Aston Martin Vanquish review
The Aston Martin Vanquish is a beautifully-designed supercar with a storming 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 in cars produced up until the end of 2014, and 568bhp afterwards.
That’s the point at which Aston introduced a range of powertrain and chassis upgrades, including a new eight-speed auto gearbox and stiffer suspension. The interior has been completely redesigned, taking inspiration from the One-77 hypercar, featuring touch sensitive buttons and high quality materials throughout.
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 but it works well and the cabin is palatial as you would expect from a car that costs almost £200,000. When the Vanquish was upgraded at the end of 2014 Aston introduced a few new interior trim colours and options.
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 58bhp to play with from the 568bhp 6.0-litre V12, which means storming acceleration – especially at high-revs – while the exhausts emit a deep-chested roar. A six-speed auto comes on cars before the late-2014 updates, at which point an excellent eight-speed auto was introduced. It drops the 0-62mph time from 4.3 seconds to 3.8 seconds.
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. The updates in 2014 brought stiffer suspension settings but the Vanquish remains surprisingly comfortable. There is a fair bit of tyre roar though but it’s 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 and the newer eight-speed.
It’s been slightly reengineered by Aston but used throughout the industry with an excellent reliability record. 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 compared with the DBS, 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.
The updated Vanquish (introduced late in 2014) improved economy by a further 11 per cent and took the official cruising economy figure to 31mpg, which helps on those long motorway journeys.
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.