The entry level Aston Martin V8 Vantage range gets a big upgrade for 2012. Changes to the top-end of the Aston range will happen later this year when the new and exclusive V12 Zagato enters production.

The revised 4.7-litre 426 PS V8 Vantage gets a raft of improvements first seen in the Vantage S. The standard six-speed manual transmission remains, but the optional six-speed Sportshift AMT has now been replaced with the seven-speed Sportshift II. This new ‘box brings an additional gear, closer ratios, lower final drive and a quicker, refined shift quality.

The V8 Vantage’s chassis gets quicker steering, bigger brakes and wider tyres. A new steering column installation, re-valved power-steering pump and a quicker ratio of 15:1 (17:1 previously) is matched with stopping power from new 380 mm two-piece ventilated cast-iron front discs and six piston calipers. This new braking system also includes Hill Start Assist. Tyres are 10 mm wider than the outgoing model.

Looks wise, changes are inspired by the Vantage S and N400 limited edition. Up front, a lower bumper with aerodynamic splitter houses a larger air intake. At the rear, a diffuser “creates added drama and function” while sculpted “race-derived side sills” complete the more muscular appearance.