Aston Martin cars tend to evolve over the years rather than jump from one dramatic change to another like some of their Italian competitors. Look at a ‘James Bond’ DB5 from 1963 and compare it to a current DB11 – there’s a strong family resemblance and a feeling that Astons never really change over the years but rather undergo a gradual refining process.

With the 2019 Vantage, Aston Martin breaks from that tradition in the most dramatic way possible. The all-new Vantage does have some traditional Aston Martin styling elements but you have to look carefully for them. It’s a breakout car in every imaginable way and while the old brigade of Aston Martin fanciers may say the company has gone too far this time, younger enthusiasts of the brand will probably love it.

The styling of the Vantage goes beyond anything we’ve ever seen from Aston Martin and explores all kinds of sinewy curves and striking design elements. The company describes its new car as “raw and instinctive, unwavering in its single purpose: to overwhelm the senses through its world-renowned design, agile performance and dedicated craftsmanship.” Cleary, the design team was out to shock and not just create another take on Aston Martins that went before.

Although the Vantage has a reasonably familiar Aston Martin profile, below the belt line all kinds of interesting things happen. The sculpting at the rear around the big quad exhaust pipes is an intriguing feature and the generally familiar Aston grille at the front almost gets lost atop the air dam and is completely blacked out. The rear lighting is so narrow it looks almost as though someone drew a line across the back with a felt tip pen. Along the sides of the car, there’s much sculpting of the bodywork and a blackout treatment of the lowermost panels to match front and rear. Like all great cars, this Aston Martin is sure to attract a little controversy until we all get used to it.

Obviously, a car in this class must offer some serious power and Aston doesn’t disappoint. The Vantage packs a front mid-mounted 4.0-litre twin-turbo V-8 under its svelte hood and with 503-horsepower on tap, not to mention 505 pound-feet of torque, it’ll get you to 100 km/h in 3.6-seconds with a top speed a fair bit above 300 km/h. Interestingly, the engine was developed as a result of technical cooperation with Mercedes-AMG. Power reaches the tarmac via an 8-speed automatic transaxle and that’s all early buyers will be able to get, though there is talk of a 7-speed manual gearbox later on. The car uses specially developed 20-inch Pirelli P Zero tyres.

The cockpit is fitted out with the kind of craftsmanship we’ve come to expect from Aston Martin over the decades and is a feast of fine leathers and opulent carpeting. Naturally, the car has all the electronic convenience and safety equipment you’d expect of a 2019 model. The seats are set lower to create what Aston calls “a more immersive experience, intimately connecting the driver with the car and the road ahead.” No serious driving enthusiast is going to argue with that.

Buyers in Spain will have to lay out over 154.000 euros for a Vantage, but Aston Martin CEO, Dr. Andy Palmer, has reported that the first year’s production was almost sold out shortly after a late 2017 launch. Aston Martin is still a very small carmaker by most standards and probably couldn’t handle extra production whatever the order book looked like. The price is very competitive in the lofty class the Vantage sits in and that couldn’t have hurt first year sales. Aston Martin will take your order, but deliveries don’t start until the third quarter of 2018.

ENGINE: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V-8.

TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic.

ACCELERATION: Zero to 100 km/h in 3.6-secs.

TOP SPEED: Over 300 km/h.

I LIKED: Breakout styling for Aston Martin which really seems to suit the car, superlative performance and handling, opulently trimmed interior using the finest materials.

I DIDN’T LIKE: Dramatic though it is, some Aston devotees may not like the styling of the Vantage and might have preferred something more restrained. All-wheel drive would have been nice with this car’s power.

MARKET ALTERNATIVES: Mercedes-AMG GT S, Porsche 911 Carrera, Jaguar F-Type SVR, Lexus LC500, Maserati GranTurismo, Bentley Speed 6.

WHO DRIVES ONE? Dedicated Aston fans who love to have the newest model in the lineup. Drivers who have probably been buying Italian supercars and want to move back to a historic UK car maker.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY: €154.000 (Germany). Delivery later in 2018.