The Aston Martin V8 Vantage and the Jaguar F-Type are two coveted British sports cars. While one is associated with James Bond, the other prefers the ride of a Bond villain, both ensure that you are not ignored when you drive them down the street. However, depreciation is the ultimate double-edged sword of the automotive world. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, it’s the measure of how much value a car loses as it ages. You buy a new car for, say, $50,000, and by the time you start selling it four years from now, you can only get about $32,000 for it. The rest of that money is gone, paid as taxes to the car gods for the privilege of owning a nice car.
And so the car will continue to depreciate until, after a decade or more, it comes into the hands of the latest “I Bought The Cheapest [previously expensive luxury car] In America, And It’s BROKEN” YouTube channel. But this means that cars that were once far beyond the reach of affordability to the masses are now beginning to come within reach. If we shop carefully, we may find ourselves buying and owning something that we could only ever dream of, provided we are prepared for a whirlwind of potential problems and ruinously expensive maintenance costs.
The UK basically invented heavily depreciated cars. Both the painfully beautiful Aston Martin V8 Vantage and the equally beautiful but slightly more modern Jaguar F-Type sports coupes have fallen in price more than a rack of shirts in a clothing store that goes bankrupt.
Update August 2022: This article has been updated with the latest information to help you choose the better British sports car on the used market: the Aston Martin V8 Vantage or the Jaguar F-Type.
For little more than a well-specified Lexus or Acura, you can get your hands on some of the finest, most beautiful and most evocative luxury sports coupes. The question is: Aston or Jag, which one is the better deal?
V8 Vantage Vs F-Type: Spec-Sheet Battle
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage is almost ten years older than the Jaguar F-Type. It was launched in 2005 and remained in production until 2017. Aston does not rush its model upgrades, partly for financial reasons. Yet there was already a Jaguar connection back then. Both emerged from the shadows of its time under the Ford umbrella, the Aston’s 4.3-litre V8 engine was largely based on Jaguar’s AJ engine architecture. However, a number of changes have been made to the engine design for the Vantage.
Most notably, Aston equipped the engine with a dry-sump oil system, which allowed it to be positioned lower in the engine bay for a lower center of gravity. The car also used a transaxle setup, similar to a Porsche 944, giving it a slightly rearward-facing weight distribution. The total curb weight was just over 3,600 lbs.
The 4.3-litre V8 produced 380 hp, which was good for 0-60 in just under five seconds. Later in production, the engine would be reworked and reworked to 4.7 liters, increasing the horsepower to 420. You could have an automated six-speed manual transmission with paddles or a true six-speed manual three-pedal transmission.
Launched in 2013, nearly a decade after the Vantage, the Jaguar F-Type was a more modern vehicle through and through. It had a modern interior design with a healthy combination of digital displays, analog meters and controls, but the Aston’s timeless elegance still shines through.
The Jaguar did not have a complex dry sump oil system or a transaxle, but had a range of V6s and V8s carried over from other JLR products, including the 5.0-litre supercharged V8 found in all hot Range Rovers and Jaguars sedans, themselves loosely based on a Ford design. In the F-Type V8 S it was tuned to produce 488 horsepower, but as more hardcore models like the SVR were released later, the power was increased to nearly 600 horsepower and four-wheel drive.
Better yet, the F-Type is lighter than the Aston, albeit only a fraction. It officially weighs about 3,500 lbs, so really, a heavy jacket and a big lunch is enough to make up for the weight difference.
V8 Vantage vs. F-Type: Driving Dynamics
Where the V8 was the pinnacle of the range in the F-Type, it was the entry-level model in the Vantage. The V8 Vantage is a beautiful car and it drives as good as it looks. It has a natural balance, the almost perfect weight distribution and the inescapable V8 soundtrack. It’s not the sharpest sports car ever made, nor the lightest on its feet, but it drives and steers beautifully nonetheless.
The Aston is also the only one of the two to offer both eight cylinders and a manual transmission, and it’s a very slick, very accurate manual. The Jag is available with a stick but only mated to a V6 engine and reportedly isn’t that much fun to use. All V8 F-Types use the ZF 8-speed automatic transmission, a transmission found in everything from a Jeep Grand Cherokee to a MK5 Toyota Supra. It is excellent in most cars, and so it is in the F-Type.
However, the Aston’s balance meant it could better control its performance, and it didn’t make much of a fuss with a popping exhaust note, a novelty that wears out quite quickly.
V8 Vantage vs. F-Type: Reliability and Used Market Cost
It goes without saying that none of these cars come close to a conventional sense of reliability. The Aston, even though it was under the watchful eye of the Ford Motor Company, is a hand-built, small British sports car and should therefore be approached with caution. Electronics issues, issues with the automated manual transmissions (save yourself some trouble and try to find a conventional manual instead), issues with interior materials and all sorts of other issues can arise.
Regular maintenance such as brakes and annual maintenance are more expensive, as Doug Demuro explains after owning a V8 Vantage a year ago. He also claims that the car gave him “rock-solid” reliability for 5,000 miles, but your experience may vary.
The Jag is a newer car and so has not had the time to develop so many serious long-term problems. JLR products have had some pretty widespread problems with interior electronics and infotainment systems, as well as some premature rust issues in colder climates. Annual rust proofing is recommended.
There’s also the added complexity of forced induction systems, though superchargers are usually easier to please than turbochargers, and most Jag owners don’t break out their laptops to fiddle with engine tuning.
When it comes to buying one, Astons can be tricky due to their exclusivity. A later 4.7-liter model could cost between $35,000 and $80,000, depending on condition. According to classic.com, prices for a V8 Vantage average just over $60,000.
Since the F-Type is available in abundance by comparison, there are some low mileage examples for $28,000, climbing up to $68,000 depending on condition, equipment and mileage. On average, an F-Type costs a smidgen lower at $57,000 compared to the Aston.
Although the F-Type can offer more modern equipment and is easier to live with on a daily basis. Nothing can match the beauty, prestige and elegance of an Aston Martin.
Neither will make you look like James Bond, though, so get those delusions out of the way before you start shopping.