There is a lot to be said about the new Aston Martin Vanquish S. There’s tons of details – Aston Martin is a very, very detail oriented company. Man, they even give you a couple of paragraphs on how they stitch the seats.
But for me, only this detail counts: Aston Martin’s 6.0 liter V12 that cranks out 580bhp (brake horsepower).
That big 12 cylinder lump nestled beneath the front hood (or bonnet, if you’re being ever so quaint and everso British) provides a great deal of motivating power, obviously. It’s an all alloy quad overhead cam, 48-valve 5935cc V12 with revised inlet manifolds.
“From the moment the original Vanquish was launched it became a modern icon,” said Dr. Andy Palmer, Aston Martin President & CEO. “It propelled Aston Martin from an era of hand-built cars to one where craftsmanship and technology combined to create a new kind of great British GT.”
The engine is situated, as the English are want to do, in what is known as a “front mid-engine” configuration. That is, heading from nose to tail, there’s the front axle, the engine, the driver, and finally the rear axle. No, it is not as good as a real mid-engined car, but it is literally the next best thing.
The compression ratio is 11:1 so you’re going to have to run premium gas in this thing. There’s dual variable camshaft timing and fully CNC machined combustion chambers. As I mentioned, the max power is 580 bhp at 7,000 rpm and the max torque is 630 Nm (465 lb-ft) at 5,500 rpm. Bottom line: 0-62 mph comes up in 3.5 seconds, with the maximum speed coming in at 201 mph (Target). Oh, and thanks for that parenthetical element Aston Martin; go out and hit that mark and then tell us that it’s real.
You’re better than that, don’t hedge your bets.
Transmission & Suspension
That big V12 plant is hooked up to a recalibrated 8-speed Touchtronic III transmission, revised to deliver faster gearshifts and greater refinement at low speeds for a greater sense of precision and immediacy, says Aston Martin. But that’s a funny phrase: “greater sense of precision and immediacy.”
Is it just a sense, or does this new gearbox actually give you better precision and more immediate shifts?
As with all English cars, the suspension is both supple over pavement irregularities and grips like a limpet in the corners, a neat trick the Brits seems to have a real knack for. The new Vanquish S suspension features retuned damper internals, spring rates, and anti-roll bar bushings that give the Vanquish S a “keener edge” in the sporting suspension mode settings.
There’s a stainless steel exhaust system with cross pipes and quad exhaust tailpipes to bring out that lovely big block, V12 engine sound. It really does sound nice. “Entirely fitting,” says Aston Martin, in that understated way of bragging that Brits have.
Aerodynamic-wise, there’s an all new aero package and there are yards of exposed carbon fiber all over the place. From the revised front splitter to the rear diffuser, all this cloth and glue combine to deliver a meaningful reduction in frontal lift (good) with a minimal penalty in additional drag (also good). With that much grunt, you don’t want to cut corners with the aero development. With a target (heh) of 201 mph, best to be stuck to the ground.
Options that make your new Vanquish look as cool as it drives? Yup, tons of them. Carbon fiber bonnet louvers, for a start. Aston Martin’s engines have always produced tons of heat, so carbon fiber or not, these are actually there for a reason. There’s also new forged 5-spoke diamond turned wheels and a choice of “striking” painted graphics packs. I hope these “striking” graphics are tasteful, please, and in no way approach something that you’d see in a Fast & Furious movie.
There is also a new Vanquish S badge on the tailgate, to remind people what kind of car just dusted them.
Inside, oh my yes, tons of customization options abound, including a new “Filograph” quilted leather design. The use of new materials and finishes is apparent, like the “Satin Chopped Carbon Fiber” fascia panel. There’s not just leather, there’s “sumptuous Bridge of Weir Caithness leather” to offer an added touch of luxury and tactility.
Oh, and there’s Vanquish S embroidery on the headrests to provide a nice finishing detail.
Other elements of interior luxury are found in the available carbon fiber paddleshifts, ventilated front seats, contemporary Alcantara finishes, a 1000-watt Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 13-speaker audio system, and a personalised aluminium sill plaque.
There is also a laminated windscreen with a clear noise-insulation layer, power folding heated mirrors, and rear parking assist camera.
Pricing & Availability
The Aston Martin Vanquish S is available in both Coupe and Volante (i.e. convertible) versions and the recommended retail price starts at $294,950 in the United States. Or about the price of a small condo in Portland, Oregon. Aston Martin says the Vanquish S will be in dealer showrooms by April 2017.
But like I said at the beginning: a 6.0 liter V12 that cranks out 580bhp.
Hang everything else.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life around racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.