Aston Martin, builder of such fine English coupes as the Aston Martin DB9, DB7, DBS, the Vantage, and the Rapide, have been hard at work developing and testing new products. Never a slouch in the design department, they have decided to really push the envelope and give their Aston Martin Vanquish, (their flagship model) a few significant updates. These updates come by way of new interior upgrades including carbon fiber, a more subdued and solid ride, less creaking and flex in a chassis that is 14 percent stiffer than the last, more aluminum in the doors, the hood, and the frame supplanted with even more carbon fiber as an option. All this is fantastic for a strikingly beautiful car.
With a better ride handling and all those added goodies…hmm, I think its time to drop the top.Now, me being the kind of automotive enthusiast that I am, and being very much inclined to have my own prejudices against most cars with engines larger than a V-6 that don’t have some kind of fuel saving technology, however, in this case my prejudice(s) are to be completely set aside as this car exceeded every expectation that I have ever had for any exotic.. Even walking onto the showroom floor and seeing it sitting across the room, you are stopped in your tracks at its stunning beauty.
Now first off it’s fantastic to feel that something that is so beautiful, so curvy, so sexy and so well engineered can give you so much driving pleasure. It’s almost like a drug. The only problem that exists is that it will only be able to be enjoyed in the driving world by a chosen few.
In my five hours of driving this automobile I must have gotten literally a hundred questions and comments as to “What kind of Ferrari it was”, “Man that’s a bad Cadillac”, (I think they were kidding), and even, “Mercedes Benz finally got it right this time”.. A few stunned onlookers even asked if it was the new Jaguar F-Type, yet most were surprised when I told them that it was an Aston Martin.
With its hand-built 6.0 liter, V-12 engine kicking out 565hp, and 475 ft lbs of torque, this is a shining example of what it takes to change a very stubborn ass man’s mind about how to save the environment and make horsepower.. It is very smooth, very powerful, very linear and very engaging. Damn near hypnotic in the velvety way that it makes its power which is everything that an engine should be for a car like this.
Aaah, but what is a good engine without all the other pieces that need to be in place to make it a brilliant car. Pieces like a luxurious yet sporty interior with comfortable seats, legible dials, carbon fiber, power switches and tactile controls that actually work when you touch them, excellent brakes, 20 inch tires that work very well in conjunction with the ABS and the anti-skid program.. An automatic 6-speed transmission that works very well with that engine, and a squarish and very grippy steering wheel that feels more like it belongs in a suave go cart than in this car; not a bad thing.
This car felt like it was chiseled from one piece of carbon fiber. It is for the lack of a better word, fantastic! Everything that the Aston Martin Vanquish Volante’ is, is astonishing. Very rarely do I rave about a GT vehicle that is fast, comfortable to sit in for hours at a time, fantastic to spend time in behind the wheel, all while making you feel like a million bucks without searching for shortcomings.. Call me jaded, but the truth is outside of not having a real cup-holder, getting 13mpg in the city, 19mpg on the highway, (I actually expected less), no glove-box and a smallish pop-up navigation screen (with fantastic graphics), the truth is there really aren’t any.
Unlike Aston Martin’s of yore, this car has absolutely no flex in its sub-parts whatsoever. It doesn’t bend, it doesn’t creak, it doesn’t groan when you turn the wheel and it does exactly what you asked from it. When you slip the squared key fob into the rectangular start receptacle in the middle of the dash, press the fob and hold it for two seconds the big V12 comes to life with authority. So does everything else around you. You are instantly aware of every sound, every feel, every touch, and how comfortable the perforated seats are as you sit in this car, slightly higher than the window sills but in a position with perfect back, fore and aft lumbar support from these wonderful (optional) quilted blue seats with tan piping. You’re also aware of another thing surrounding you as you pull off in this car. All the eyes you get from admiring onlookers. You feel like a damn rockstar. So much so that it literally becomes overwhelming as people want to touch it, they want you to stop and they want to sit in the seat. It was crazy! Luckily I am not a guy that craves a lot of attention as it got tiring very quickly, and I’m not talking about the car.
The six speed automatic transmission is the only one available. It’s rear mounted and about as good of a match for the V12 as you can get. No more jerky or clunky transmissions. Just leave it in automatic or if you chose, just shift on the fly by way of the excellent paddle shifters. No manual is available.
This charming British Brute also comes with phone controls on the squarish steering wheel and it pairs very easily with no fuss. A Bang and Olufsen sound system sounds like a symphony, even with the top down.. Pop up tweeters are optional as is a dazzling array of colors and textures including metal, wood, carbon fiber, leather and anything else that the buyer wants to pay for. Launch control, manual shock dampening, climate control, heated and cooled seats, a one touch convertible top that activates at the push of a button and stores the top under the dual rear cowl is standard.
Most of the controls in the Volante’ are no more than a thumbs distance away from the driver center. There is nothing to reach across the car for as everything is right in your field of vision and right at your fingertips. Everything except maybe the seat controls which I found sort of awkwardly placed on the outboard side of the center stack near my right thigh.
Now because this is an English car, hand built in Great Britain, the options for this vehicle are staggering. I could probably continue to talk about them (the options) until sometime next week and still would not complete the list. Yes, it’s that long.
The car is not brash when accelerating or cruising. It doesn’t scowl or scream, nor is it high strung like other European Exotic cars from Italy. The paint is clear enough to walk through and the fit and finish is beyond measurement. It is fast, comfortable, smooth and intuitive…I didn’t say frugal but if you have three hundred big ones to drop on one of these I kinda get the feeling that frugality is not what you’re looking for anyway.
The Aston Martin Vanquish Volante’ is absolutely a rolling piece of art and starting at around $290,000 (with the price rolling up the ladder from there) as exotics are concerned you would be hard-pressed to beat this car.
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