So how, exactly, has Aston developed and launched what we’d all assume might be a distantly subservient model to the Vantage GT12 and then managed to convince those 150 customers that they’re getting a better sports car with the GT8?

Not with lies or hoodoo, it seems, but details – and plenty of ’em.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
There is a way to drive the GT8 without drawing massive attention to yourself, but it involves staying below 3000rpm. Frankly, it’s not worth the trade-off. Just enjoy the attention

Engineered with weight saving even more squarely in mind than it was with its predecessor, the GT8 starts with a much lighter engine than the GT12: the Vantage’s long-serving all-aluminium 4.7-litre atmospheric V8, massaged to produce 440bhp at 7300rpm (up from 430bhp in the current V8 Vantage S and the Vantage N430), breathing through a new induction tract and outputting through a titanium exhaust with its secondary catalysts removed.

It’s loud, by the way. We’ll come to that.

That engine doesn’t just trim the GT8’s kerb weight relative to the GT12 but also improves its weight distribution, which we confirmed on MIRA’s weighbridge as 51% front and 49% rear – impressive.

As ever in a Vantage, that inter-axle spread of mass is also as it is thanks to a rear-mounted transaxle gearbox. In the GT12, that gearbox was an automated manual only. Here, you can have a six-speed manual if you prefer, as fitted to our test car. Even better.

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Carbonfibre bumpers, front wings, front splitter and sills come as standard, just as they did on the GT12 – and yet they’re clearly not the same body components that we saw before.

The shape of the GT8’s front wings makes that particularly plain, the panels integrating a cut-out designed to suck high-pressure air out of the front arches and reduce lift.

Overall, the GT8’s blend of visual seduction and naked aggression is very beguiling indeed.

The GT8 also shares the widened axle tracks of the GT12, up on the standard Vantage by 34mm at the front and 54mm at the rear, with front suspension springs 25 per cent stiffer than standard and a bigger front anti-roll bar.

But whereas the GT12 had three-stage adaptive dampers and Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, the GT8 gets more predictable track-tuned passive dampers, even grippier Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber and even more aggressive front axle geometry.

If you pick every weight-saving option (carbonfibre roof, polycarbonate rear and side glazing, lightweight plastic cabin switchgear and more), Aston says it’s possible to tease the GT8’s unladen kerb weight down as low as 1510kg – and we can believe it.

Full of fuel and other fluids, our test car tipped the scales at 1570kg, a laudable figure for any modern front-engined V8 sports car.

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