Aston Martin will use the market launch of the new Vantage N430 to assess the potential of a dedicated N-branded performance line – and has been intentionally bold with the styling to see how both current and, more significantly, potential customers react.

“The UK and Europe understand the N brand,” Aston Martin product marketing manager Nikki Rimmington told MR: N is, of course, for Nurburgring. “We need to see whether it works on a global level.”

All markets would need to understand it to get the green light, she said. Today, Aston Martin is sold in more than 40 countries worldwide, with China, Asia and the Middle East becoming ever-more important markets.

All three regions are far from the Nurburgring…

“If this captures the hearts and minds of enthusiasts, it is a great platform to develop in the future. However, it will only become a separate brand if it develops a strong association and foothold.”

Aston Martin and the Nurburgring

Aston Martin has had a strong link with the famous German track for years, both in motorsport and its Nurburgring Test Centre which opened in 2008.

Every new Aston Martin model must go through a 10,000km Nurburgring durability test before being signed off.

The firm first marked its association with the Nurburgring 24 Hours race in 2007 with the V8 Vantage N400. It followed this up with the N420 in 2010 and, after several years, is now launching the Vantage N430.

The firm is hoping the more focused Vantage N430 will draw in buyers to whom previous V8 Vantage didn’t appeal. If the approach works, it will provide a strong business case for future development of a dedicated N line.

Why Aston Martin needs N

Key luxury car rivals already have well-established performance lines, or sub-brands. Mercedes-Benz is able to give its cars the AMG treatment: the SL range, for example, can have a broad reach with regular models sitting alongside SL 63 AMG and SL 65 AMG variants.

BMW also has M cars, and Porsche has both GT3 and GT2 – although Aston does not see an N car being as extreme as a GT3; Rimmington intentionally referenced it as having a club sports influence, for example. More of a Porsche GTS equivalent, then…

Aston Martin would benefit from having its own performance sub brand. It has a very strong presence in motorsport but this is not so easily promoted on the road cars, particularly given its exclusivity: only enthusiasts are really aware of Aston’s racetrack success.

A new Aston Martin N line would enable it to showcase its track success more easily – capitalising on valuable marketing and brand positioning potential all its motorsport activities have already established. It could also help promote the successful Aston Martin Racing division ran by Prodrive – and a more direct link to the road cars could help the race team drum up more business and sponsorship as well.

It all depends on how the market reacts the bold new Vantage N430…