First Drive: The Valour Is Proof Aston Martin Can Still Make a Perfect Car

By automotive-mag.com 7 Min Read

When the Aston Martin Valour broke cover in 2023, it split opinion. Those on one side of the fence were upset at the Valour’s very existence. It’s a limited-edition car that only 110 people can buy and few can afford. The other, correct side of the fence saw the Aston for what it truly is: awesome.

Aston’s going to lean harder into these limited-run specials with time, as is everyone else. Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Ferrari, and even Morgan have skin in the ultra-exclusive game. This gravy train is only gaining momentum.

Quick Specs Aston Martin Valour
Engine Twin-Turbo 5.2-Liter V-12
Output 705 Horsepower / 555 Pound-Feet
Transmission Six-Speed Manual
0-60 MPH 3.5 Seconds (est.)
Price £1.5million+

The Valour is a special edition that’s pretty special to look at. Its curves derive from the one-of-one Victor released a few years ago, which itself was inspired by old Aston V-8 Vantages and a race car rather wonderfully called ‘The Muncher.’

Valour’s gaping maw is a (mildly) mass-market take on that. There’s a huge integrated spoiler at the back and its grille surround not only doubles as a bumper for low-speed ‘oops’ moments, but also channels air to Valour’s truly massive engine.

The rear light clusters are a neat touch too. First mooted on the 2014 DP-100 Gran Turismo Vision concept, it’s taken a while to get these lights into production, but they made their debut on the Valkyrie hypercar and have found their way into a more, erm, sensible car. The Valour is such a striking car covered in tiny, retro-inspired details that it’ll keep your eyes entertained for hours.

Pros: Stunning V12, Incredible Design, Open Gearbox Mechanism, Tweed

Since it’s based on the ‘old’ Vantage, the interior has little flashes of what came before. The shape of the HVAC vents, the infotainment screen, and the steering wheel have all just been banished in the new Vantage, and it feels at odds to see these anachronistic touches in a ‘new’ car. Still, an open gear mechanism and a massive starter button are more than enough to draw your attention away from the old stuff.

Under the Valour’s skin lies the heavily modified bones of the last-generation V-12 Vantage, which means a 5.2-liter turbocharged V-12 kicking out 705 horsepower and 555 pound-feet. A truly colossal lump of power in a car that’s not big at all.

It’ll breach 200 miles per hour if you’ve got the space, and on the topic of 0-62 mph times, the Valour is quicker than the old V-12 Vantage. But the soft squishy human bit behind the Valour’s wheel means it’s not quite as quick as it could be, and for one very wonderful reason: It’s got a stick.

Aston Martin Valour First Drive Review
Aston Martin Valour First Drive Review

As the sun sets on the manual gearbox almost everywhere, Aston Martin decided to keep it alive for its most discerning customers. There’s not enough of a business case to lob one at its volume models, but when the price tag’s the same length as a phone number, you can have whatever the hell you like.

If a surface on the Valour can be painted a different color, upholstered in a different fabric, or tweaked in almost any way, you can have it done. Tweed was an upholstery option, and it proved so popular that one fabric producer sold out.

Once you’re installed in its bucket seats, a gentle prod of the Valour’s big crystal starter button fires its glorious V-12 into life. A bark shoots through the cabin and is quickly replaced by a gentle hum. You expect the Valour to be far bigger than it is given the soundtrack. Equally, the idea of a motor the size of a house powering a tiny car around greatly appeals.

Aston Martin Valour First Drive Review

Cons: I Can’t Have One, Older Cabin Materials, Outdated Infotainment

Dipping the clutch, the weight of it surprises—it’s not too heavy, but not featherweight either. A left-leg workout feels rather refreshing these days. The wood-topped stick is pleasingly notchy with a short-ish throw. As you shift from ratio to ratio, the stalk clicks off the metal surround, conjuring visions of racing heroics, and hairy-chested people gliding around the Rivera doing caddish things. And then you get to third gear.

Big engine, small car, lots of torque… it’s a good combination in any gear, but third is where you feel the brunt of it. The acceleration isn’t unpleasant, nor is it uncomfortable, but it is unrelenting. More and more speed is thrown out of the rear wheels, the numbers on the dash just keep going up. It’s most excellent.

Aston Martin Valour First Drive Review
Aston Martin Valour First Drive Review
Aston Martin Valour First Drive Review

Of course, you can change how violent the powertrain responds by switching drive modes, but keeping it in the most-violent ‘Track’ is probably for the best. You can choose your own adventure with the dampers, too, though in that case, switching them out of their most-forgiving setting anywhere other than a track wouldn’t be smart.

Its steering feels lighter than you’d expect, but not at the cost of feedback; It’s silky smooth and seems to beg you to go even quicker. You can go as hard as you dare, as grip seems to be in huge supply. Each corner becomes a new challenge that you and the Valour relish.

Aston Martin says this is a driver’s car for people who enjoy the act above all else. Sure, an auto would make it faster around a track, but that’s less fun. With a six-seed stick, looks to kill, and more power than anyone really needs, it’s a vehicle of pure joy aimed squarely at the kind of person with deep pockets who wants to be a part of the machine.

Aston Martin Valour First Drive Review
 

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