Aston Martin (2015)

2014-08-16 Read: 720x

Pauses are useful between jokes and punchlines, picnics and swimming, and attempts at certain amorous activities; not so much between transmission shifts in six-figure grand tourers. Yet this kind of slacking hesitation has, in recent years, plagued the otherwise impeccable range of automatic gearbox-equipped Aston Martin cars.

Thanks to the addition of the near-ubiquitous ZF 8-speed transmission—featured here in its first starring role in a transaxle—the 2015 Rapide S and Vanquish now swap ratios with the precision and alacrity of a World Bank economist. The new box, paired with a Bosch engine management system, engenders negligible enhancements in horsepower and torque. But the headline news is that it cuts 0-60 times by a whopping half-second in each car (now 4.2 for the Rapide; 3.6 for the Vanquish), as well as providing both with the ability to top 200 mph (203 and 201, respectively). Its two sleepy top gears also—along with lighter wheels, and low rolling resistance tires—provide significant enhancements to fuel economy, if that word can be applied to a profligate V12 that barely ekes a dozen urban miles from a gallon of gas.

Add in new glamorously garish exterior and interior colors like Sea Storm, California Poppy, and Fandango Pink, and you have a nearly irresistible recipe—so long as your cookbook has $200,000-$300,000 hidden amongst its grease-stained pages.

Driving an Aston Martin is a tactile, visceral experience, as well as an emotional voyage—more akin to falling in love than transporting one from place to place. We accept the flaws of those we love, a form of forgiveness that used to be requisite in auto-equipped Astons. Yet these two models are so markedly improved by the addition of the new gearbox as to almost lack faults. Does this enhance our love? Imagine how you’d feel if your spouse suddenly ceased engaging their most enduringly irksome behavior, and you had to give up nothing in exchange.

These are not nimble carvers, but awesome and extraordinarily capable grand tourers. Speed builds with a refined but boundless spirit—more, more, more!—everywhere in the range (except in 7th or 8th gear); 110 mph feels like a marathoner out for a jog. Push the big “S” button to sharpen throttle response and open up the delicious exhaust bellow. But skip “Sport” and “Track” mode on the adjustable suspension. Normal is what you want on nearly all surfaces, providing a ride that’s as smooth, creamy, sweet, and impact absorbing as a trough of your gran’s lemon trifle, without any of the gauche traction control hop occasioned in the other modes.

Ferraris and Lamborghinis may wail, AMG V8s may wallop, and M cars may scream to a burning redline. But none is as aurally aphrodisiacal as the profound baritone of Aston’s big V12, the sound of which ranges, like the howling pipe organ in a Vincent Price thriller, from imminent threat to thundering terror, in the best possible way.

We will not waste any further words on the Rapide’s abysmal infotainment interface and haphazard HVAC and dashboard controls—features that are slightly improved in the Vanquish’s haptic waterfall. It’s best to just ignore all the switchgear in the middle of the cabin, focus on the steering wheel and pedals, open the windows wide, and listen to the engine.

If we were in the market for a bombastic, potent, six-figure four-door, the Panamera Turbo would be the rational choice. It has superior ergonomics, greater performance, and far more usable room in back. But we would chuck all logic and buy the Rapide S, especially now that it has the enhancements rendered by this gearbox. Why? Because its classier, sounds better, offers greater exclusivity, and doesn’t look like a disfigured leviathan. In fact, it’s the handsomest sedan in the world.

The Vanquish is a similar proposition. Ferrari and Lamborghini V12s will eat its every meal on the track. But this isn’t a car for the track. It’s a car for the Autostrada, the PCH, the broad winding two-lanes of the Scottish Highlands. It’s a fantasy car not for pimply teens to hang as wallpaper on their bedrooms—or laptop screens—but for mature adults. Experientially, it is near impossible to beat. And when you get out of it—unlike with the aforementioned Italians—people are far less likely to throw epithets, fruit, or single fingered salutes. Astons command a refined respect. Without pause.

Discussion about article New topic

Photo gallery

Aston Martin Vanquish II

This is an article about the model Aston Martin Vanquish II

Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake

Aston Martin Will Build a Vanquish Zagato Speedster and Shooting Brake

Today is a big day for fans of Zagato -bodied Aston Martins. The company has revealed the production version of the Vanquish Zagato Volante, a soft-top version of the beautiful Vanquish Zagato Coupe. It has the same 580-horsepower V12 as every Vanquish Zagato has, as well as a customized interior covered in so many "Z"s you'...

Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster (2018)

Soft-top and roofless versions of Aston Martin’s limited-edition V12 sports car will be produced in a run of 99 and 28 units respectively.

Aston Martin is adding the finishing touches to its limited-edition Vanquish Zagato Volante and Speedster models, ahead of planned customer deliveries next year.

The two drop-top versions of the Vanquish Zagato coupé will be produced in partnership with world...

Vanquish Red Arrows (2017)

Ten Aston Martin Vanquish S Red Arrows Edition cars will be produced as the latest commission for the Q by Aston Martin project, celebrating the iconic Red Arrows RAF jets.

The cars are marked out from standard Vanquish S models with Eclat Red paint – the same colour used on the Red Arrows – as well as exterior and interior details, including a side stripe in blue or white in a nod to the smoke t...

Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante (2017)

The Aston Martin DB11 is a newer and better sports car in just about every way, but the Vanquish remains the supreme ruler of Aston Martin’s lineup. The sharper and more powerful Vanquish S stepped out from behind the curtain in November, and we loved the improvements and its unmatched style when we drove it. But Aston felt the urge to click the enhance button one more time, and the result is the ...

Aston Martin Vanquish S (2017)

The Aston Martin Vanquish is one of those cars that truly doesn’t need words to tell its story. This page could simply be an image gallery, and it’s doubtful that anybody would complain. The Vanquish’s lines are still as mesmerizing as they were when the second-generation car launched for the 2013 model year. But Aston Martin just announced an “S” version of its “super GT” that’s better in just ab...

Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Volante (2017)

Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Volante is the belle of the Pebble Beach ball

While Aston Martin is showing off the Vanquish Zagato Coupe for the first time in North America, it's also using the Monterey Car Week to confirm a convertible version of the stunning supercar. Limited to just 99 cars – many of which will be spoken for this week by those visiting Aston's Carmel, California pop-up shop – th...

Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato (2017)

Thanks to "unprecedented customer interest," Aston Martin has confirmed plans to build a limited production run of Vanquish Zagato coupes. Just 99 wealthy owners will get the privilege to park one of these beauties in their garage, and each will be built to order. Deliveries are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2017, so there may still be time to put in a request, should you have the mean...



Take off two wheels and I could set a TT record in it


Aston Martin Vanquish Carbon Edition, £202,995

I HAVE a bit of history with Aston Martins. I bought a brand-new V12 Vantage in 2009 — the first privately owned one in the country, I was told — when I was 27. I paid plenty for it too — £136,000 — but it was a disaster. One niggly t...

Aston Martin Vanquish 60th Anniversary

Aston Martin Vanquish 60th Anniversary (2015): Aston’s birthday present

Prefer your supercars tailored rather than off the peg? Aston Martin might have just the thing.

To celebrate the firm’s diamond jubilee (it turns 60 in 2015), Aston is creating six special versions of the Vanquish called, catchily, the Aston Martin Works 60th Anniversary Limited Edition Vanquish.

This is the first, an open-...

Aston Martin Vanquish (2015) review

First Drives

How refreshing... Despite protestations as to the startling dynamic benefits wrought by nigh-on undetectable engineering upgrades, model-year facelifts are, almost without exception, precisely that these days; a nose job with attendant bruising. Here on the 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish, however, we find exactly the opposite.

A brace of new exterior colours, new ten-spoke alloys of...

Bang & Olufsen BeoSound Vanquish System

With the BeoSound Vanquish, audio experts from Bang & Olufsen have designed a new soundscape to fit a vehicle that defines its class. The Aston Martin Vanquish is a super grand tourer and at the apex of its range. This is why Bang & Olufsen have given it an exceptional sound system custom designed with next generation amplifier technology to be more powerful and yet lighter than previous s...

Aston Martin Vanquish Drive

Aston Martin doesn’t change things for the sake of it. The core principal of its VH methodology is to improve what it already has: that’s how models such as the V8 Vantage evolved from OK into very able indeed. Now, with the Vanquish, we’ve another evolution, boasting ‘generation 4’ VH platform, full carbon fibre bodywork and a 77 per cent new AM11 V12 engine. It’s not ‘more new’ because, yes, Ast...

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante 2014

Aston Martin has unveiled Vanquish Volante - a stunning new luxury sports car that brings the thrill of open top motoring to the super GT class.

Alongside its coupe sibling, launched to worldwide acclaim last autumn, the Vanquish Volante sits at the pinnacle of the luxury British car maker's sports car line-up.

Benefitting from all of the technical, engineering and design advances present in the...