When you looks closely behind the headlines you’ll discover a car that’s been designed with considerable attention to detail, so it seems a shame that some people may dismiss Aston Martin’s new Vanquish as nothing more than a warmed-up DB9.
But despite our earlier misgivings, there’s more than first meets the eye with Aston’s DBS successor.
Take the bodywork for example. The Vanquish is the first Aston Martin to use carbon fibre to make every external panel, because of its high strength-to-weight ratio and flexibility of form. This not only reduces mass but means that fewer individual body panels are required. For instance, the panel gap on the C-pillar joint is no longer necessary.
There’s plenty more carbon fibre in use throughout the Vanquish including its carbon fibre prop-shaft, carbon ceramic discs, carbon fibre door mirror caps, exposed carbon fibre roof panel, carbon fibre side strakes, carbon door handles, carbon fibre trim inside on the centre stack facia, carbon fibre gearshift paddles, carbon fibre splitter, light-catching carbon fibre side skirts and imposing carbon fibre rear diffuser.
The Vanquish uses the latest generation of Aston Martin’s class-leading VH (Vertical Horizontal) architecture, a lightweight bonded aluminium structure that provides outstanding strength and rigidity. In this latest iteration, the Vanquish tub now includes the addition of significant carbon fibre components, as well as the use of bonding derived directly from the latest aerospace technologies.
So, it comes as something of a disappointment to find the new Vanquish weighs in at 1739kg, some 44kg heavier than the outgoing DBS Coupe.
“There are no restrictions on form or shape when using carbon fibre,” says Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s Design Director, “and the material allowed us to wrap bodywork around the 20-inch wheels and maintain the precise relationship between the wheel and the bodywork.”
The panel-making learned from the One-77, delivers an exceptional surface finish, which after the application of a 200 micron layer of epoxy and glass delivers a class-A surface in line with Aston Martin’s tradition of high-quality finishes.
The Vanquish’s new ‘Aero Duct’ deck-lid, designed to counteract rear lift when travelling at speed, takes one person two days to construct, whilst Aston’s paint team created unique paint guns and polishing tools to be able to finish the deck-lid to the same glass-like finish as the rest of the car.
In an age when BMW’s M5 saloon offers 552bhp, Mercedes’ E63 AMG shows up with 549bhp and ‘real’ supercars such as Lamborghini’s Aventador and Ferrari’s F12Berlinetta pack in 700bhp or more, the Vanquish’s 565bhp sounds somewhat ordinary.
It’s not of course, we’ve just been conditioned to expect more, but it’s worth bearing in mind this is still 50bhp more than the outgoing DBS, whilst the new model’s torque of 620 Nm (457 lb-ft) at 5,500 rpm is 50Nm (37 lb-ft) higher than the DBS and delivered 250 rpm lower in the rev range.
The naturally aspirated 6.0-litre V12 petrol engine is mated to the proven Touchtronic 2 six-speed automatic gearbox, which enables the Vanquish to reach 0-62 mph in 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 183 mph – 0.2 seconds quicker than the DBS.
The V12’s output of 565bhp makes it Aston Martin’s most potent production model yet, outmuscled only by the strictly limited edition (and out of production) £1.2m One-77 supercar.
More spacious and practical
According to Aston’s figures, the Vanquish casts an identical shadow to the DBS, with the only difference being its height – now 14mm higher, so customers will be pleased to hear the interior of the Vanquish has 140% more storage space than the DBS.
Occupant space grows in all dimensions – in essence the interior is ‘pushed’ outward – with legroom up 37 mm, shoulder room increased by 25 mm, elbow room by 87 mm while knee room is boosted by 50 mm. This, together with the dashboard surface which is moved forward 20 mm, combines to make the Vanquish a more spacious car than its predecessor.
The Vanquish’s boot is now more than 60% larger than that of the DBS – at 368 litres, which ensures it can carry sufficient luggage for even the most ambitious grand touring.
Designed and hand-built at Aston Martin’s global headquarters at Gaydon in Warwickshire the new Vanquish, available as a 2+2 or 2+0 (convertible). Priced from £189,995 first deliveries will begin in the UK and Europe towards the end of 2012.