Great comments, I am was not familar with the powerpack. The changes make sense which begs the question as to why aston didnt make it that way in the first place.
I can only guess that Aston thought their market would be more geared towards the GT than the sports car initially. The engine with a heavy flywheel and laggy throttle response is a better cruiser. The stock suspension was relatively soft as well from what I've read, mine has the later sport pack so I don't have 1st hand experience.
Just looking at your interior pic and from memory of the one I went in, the gear shift surround is cheapish hard plastic, the inside door handles felt fiat and a few other egregious bits. Not a deal breaker but they could have and should have gotten all the touch feely buts right. The interior though is clean, unlike the overworught tarts handbag that is the new one.
The surround is actually polished aluminum and the door handles and rests are painted, cast aluminum. All of the climate control knobs are aluminum as well. If it looks like metal in this car, it is, aside from that upper console piece on some cars.
As for steering feel and handling I'll take your word for it. No reason though for the ride to be so harsh.
The sport suspension is a stiff suspension, with big 19" wheels and stiff sidewall tires, but I wouldn't say that it rides more harsh than a 911. it's more plush than my sport pack Elise
As for sightlines, thats the price of great styling, we cant have great lines and proportions as well as honda sightlines.
The old vs new car reminds me of what I saw just yesterday. A new dayglo green and black Mclaren 570 being followed by a mint 928 S4. One was just crass and the other really classy great looking and appealing. I wonder what it says about our current society that modern fast cars are so obvious and crass. I guess they need to look really really fast while the paddle crowd drives them in traffic at the speed limit.
Anyway It seems like we have lost Aston, all thats left now is the Miata and Lotus, well there is the new renault alpine but you cant get that here. Lotus fortunatly keeps making all the right noises about keeping its mojo. The Cayman Gt4 I also hear great things about and they look decent. But the classy front engined Gt seems to have died with the last vantage.
I've long maintaned that the aston vantage is the futie classic collectable. Hadnt thought of a powerpack car before, always assumed the V12 was the only one to get, but now you have me thinking, and Ill bet a v8 powerpack is reasonable to buy. How has it been to keep running?
I've also never driven a 4.7L car, I understand they have noticeably more torque than the 4.3. I wouldn't complain if I had a 4.7, but I like the rev-able nature of the 4.3 and the sound, oh the sound.
I'm sure the V12 is a monster and still has great chassis balance, but if you look at where that engine sits, it's much higher and further forward than the V8.
I may just not be power hungry, but I've never felt that 400 hp isn't enough in this car. It's definitely not as much violent thrust as say, a Hurcan or a 991 Turbo, but it's certainly plenty as far as I'm concerned. I generally enjoy the character of an engine than the ultimate power numbers. The 4.3 has alot of personality.
As for maintenance, they are very solid, well built cars. They have few design faults and are generally pretty reliable. They go through tires pretty fast and the stock clutch can be hard to master and wears quickly. I had a 986 Boxster S for a long time and it was alot more temperamental than the Vantage.