Throughout its 108-year history, Aston Martin has produced some of the best-looking cars ever to hit the road. From the now-iconic DB5 driven by James Bond to the concept-car styling of the One-77, the British carmaker has one of the strongest greatest hits lists in the entire industry.

Despite their jaw-dropping looks, I don't think I've ever been blown away by how an Aston drives. However, the tester I've been driving this week is set to change that thought, highlighting the brand's bright future. The model in question is the 2022 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition, and it's truly impressive. 

A More Aggressive Aston Martin

Right off the bat, you'll notice that the Vantage F1 Edition's design isn't as traditionally "beautiful" as some of its siblings. That's because the F1 Edition trades some of the Vantage's subtle design elements for a more imposing aesthetic. Take the redesigned front bumper, for example. Instead of a sleek grille, we get a massive mouth that seemingly spans the width of the car. Despite its "look at me" attitude, Aston's designers have managed to make this striking element feel cohesive with the rest of the car's design.

In the rear, it's a similar story. That's because you now get a wing alongside the already aggressive rear diffuser. Couple those improvements with the new front splitter, and you get more than 440-lb of downforce. As a result, the visual enhancements are both for form and function. The cherry on top is a set of 21-inch wheels on all four corners with matte black spokes and silver faces. It's clear that the Vantage F1 Edition is the most track-focused version of the Vantage, and that's all before you even get moving. 

A Mercedes-AMG Heart Tuned For Drivers

Lift the 2022 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition's hood, and you'll find a Mercedes-AMG-sourced 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 developing 528 hp and 505 lb-ft of torque. The Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition's engine provides enough power to rocket the F1 Edition and its 3461-lb curb weight to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds. All of the Vantage F1 Edition's horsepower and torque go to the rear wheels exclusively via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Aside from housing one of my favorite engines currently on sale, the F1 Edition makes a fantastic sound, befitting of its aggressive aesthetic. 

Before we dive into the driving experience, it is worth noting one of the main reasons why this Vantage F1 Edition is a departure from the standard Vantage. In 2020, the former CEO of Mercedes-AMG, Tobias Moers, became the new CEO of Aston Martin. For context, Moers gave us some of the best AMG cars of the last two decades, such as the CLK 63 Black Series, SLS AMG, G 63 6X6, and the GT. The GT is significant since it shares a similar formula to the current Vantage, including the same powertrain.

However, it seems most of Moers' work went into tuning the Vantage's chassis and suspension. After a quick set of corners in the canyons, it became clear that the F1 Edition is both more fun and responsive than any Aston I had driven previously. Additionally, the F1 Edition feels significantly more planted and less tail-happy than the standard Vantage. This not only allows your confidence in the car to grow but allows you to carry greater speed. 

The added capabilities come as a result of that extensively revised suspension. For example, the F1 Edition features stiffer springs in the rear, upgraded bushings, and revised dampeners on all four corners. It even has additionally dampening for the transaxle transmission. The goal is to minimize additional movement to stabilize the car.

The automatic transmission becomes a bit of a non-issue once you get up to speed. While a dual-clutch would've made the driving experience even sharper, the automatic does a great job under load. While I've always known the Vantage had a fantastic engine under its hood, it now has the handling characteristics to match. 

Despite its upgraded suspension and track-ready improvements, the Vantage F1 Edition remains perfectly comfortable on the road. While its ride isn't Rolls-Royce smooth, it also isn't bouncy and compromised as plenty of today's track-day specials. I was testing an SUV alongside this Aston on the same week, and I'd argue that the low-slung supercar was the most comfortable of the two.

A Colorful Well-Built Interior

Traditionally, when we're talking about hand-built cars, it's not uncommon to find a couple of imperfections throughout a car's interior; it comes with the territory. However, the 2022 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition's interior I tested seemed to be an exception to this rule. From the stitching to the contrasting suede and leather materials, the F1 Edition's interior felt particularly well built. Even at speed, I wasn't disturbed by any weird rattles or creaks. Additionally, the leather and suede materials' physical quality felt excellent, befitting of a car costing $177,000 as tested. 

My only gripes with the F1 Edition's interior are shared with the standard Vantage, and that's the dashboard layout. While the materials are excellent, the interior offers a sea of buttons laid out closely together, making them hard to operate while on the move. The real shocker for me was the lack of available Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity. While the native infotainment system is fine, the lack of smartphone integration was a bummer. 

Small gripes aside, the Vantage F1 Edition's column-mounted shifters were a joy to use, especially around the canyon roads surrounding Los Angeles. Even the slightly squared-off wheel and digital instrument cluster work well together, providing you just the right amount of information with a large tach in the center. 

Is the 2022 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition worth $177,000?

To say that I was impressed by the 2022 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition would be an understatement. Aside from the excellent driving dynamics at speed, the on-road comfort and usability made me want to jump into this car repeatedly and drive. More than anything, I am looking forward to Aston Martin's new direction. As noted earlier, the British carmaker has received tons of investment in the last few years, along with some significant staff changes. If this latest Vantage is anything to go by, there is much to look forward to with this brand. So, yes, the 2022 Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition price is worth it.