Aston Martin Vanquish review
The Aston Martin Vanquish features a sleek, carbon-fibre body wrapped around a storming 565bhp 6.0-litre V12 engine
If you want to feel like James Bond every time you go for a drive, the Aston Martin Vanquish is the only option for you. Based on a bonded aluminium chassis, with all carbon-fibre bodywork (a first for Aston), this DBS replacement is the most advanced car the British carmaker has ever produced. Under the bonnet is a development of the 6.0-litre V12, which produces 565bhp – 55bhp more than the DBS. The interior has been completely redesigned, taking inspiration from the One-77 hypercar.
Our choice: Vanquish 6.0 V12
For an Aston Martin to succeed it has to look good, and the Vanquish sticks closely to the formula used by its predecessors. The classic low-slung coupe proportions are hard to fault, while a smaller front grille, carbon-fibre splitter and LED running lights freshen up the front end. Prominent side strakes run down the side of the car, while a gorgeous one-piece carbon-fibre spoiler is part sculpture, part aerodynamic aid. On the inside, the cabin has a typically plush, hand-trimmed finish and an all-new centre console design. Touch-sensitive buttons vibrate when pressed, while all infotainment functions, including sat-nav and stereo controls, are integrated into the pop-up central screen. Unusually the steering wheel is squared-off on either side and trimmed in Alcantara but it works well and the cabin is palatial as you would expect from a car that costs almost £200,000. Aston recently also launched a centenary limited edition that gets bespoke graduated silver paintwork, sterling silver winged-badges and comes with cuff links, a pen and some Bang & Olufsen head phones to celebrate 100 years of the brand but also pushed up the price as well.
Despite its carbon-fibre skin, the Vanquish is only 1kg lighter than the DBS it replaces so it feels fairly similar from behind the wheel. But that’s no bad thing. There’s an extra 55bhp to play with from the 565bhp 6.0-litre V12, which means storming acceleration – especially at high-revs – while the exhausts emit a deep-chested roar. Shift times for the smooth six-speed ZF automatic gearbox have been sped up by 37 per cent, and the 0-62mph time has dropped to 4.1 seconds – two-tenths faster than the DBS. Three stage adjustable dampers, with noticeable leaps between each mode, allow you to tailor the Vanquish’s character – from comfortable long-distance GT to a rock-solid track car with just a push of a button. There is a fair bit of tyre roar though but its surprisingly relaxing for such a potent supercar and the sound from the exhausts in sport mode is fantastic.
Reliability was a major issue back when the original Vanquish went on sale in 2001, but Aston has made big strides since then. The 6.0-litre V12 is proven technology, as is the six-speed automatic gearbox. Dynamic Stability Control and Positive Torque Control, both fitted as standard, help to contain the engine’s power and keep you on the road and while the Vanquish will never be crash tested by EuroNCAP the carbon fibre body work has a much greater tensile strength than conventional materials. Hopefully the Vanquish will see an improvement in the other traditional weakness for the brand - faulty electrics.
Compared to some supercars, the Vanquish is actually fairly practical - as long as you pack light. The dashboard has been moved forward by 20mm, to create more interior space, and there’s a 368-litre boot – that’s 60 per cent more than the DBS – and enough for two sets of golf clubs. If you need even more room, the cramped rear seats can be removed at no extra cost to create an additional storage area and most buyers are likely to choose this option as the back seats really are only suitable for very small children and no one would be comfortable in them on a longer journey.
You don’t buy an Aston if you’re worried about fuel consumption, but some progress has been made in this area. Variable-valve timing, a new fuel pump and a larger intake manifold have increased power but improved fuel consumption, too, by around 10 per cent. Even so the Vanquish will cost huge amounts to run, with servicing, spare parts, insurance and of course fuel bills way above the norm even for a supercar. Rivals like the Mercedes SL65 offer marginally lower running costs despite a lower price, while Ferrari offer a seven year complimentary servicing offer than makes Aston ownership seem needlessly expensive.