Engine: 6.0-liter V12 with 568 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 13 MPG city, 21 highway, 16 combined
Price: $287,820 including both gas-guzzler and delivery fees
Aston Martin’s Vanquish is low, long and lusciously shaped. This ultra-luxury automobile sits at the top of this company’s rarified lineup serving as the ultimate grand-touring automobile, their flagship sports car. And this model certainly plays that role to the letter, looking, acting and even sounding every bit like the superstar it is.
Looking the Part
One glance at the Vanquish and you know it means business. Its bodywork is simply beautiful from every angle; even those with a jaundiced eye will probably find it lust-worthy. This machine is decidedly curvier than competing supercars, lacking the hard edges and sharp angles of a Lamborghini or the over-the-top drama of a Ferrari.
Helping grace it with these killer curves while simultaneously heightening its performance, every one of the Vanquish’s body panels is constructed of carbon fiber. This ultra-lightweight material is easier to form than competing metals giving designers the freedom to get creative; it also helps improve torsional rigidity by 25 percent.
Highlighting the formability advantages of carbon fiber this machine’s rear spoiler is molded right into the trunk lid. This gives it a clean, elegant appearance as the wing gracefully flows into the rear fenders, a design flourish made possible by this aerospace-grade material.
Playing the Role
Further enhancing its performance capability the Vanquish’s overall structure is predominantly made of aluminum, though in this application of the company’s VH architecture the rear third is constructed of carbon composites for extra stiffness and even greater weight savings.
Ensuring it drives as nicely as it looks this mean machine’s chassis has been enhanced for model-year 2015. Front and rear the dampers have been made stiffer, 15 percent at the prow and 35 percent starchier ‘round back.
Further dressing things up is a variety of new wheels. Forged, 10-spoke rims are available in several different finishes and they all look pretty smashing. But perhaps best of all these wheels help cut nearly seven kilograms of unsprung mass, around 15 pounds, which is huge.
Better by the Dozen
Aside from is swanky carbon-fiber threads, the Aston Martin Vanquish’s other signature feature is its engine. Internally referred to as the AM29, this 12-cylinder wonder offers up 6.0-liters’ worth of displacement and a musical exhaust note that will send a shiver up your spine every time you nail the accelerator.
Bolstered by the latest Bosch engine management system and a handful of other changes including reduced exhaust back-pressure the car gains three additional ponies. Its stable now measures an exceedingly healthy 568 bhp while torque tops out at 465 lb-ft.
Further enhancing this machine’s performance and efficiency is a brand-new eight-speed Touchtronic III automatic transaxle. This is probably the biggest alteration made for 2015. It replaces a six-ratio unit found in last year’s Vanquish.
Despite having two additional gears, this transmission is three percent lighter than its predecessor, plus it proved easier for engineers to package into the vehicle. That’s a win-win for both the company and its customers, especially so when you consider the fact that it can change ratios in as little as 130 milliseconds. Engineers also tinkered with the car’s final-drive ratio for faster acceleration and reduced fuel consumption.
With a newly invigorated engine and cutting-edge transmission the Vanquish is an extremely fast car. It can accelerate from a dead stop to 60 miles an hour in just 3.6 seconds, half a second sooner than the 2014 model. Terminal velocity exceeds 200 miles an hour.
Not that anyone buys a 12-cylinder vehicle to be environmentally responsible, but still, the Vanquish’s CO2 emissions have been cut by around 10 percent. As for fuel burn rates, Uncle Sam’s helpers at the EPA estimate this car will average 13 MPG in urban driving and 21 on highway jaunts. Combined it should deliver 16 MPG.
In aggressive motoring along generous stretches of California’s famous Mulholland Drive we managed to average a claimed 11 miles to the gallon of Saudi select, which isn’t too shabby given the route’s topography and our insatiable craving for the noises this machine produces.
Like other Aston Martins the Vanquish’s primary draw is the sound track it plays at wide-open throttle. Mash the accelerator and you’re treated to the most glorious of automotive symphonies. It’s an absolute treat for your auditory organs.
While the Vanquish serves up a heaping helping of awesomeness in many areas it’s not all smooth sailing. This car has a few quirks that take away from the experience.
Its interior is sporty and mostly well constructed of premium materials but there are some glaring deficiencies. The digital displays located in the instrument cluster are a perfect example. These readouts are grotesquely outdated, bringing to mind an MS DOS prompt from Windows 3.1. This fault is especially painful when you peruse the window sticker. Base price for a Vantage coupe is $287,820 including gas-guzzler and delivery fees.
Beyond the achingly old-fashioned readouts this machine’s infotainment system is also cumbersome and confusing. Additionally the control stalks for the turn signals and windshield wipers seem like they were pulled from a 30-year-old economy car; they’re brittle and feel like they could divorce themselves from the steering column if a moth landed on them.
But fire up that 6.0-liter wonder and many of the Vanquish’s faults start to fade. This car makes beautiful music and is a joy to drive. Seriously, the soundtrack is just about worth the price of admission all on its own.
But this V12 doesn’t just sing a melodious tune, it absolutely rips, propelling the Vanquish to shocking velocities in no time flat. It has tremendous power and torque no matter what RPM it’s spinning at. Punch the accelerator and this car obliges with a torrent of thrust and Gatling gun-fast gear changes.
The steering has a very direct, precise feel with a nice amount of heft. Additionally the ratio is pretty quick, giving you the confidence to drive a lot faster than is advisable on public roads. Bucking current industry trends all Aston Martins have hydraulically boosted steering, which is probably a major reason why the Vanquish has such a responsive tiller. Overall this coupe is extremely confidence-inspiring despite being relatively large (and expensive).
Likewise this car’s ride is firm and somewhat busy. Putting the adaptive damping system in sport or track mode stiffens things up a fair bit. Overall its chassis is appropriate for a high-end GT car but it might be a little too stiff if you live in America’s heartland where the roads can be worse than those in tribal Afghanistan.
The 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish coupe is an extremely appealing if not-quite-perfect high-dollar performance machine. It is bucket-loads of fun to drive and an absolute treat to both the ears and eyes. This car is a uniquely appealing alternative to Italian exotics thanks to its voluptuous body and classy styling; a scorching-hot engine and enthusiastic dynamics underscore this fact. If the company would correct some shortcomings in its interior this machine could totally vanquish its rivals.
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