear, and how gnarly it really is. The Vantage F1 Edition is powered by a monstrous Mercedes-AMG 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8.
Incidentally, it’s the same one you’ll find in the outgoing C63, and outputs 393kW to the rear wheels, which is an additional 18kW increase over the standard Vantage. The peak torque however, remains unchanged at 685Nm.
The latter is reportedly sustained considerably longer for optimal traction and driveability, which is nice when you’re hard at it. This is all mated to a conventional 8-speed torque converter automatic gearbox that’s been re-tuned by Aston Martin.
The consequence is faster and smoother gear changes, as well as less torque cutting on upshifts. A short drive alone is enough to tell us this car belongs on a race track, such is its power delivery and performance.
Aston Martin’s engineers reworked the F1 Edition’s exhaust, ensuring the final note would be a guttural, snarling masterpiece worthy of a Grammy Award, displaying the AMG twin-turbo V8’s true sound, and further enhancing it and giving it more life.
Like us, you’ll be so busy enjoying the sound you won’t notice that your mileage is sitting at 15.4-litres/100km, or more likely, you won’t actually care. Nor will it bother you that the figure is significantly more than the claimed 10.3-litres/100km.
You won’t find Eco or Comfort drive modes in the Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition either, heck, there’s not even a Normal mode. Sport is the standard setting. This can be unsettling yet exciting, especially once you notice that Sport+ is a notch up.
Then you see that Track which is another notch up and your inner Fangio springs to life. The suspension and damper settings can also be changed independently of the pre-set modes via another knob, if you want a more comfortable ride, even in Track mode.
Snarling on take off, the F1 Edition has so much torque that you can still lose the back end regardless of the sticky Pirelli P-Zero tyres and traction control, so tread carefully. That said, the steering is fairly light and this car certainly knows how to hold a corner.
Thanks to the aerodynamics, the Vantage will stay planted, with minimal body roll, regardless of how much you mistreat the steering wheel. Stopping power comes in the form of ventilated two-piece cast-iron rotors that are 400mm in diameter on the front.
At the rear you’ll find 360mm discs and you’ll need every last centimetre of them to haul in the sheer speed and power the F1 Edition can unleash. Model-specific changes like the fixed transaxle and stiffer dampers don’t make the ride coarser either.
The F1 Edition is perfectly capable of cruising to and from the office or the shops in all kinds of traffic, and is actually quite compliant when absorbing bumps and small potholes. We’re told it comes into its own on the track though (thanks to 21-inch multi-spoke alloys).
It’s so well designed that if you don’t have the confidence to throw it around a corner, the car will help you build to that. Safety features come in the form of dynamic stability control, self-parking, front and rear parking sensors, and blind-spot monitoring.
There’s no autonomous emergency braking or lane keep assist though, and no ANCAP safety rating. With that said, the Aston Martin is best summed up as a proper sports car, with the feel and street appeal of a grand tourer.
It’s an amazing car to drive and performs incredibly well on the road. The 2022 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition has a starting price of $340,926 and that’s excluding optional extras such as carbon ceramic brakes and on-road costs.
Our 2022 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition was supplied by Aston Martin Australia. To find out more, contact your local Aston Martin dealer. Pictures and video courtesy of BrakeFast Media and J_Hui Design / Photography.