New & Used Aston Martin Vanquish: In Depth
The Vanquish is Aston Martin’s flagship model. Its high-style coupe or convertible—“Volante” in Aston Martin speak—body and extreme performance make it a fitting revival of the Vanquish name, which was last used in the early 2000s.
In its initial form, from 2001 to 2005, the Vanquish was known as the V12 Vanquish. It featured a 6.0-liter twelve-cylinder engine making 450 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. The car was available in either a 2+2 or 2+0 seating configuration and used a variety of high-tech features and construction methods, such as a bonded chassis, aluminum and composite materials throughout, a drive-by-wire throttle, and an electrohydraulic transmission. It was also one of many Astons before and since to star in a James Bond film.
The second iteration of the car was known as the Vanquish S and was built from 2004 to 2007. More a collection of revisions than a full redesign, the S's primary mechanical difference was an increase in engine output to 514 horsepower. Slight modifications to the exterior and interior marked the new Vanquish S to skilled observers. A limited run of the final 40 cars built in the line were called the Vanquish S Ultimate Edition and received a special Ultimate Black paint scheme as well as special interior touches.
Aston Martin previewed the latest Vanquish with its Project AM310 Concept. A nearly identical production version arrived for 2014 wearing a carbon-fiber body with visual influences from the original Vanquish. At the time of its launch, it was powered by Aston's most powerful production engine yet, a version of its 6.0-liter V-12 initially rated at 565 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque; the output figure has since been eclipsed by versions in other Aston models. Only an automatic transmission is offered, with the initial run using a paddle-shifted Touchtronic 2 six-speed unit that sent power to the rear wheels.
Despite the carbon-fiber body, the Vanquish's extensive luxury and aluminum-and-steel chassis--the latest advancement of Aston Martin's VH platform--result in a curb weight of 3,900 pounds. The less-than-sprightly weight lends a substantial feeling to the Vanquish's movement, encouraging smooth and effortless cruising, but discouraging any attempts at truly sporty behavior--despite quick acceleration and 183-mph top speed.
The Vanquish's equipment list is excellent, as you might expect from a car that stickers at $280,000 and up, and includes a fantastic 1,000-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system; iPod and iPhone integration; Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity; a WiFi hotspot; and navigation.
Most Aston Martin buyers will end up customizing their order somehow, and the company is more than happy to oblige. For extra cost, Aston will outfit the car with whatever upholstery and color combination of hides and paint that the person writing the check would like, and the personalization service extends to other one-off options and fitments. The company now calls this service Q by Aston Martin, lending it a slightly more mysterious and Bond-like air.
For the 2015 model year, the Vanquish proceeds with largely identical design, though a new eight-speed automatic transmission has been subbed in, greatly improving responsiveness and driving character. Upgrades to the engine tune and control units resulted in a rise to 568 horsepower and 465 pound-feet output from the 6.0-liter V-12 engine for the 2015 model year. The smidgen of added power and new transmission help reduce the Vanquish's 0-to-60 time by a half-second, to 3.6 seconds. At the same time, fuel economy is up slightly, which is always a neat trick when performance is so markedly improved.