Aston Martins are special cars and they don’t get much more extraordinary than the Vanquish, which drives and sounds even better than it looks.
|1. A 6.0L V12 engine makes 565 hp and 457 lb-ft of torque.
2. The car’s body is mad entirely of carbon fiber.
3. 0-60 takes 4.1 seconds
4. The car’s interior is made up of seven cow hides and one million stitches.
5. The Vanquish starts at $279,995.
This model sits at the top of the brand’s standard range, a so-called “super grand tourer.” It’s also something of a halo car for Aston Martin. Thankfully it’s got the performance chops to back up this angelic clam. Aside from a little divine inspiration, it’s also an engineering masterpiece. Beauty and brains; how do you top that?
The Vanquish’s structure is made of an intoxicating blend of aluminum, sorry, aluminium and carbon fiber. In fact the rear one-third of the vehicle is constructed of the feather-weight polymer, as are all of its body panels. Interestingly buyers can spec what parts they want unpainted; things like the roof and door panels can be left as exposed, revealing the material’s geometric weave.
Get the Flash Player to see this player.
Of course the Vanquish’s rear decklid is constructed of the pricey polymer and it’s hand made, taking a full two days to create. They even had to develop a special way of painting this particular part because of all the aerodynamic nooks and crannies it has. We suspect the process involves neither a brush nor a can of Dutch Boy.
COLOR US SURPRISED
On the subject of paint, you’re probably wondering what shade the particular model in our video is wearing, and if you’re not then too bad. The color is called “Flugplatz” blue and it’s named after a famous part of the Nürburgring circuit in Germany where cars literally take flight. How appropriate. If the Vanquish were any quicker it’d be airborne.
Another interesting factoid about this car’s body is that it’s actually painted by hand, just like the spoiler. The job takes about 50 hours to complete. How’s that for attention to detail? Overall vehicle assembly takes some 220 man hours. Aston Martin is all about craftsmen, not “workers.”
ALL-NATURAL, ALL THE TIME
The Vanquish’s engine is more organic than the meat counter at Whole Foods. There are no hormones, byproducts or unwanted chemicals to be found. The powerplant is 100 percent naturally aspirated, meaning it lacks a turbo or supercharger. That should make environmentalists happy, right? They like “all-natural” things, don’t they?
Cylinders are a something of a status symbol these days as automakers continue to downsize; they more you’ve got the better off you are. Here Aston Martin drivers are treated to a full dozen of them. The Vanquish’s V12 engine displaces 6.0-liters and it puts out like a porn star. There are 565 brake horsepower to play with while torque clocks in at 457 lb-ft.
A six-speed automatic gearbox does all the shifting and is controlled by pushbuttons on the dashboard or paddles on the steering column. Burying the accelerator results in a zero to 60 romp of just four seconds. Hot? Yeah, it’s scorching.
The Vanquish’s exhaust note is more intoxicating than polishing off a fifth of Scotch on a work night; it practically demands that you to dip into its rich reserve of power for shot after shot, time after time. Other than the gaping stares from passersby, it’s one of the car’s most appealing attributes.
It’s impossible to convey in mere words how pleasant this engine is. It’s silky smooth with a tremendously broad range. Its power delivery is more linear than the equation y = 5x + 2; thrust builds steadily and proportionally as the tachometer needle rises. It’s magnificent.
Naturally the Vanquish’s interior is just as stunning; everything is covered in top-shelf leather from the door panels to the dashboard to the headliner. It takes seven cow hides to complete one cabin; additionally thanks to a quilting pattern on the seats and elsewhere there are more than one million stitches in there.
As nice as the cabin is there are a few downsides to the car and they’re pretty much all inside. First, the Vanquish is very hard to see out of; the sightlines are worse than a battle tank. But let’s be honest, this car is all about being seen, not necessarily seeing. Additionally, the navigation screen completely washes out in bright sunlight, something that renders the backup camera useless, aggravating the first problem mentioned. Oh well, if you can afford one you can afford a circle driveway so reversing is completely unnecessary.
The Vanquish rightfully sits at the top of Aston Martin’s range. As such it should be pretty obvious the car is expensive, after all, good things cost money. This one stickered for around $280,000; a high price to pay but arguably it’s worth every penny.