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Convertible Comparo: Aston Martin DB7 Vantage vs Jaguar F-Type

Robert Emslie August 25, 2014 Car Shows, Cars and Coffee, Featured 17 Comments

Aston vs jag

At a recent car meet I happened upon a new Jaguar F-Type that was parked smack-dab next door to an older relation, Aston Martin’s DB7 Vantage. The Jag represents that marque post-Ford, while the Aston is from the days when FoMoCo owned both AM and Jaguar. I thought it might be fun to compare the two and see which one today might be the more lust worthy. If you’re ready to have a Brit-fit, then let’s go.

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When it was introduced in 1994 the DB7 breathed new life into the Aston brand. It didn’t seem to matter in 1994 that the GT was a hand-me down from Jaguar, rolling on a derivation of that marque’s long-serving XJ-S platform and featuring a slew of components from both the cat brand and their joint parent, Ford. It wasn’t until 1999 that the DB7 received an engine that wasn’t also Jag-based. The 420-horse 5.9-litre V12 gave the DB7 Vantage a whole different personality, and joined the Jag XJS as Great Britain’s vanguard of V12 GT cars.

Prices for the Vantage when new started around $160,000 – or about $228K in today’s dollars. Of course, they ain’t building ’em any more and the DB7 Vantage has seen its value on the pre-owned market decline significantly. Today, Hagerty tags the value of a first-quality 2000 DB7 Vantage convertible at $31,801. That’s a relative bargain for a classy V12 drop-top, even one using the taillights from a lowly Mazda 323F.

 

DSCN4950Jaguar’s celebrated return to smallish sports cars, the F-Type, costs a hell of a lot more than that at present. However, as you are likely aware, that British brand suffers depreciation that’s even deeper than that of the DB7, so perhaps waiting a few years might bring it into the realm of affordability for us Average Joes as well.

Just like Veruca Salt however, we want it NOW, and as such a 495-horse 5.0 V8 convertible will currently set you back a whopping $92,000 before you even get a chance to review the options list.

Both of these cars happen to be equipped with automatics, the Aston with the optionally available ZF 5-speed unit, and the Jag with its standard box that offers 8-cogs for all your frontwards-moving enjoyment. The Jag’s Quick-Shift transmission, it should be noted, also comes from the gear heads at ZF.

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How do each of these cars stack up, performance wise? Well, according to Car and Driver, the two-ton Aston will do sixty in 5-seconds while the much lighter (3,671-lb) F-Type V8 S is claimed by the factory to clock in at 4.2 seconds. Both are pretty fast, however when the going gets twisty the more lithe Jag will walk away from the bigger and bulkier Aston.

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When it comes to luxury however, the DB7 takes home the prize. The Jag is modern and presents well with quality materials and cutting edge features. The Aston on the other hand looks nicer than most people’s homes.

The burled wood and leather coverings are far more pleasing aesthetically than the Jag’s (admittedly high quality) plastics. Of course, there’s no hiding the plebeian source of some of the Aston’s controls. which have come from the parts bins of Ford, Volvo, and Jag.

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The bodywork on each car is impeccable. The Jag’s taut lines speak to its heritage without directly aping it, and it’s a far better interpretation of the marque’s history than any of Jag’s current sedans.

The Aston, on the other hand still shows its Jag origins. Sure, it has a iconic stiff-upper lip grille, but the lines are more Sir William Lyons than David Brown. The hood line is appreciably lower than that of the Jag, a function of it being designed long before the EU’s pedestrian safety regulations went into effect.

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You can see that in the picture above, along with an interloper that tried to crash the party. The final bit of the puzzle when it comes to Jags vs Astons is the gravitas that each brand brings to the table. The Aston Martin name ranks with that of Ferrari, Maserati, and Lamborghini for exclusivity, while every day you can see people rolling around town in Jaguar X-Types. Just sayin.’

What would be your pick of these two twin sons of different mothers? Does the class and classic line lines of the Aston – plus the siren’s call of that V12 engine – stir your tea? Or is the Jag – despite its much dearer cost at present – just so much better a car that it would be worth paying the price?

Images: ©2014 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved

  • Both are beautiful cars. And as everyone has stated over and over again, the exhaust of the F-Type is grin inducing.

    Coincidentally, I've been looking at DB7s on eBay and Craigslist for the last few months. I have no idea what the maintenance/parts prices are, but you can get a decent example for $35-40k.

  • For me, it would be the Aston Martin without question. I would also wear a tux to work every day and demand my martini be shaken…not stirred.

    • nanoop

      I hope, like, so much that you have a blue collar job!

    • Maymar

      How would you order your coffee though?

      • nanoop

        Like the Wolf! With sugar on top.

  • PotbellyJoe ©

    Aston. Old-money versus Corvette-money.

  • Aston, because it's cheaper. But not that Aston because I'd have to steal my dad's business casual outfits from the late-90s to match the color scheme (shudder).

    I'm trying to figure out if the parts-bin-ification of this era actually makes these a great car to own while they age, as you're paying for Ford pieces, not Aston ones.

  • Am I to understand neither chassis bears coachwork by Vanden Plas? I shall decline both.

    • No "special edition" graffix, either. I'm out.

  • Maymar

    Just going to put this out there – for the price of an F-Type, you can easily get yourself into a used V8 Vantage, which is both much closer in size, and is available with a proper gearbox.

    And, as far as things that share the XJ-S chassis go, the first-gen XK8 is dipping into the 4-digit price range. Still tempted by the DB7 though.

  • Rover_1

    "There’s no hiding the plebeian source of some of the Aston’s controls. which have come from the parts bins of Ford, Volvo, and Jag."

    -and the worlds fastest Mazda Astina tail-lights, suitably reframed.
    <img src="http://gomotors.net/pics/Mazda/mazda-323-13-hatch-04.jpg"width="550"&gt;

    and the exterior door handles?

    • dr zero

      Rob did mention that the lights came from a 323F (which I am assuming is the same as our Antipodean Astina).

      Speaking of 323Fs, what has happened to Antti lately?

  • labcoatguy

    The XK8/R for me all the way. No funky "Jag in drag" underpinnings like the DB7, and no unfortunate resemblance to the love child of a Mitsubishi Eclipse and a Nissan 350Z like the F-Type.