Only one thing is going through my mind as I blast down the Autobahn at 170 miles per hour: If someone were to give me $100,000 today, I'd go buy a new Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT tomorrow.
I know there are a dozen other choices out there - cars that are more powerful, quicker around a road circuit and much less expensive, but you can keep your Corvette, your 911, your F-Type, your GT-R and your top-spec pony cars. My money would go towards this entry-level Brit with the metallic green paint and bright-yellow race-inspired accents.
Aston Martin has always crafted alluring - and expensive - automobiles. Yet this is the first time one of its offerings has come close to making sense to both the enthusiast's heart and to his or her accountant. It may sound absurd, but considering the GT's engineering, design, pedigree and hand-crafted execution, its $99,900 sticker price (plus $2,825 destination) makes it an absolute bargain.
To experience the new V8 Vantage GT, a model sold as the N430 in other markets, the British automaker invited me to attend this year's grueling Nürburgring 24-hour race. Before I watched its race-prepared siblings lap the famed circuit for a full day (all four Vantage models that entered finished), I was handed the keys to my very own example - in Alloro green exterior paint with yellow club sport graphics - configured with a welcomed six-speed manual gearbox.
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