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 offering a 7kg weight saving and new leather trim colours including the deeply suspicious Fandango Pink aside, everything that differentiates the 2015 Vanquish from its predecessor is dedicated to upping the driving entertainment quota and the commensurate size of the passenger-seat wet patch.
Most significant is the first incorporation of ZF’s 8HP automatic transmission into a transaxle layout. Three percent lighter than its predecessor, the new eight-speed Touchtronic III gearbox adds two further ratios to the equation and boasts 130-millisecond shift speeds.
Meanwhile, a new Bosch engine management system has gearbox and AM29-spec V12 chatting away with the easy enthusiasm of a first date destined to wind up in the sack. And the 6.0-litre V12’s peak power and torque both rise a whisker, to 568bhp and 465lb ft respectively.
All of which, allied to gear and final drive ratio changes, makes the Vanquish swifter and, relatively speaking, more frugal and cleaner. The 0-62mph dash has been reduced by a stout half second to just 3.8 seconds – making this the quickest accelerating series-production Aston in the company’s 101-year history – and top speed rises to 201mph. Simultaneously, CO2 emissions tumble some 10% to, erm, 298g/km, and average fuel consumption is up to 22.1mpg.
Commensurate undercarriage enhancements include the stiffening of dampers by 15% at the front and a whopping 35% at the rear, and 20% stiffer rear suspension bushings. Both brake booster and DSC stability system have been retuned, and the steering ECU has been revised, as has the torque tube to reduce transmission noise in the cabin. Yeah, right... Like you’re ever going to hear transmission noise aboard a Vanquish.
With a start-up tang of such metallic intensity overlaying the basso profundo rumble of tick-over it’s always something of a surprise not to actually smell blood curdling as the engine barks into life... And, thereafter, a fabulous range of noises vacillate between John Landis’ peckish American Werewolf and that never to be bettered simile: Tom Jones picking up the soap in Strangeways’ showers…
And therein lies entirely the cause of my misgivings on clocking the size of the Mercedes vehicle fleet supporting these Vanquish launch proceedings. To wit: £500 million of investment over the next five years is clearly terrific news, but just how strong is Daimler’s influence at Aston already, how much more dominant is the former set on becoming in the future, and is that glorious noise destined to become an early victim of desperately needed profitability?
Design director Marek Reichman is quick to head me off at the pass. The main thrust of the Mercedes AMG tie-in is, he avers, of an electrical-plus-ancillaries nature, intended to assuage such issues as persuading diversely sourced ECUs and gearboxes to talk to each other properly. And, whilst he is a little cagier about future plans for the V8 engine (which will, I suspect, be AMG-sourced and Aston-fettled), he insists the V12 will remain as much an Aston Martin engine as it ever was, and that the noise will remain one of the most sacrosanct attributes of the cars it powers.
Hope so, because the dosh could be well spent elsewhere. Unlike the powertrain, the interior’s crying out for a major overhaul. A gratuitously jaunty angle to the air vents aside, there’s nothing wrong with the basic architecture, which has lost none of its visual strength. The thing is, that’s precisely what’s lacking in the attendant switchgear and instrumentation...
No matter, because to drive the Vanquish is to forgive it almost everything. Untainted by turbocharging and now abetted by gearshifts as deft as a world-class cutpurse, the powertrain is a masterpiece of smooth, relentless urgency. Peak torque arrives long before maximum power, and the only real reason to properly bend the rev counter needle is for the noise. So this happens.A lot.
A choice of ‘Normal’ or ‘Sport’ powertrain modes opens an attitude crevasse; the engine surprisingly slow on the uptake in the former, but wide awake in the latter. Pulling and holding down one irritatingly undersized steering wheel paddle elicits automatic block downchanges to the lowest available ratio. But where’s the fun in that when you miss out on the successive, suspicious-guard-dog bark attendant to the selection of each fresh cog?
The most blatant manifestation of Aston’s response to requests for a more extreme Vanquish experience is, however, in that stiffened suspension. A deal of pliancy has been sacrificed even in ‘Normal’ mode, making the car feel notably less gran turismo in its capacity to tackle poorer surfaces. ‘Sport’ mode merely adds rocks to what is already more gristle than blancmange, whist the ‘Track’ setting is stiff enough to shake the ticks off a sheepdog.
Let’s hope we still have a few years before Aston succumbs to electric steering, because the current offering is rather wonderful in the manner of a system which is so sorted it requires absolutely no contemplation. It’s beautifully weighted, properly accurate and imbued with lashings of the feel and feedback required when asking a big car to dance to your tune.
The Vanquish boasts stacks of mechanical grip, and may be leaned on to a quite exceptional extent for such a large machine; the more you ask of it the more firmly it tucks its rump into the road surface, settling in with admirable poise. Allied to that delicious helm, this equates to an unexpected degree of agility, the pleasure of placing such a large hooter with such accuracy on smaller, tighter roads marred only by suspension verging on over-tough for the British B-road.
Stick to wide, sweeping A-roads, however, and the Aston is entirely at home, covering ground with magisterial poise, and noise, and responding to your growing confidence in the depths of its abilities with ever increasing pace.
A tad more revolution in this evolution, then, and a properly intoxicating one at that.
|On sale in the UK:||Now|
|Engine:||5935cc 48v V12, 568bhp @ 6650rpm, 465lb ft @ 5500rpm|
|Transmission:||Eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive|
|Performance:||3.8sec 0-62mph, 201mph, 22.1mpg, 298g/km CO2|
|How heavy / made of?||1739kg/carbonfibre and aluminum|
|length/width/height in mm||4728/1912/1294|
This is an article about the model Aston Martin Vanquish II
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 ...
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 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...
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...
GUY MARTIN DRIVES VANQUISH CARBON EDITION (2015)
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 (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-...
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...
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 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 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...