It’s not often that I get out of my Aston Martin, I get into another car, and I want that other car more than I want my Aston Martin. Usually I get into my aging Range Rover and I wonder why the automatic windshield wipers are on high even though it hasn’t rained in three weeks.
But that exact scenario presented itself last weekend when I met up with a reader named Steve who let me compare my Aston Martin to his Porsche 911 Turbo. It’s a 2007, just like my car.
And my God, the 911 Turbo is amazing. It’s so fast. It’s so smooth. Why didn’t you people recommend that I get one of those instead of this Aston Martin? Oh yes, that’s right. Because you want to see me break down a lot and write about it. You bastards.
Anyway, now that I’ve had the experience of driving both a 997 911 Turbo and my V8 Vantage back-to-back, I’ve decided to create a comparison for all of you out there who a) might be considering the two cars, or b) are not considering the two cars, but still want a detailed comparison from a man who once owned a 2011 Nissan Cube. Here goes.
When you’re comparing the performance of the 2007 Aston Martin V8 Vantage to the performance of the 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo, some will say the Porsche performs better. Others will say it is the Aston Martin that reigns supreme as the king of the performance realm. Those people are wrong.
Here is the situation: my V8 Vantage has 385 horsepower and does 0-to-60 in roughly 4.5 seconds. The 911 Turbo has 480 horsepower and does 0-to-60 in roughly the speed of light.
It is actually insane how fast the 911 Turbo has gotten. In my video comparing these two cars, there’s a scene where I floor the accelerator in the 911 Turbo and act like a child getting off his first roller coaster. This is not acting. The 911 Turbo is a rocket ship; a bullet train; the kind of car that gets you thinking “if I committed a crime, maybe I could outrun the police… and their helicopter.”
And the handling. My God, the handling. I love how the Aston steers and handles, but getting back into a 911 Turbo years after I handed over the keys to my last 911 company car felt like climbing into your nice, warm bed after you just did 18 months in the hole for stealing an air conditioner. It’s lighter than the Aston. It’s more tossable than the Aston. It feels like less of a “process” than the Aston. And that driving position, and that clutch, and that perfect shifter. It’s enough to make a guy want to quit writing about cars and go back to his old job creating Excel formulas, just so he could get back behind the wheel of one. Not me, of course. A hypothetical guy. (Porsche: You have my number.)
And so, when it comes to performance, the 911 Turbo beats the Aston like a 1 seed over a 16 seed.
Yes, that’s right: I’m going to talk about coolness. This one’s for all my readers in greater Dade County.
Here’s the situation: The Aston Martin looks cool, and the Porsche looks cool. But when you see an Aston Martin, you point at it and maybe you get out your camera phone to take a picture for your friend Mike, who’s thinking about selling his M3 and picking one up. When you see a Porsche, you continue making your right turn on red and forget about it the moment you see a funny bus bench advertisement.
Objectively, the Aston is way cooler than the 911. Nobody ever lifts up their arm to point to a 911, because if they did that, their arm would get tired. But a V8 Vantage, well, that’s a different story. I get people approaching me all the time to tell me I have a “cool car,” or a “nice ride” or an “awesome car,” or a “really cool Maserati.” This is James Bond’s car, for God’s sake. Whereas the Porsche 911 would be James Bond’s car, if James had turned down his spy career to become an orthodontist in a suburban office park.
And even if you get a Turbo, only a small fraction of people know it’s anything more exciting than a standard 911, or even a Boxster. It’s like the Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI. When I see one, I freak out. When a normal person sees one, they wonder if they can do anything to help the poor sad owners of this Volkswagen SUV, stranded on the side of the road.
Then there’s the sound. Here’s the difference: the Aston sounds like a true sports car, with a throaty, mean, irrationally brawny exhaust note. The 911 sounds like it’s asking permission to be such a car.
And so, when it comes to coolness, the V8 Vantage takes down 911 Turbo like a hippo with a finch that wandered into its zoo enclosure.
Ah, yes. The all-important equalizer: value. Now we know that the Aston is cooler and the 911 Turbo is more engaging, but which of these cars is actually better once you account for pricing?
Well, the average asking price of a used 2007-2009 911 Turbo is around $75,000, while the average asking price of a used 2007-2009 V8 Vantage is about $60,000 — which makes sense, as the Porsche had a bit of a premium when they were new.
Given the 911 Turbo’s dramatically higher price, you might think the Aston would be a better value—but there’s a problem. While the 911 is well-known for being a shining example of a dependable, well-engineered, reliable sports car, my Aston’s warranty has already paid out over $5,000 in claims during the first 90 days I’ve owned it. Then there’s the Aston’s annual service, around $1,400, and its higher parts and labor prices than the Porsche.
As a result, my conclusion is this: the 911 Turbo is faster than the Aston, but not as cool, and it’s far more expensive to buy. The Aston is slower, but not by much—and it’s way cooler and much cheaper.
All else being equal, the Aston is the better car. But all else isn’t equal. The Aston is difficult to resell, it offers questionable reliability, it has a vastly smaller dealer network, and it’s far more expensive to maintain and repair.
As a result, most rational, reasonable people will get the Porsche. But I suspect they’ll also get a slight twinge of jealousy when they see a V8 Vantage in traffic.