Damnably seductive, the original Vanquish. It’s a car with vivid performance, a tremendous warmth of character and a rousing delivery that grips you from the moment you press that big red starter button and never lets you go. As when new, its charisma more than compensates for its few failings, and cements its place as one of the great Aston Martins. With early examples available for as little as £50,000, they are horribly tempting.
This was the last extensively hand-built Aston and the last to come from the old Newport Pagnell works, which to some makes it the last ‘real’ Aston. Not that it’s a dinosaur. In many respects it was also the first of the new-era Astons. The first to be launched under the stewardship of Dr Ulrich Bez, and the first to be built around a structure of extruded, bonded aluminium and advanced composites.
Another break with tradition was the automated six-speed manual gearbox, which did away with a clutch pedal and introduced paddles for the first time on an Aston, side-stepping the notoriously heavyweight manual gearshifts of previous flagship models.
And then there was the 460bhp 5.9-litre V12, a Cosworth-led evolution of the engine that had first seen service in the DB7 Vantage. It endowed the Vanquish with suitably vivid performance – 0-60 in under 5sec, a top speed of around 190mph and a rousing soundtrack to match – while the stiff platform and beautifully controlled suspension gave the Vanquish a light-on-its-toes demeanour that was a revelation after the previous supercharged Vantage flagship. And all clothed in a body of undeniable muscularity and ‘presence’, Ian Callum’s first clean-sheet Aston design.
Which one to buy?
Any Vanquish is a desirable package, but the biggest choice you have to make is early or late model. The model evolved over the years, and the character of a launch spec Vanquish is considerably different to a last of the line Vanquish S.
A really worthwhile option to seek out is the Sports Dynamic Pack, available from 2003. This added uprated suspension and brakes, but the Vanquish S, introduced in 2004 (from chassis 1506), incorporated these as standard. Along with the handling upgrades, a new aero package, improved gearshift and a power increase to 520bhp completed the package.
Towards the end of Vanquish production, Aston Martin Works Service was sanctioned to develop a manual gearshift conversion. Almost 70 cars have been converted so far – although a well set-up automated car is a delight in itself.
The Linn audio system that replaced the original Alpine hi-fi for the 2003 model year is desirable, as is full leather (some Vanquishes have Alcantara centre panels on the seats), while 2+2s are slightly more sought-after. 007-spec Tungsten paint adds value; conversely, dark blues and greens are not so saleable.
This was (and remains) a car of strong character, great style and effortless (200mph!) performance, with a unique place in history as the last of the artisan Astons – and prices seem set to continue rising. Fancy a Vanquish? Better act quick.
Well-cared-for examples are creeping up in value. Expect to pay from £55,000 upwards for a well-maintained early Vanquish today. Values are just starting to move ahead, and early cars are starting to sell for between £60,000 and £75,000, while a nice S is £100,000 and an Ultimate Edition [the run-out model, just 50 made] is way beyond that. Predictably, mileage, service history and condition count most, but specification also plays a part.
This is an article about the model Aston Martin Vanquish I
What is a Vanquish really like with three pedals and a stick rather than paddles?
It's a marketing rather than an engineering decision if ever there was one: Aston Martin's first-gen Vanquish was only ever available as a paddleshift automatic.
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We seem to be operating on fast-forward. The Aston Martin Vanquish has that effect. That familiar knot in the stomach you feel when driving something really quick really quickly kicks in the moment the exhaust bypass valves open. This is the point where the angry strung-out V12 clamour makes your heart race and pupils dilate. It may be artificially amplified, but it’s utterly intoxicating. That th...
The Aston Martin V12 Vanquish is a grand tourer that was introduced in 2001 as a successor to the ageing Virage range.
Featuring a maximum speed in excess of 190 mph and a 6.0 litre V12 engine developing more than 450 horsepower, the vehicle was unveiled at the 2001 Geneva Motor Show and was produced from 2001 to 2005. The V12 Vanquish was replaced by the DBS in 2007, with the Vanquish name being...
The fastest production model ever to be built by Aston Martin made its world debut at the 2004 Paris Motor Show. With a maximum speed in excess of 200mph and a 6.0 litre V12 engine developing 520 horsepower, the Vanquish S has been designed to deliver even greater performance, complemented by subtle suspension and steering changes and a number of interior and external style revisions. The Vanquish...
This is an article about the engine Aston Martin Cosworth