2015 Aston Martin Vanquish Preview

The Car Connection
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

The 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish coupe and Volante represent marked improvements over last year's version, offering a world-class super-luxury GT experience.

The Aston Martin Vanquish is a work of art. Enthralling the eyes, captivating the ears, stimulating the touch. It’s one of the most impressive grand touring cars in the world. For the 2015 model year, it’s even quicker, faster, and more fun to drive—plus it gets better gas mileage.

Starting at $284,995 for the coupe or $302,995 for the Volante roadster (both prices excluding $2,825 delivery fee), the 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish is also among the most expensive of the world’s GTs. As you’d expect of such a car, however, the Aston lives up to its looks and its price with exquisite materials, hand-built craftsmanship, and thrilling dynamics.

While the look and feel of the Vanquish is much like that found in the Vantage range and the Rapide, Aston’s top GT is in many ways a distillation of the aesthetic, using a carbon fiber body shell to extract more dramatic takes than would be possible with stamped metal. The sharp crease along the side and the one-piece trunk-lid/wing spoiler are prime examples of this tech-enabled display of muscular, sculpted design.

The interior, too, is rich and opulent. Quilted or stitched leather, solid metal trim, and high-quality plastic make up the materials array. While the styling of the interior is growing a bit dated in some Astons, the Vanquish looks the part of the modern super-GT. It also feels like a million bucks—not bad for a car that only costs a third of that figure.

Seating is comfortable, if not hugely adjustable due to the snug two-seater confines. Headroom is never a problem for most occupants, either in the Vanquish coupe or the Volante. An optional vestigial rear seat can be replaced with a much more functional parcel shelf, making the most of in-cabin storage with a cargo net to secure items during spirited driving. If you choose the Volante, you can go topless in about 14 seconds, and at speeds of up to 30 mph.

As for the 2015 model year updates, the main difference is the replacement of the previous Touchtronic II six-speed automatic gearbox with the much smoother, quicker, and more efficient Touchtronic III eight-speed automatic. To say this new gearbox upgrades the character and driving enjoyment of the Vanquish is to put it mildly. It utterly changes the car’s character, making it livelier in sporty driving, smoother around town, and overall more pleasant and engaging to operate, whether you’re driving in automatic mode or using the paddle shifters.

If you do choose to use the paddle shifters, some cool features enhance sporty driving. Multi-ratio downshifts are possible merely by holding the downshift paddle, allowing the car to select the lowest possible gear during braking. The car will also adapt its shift points to the driver’s style through the Adaptive Drive Recognition system.

Of course, that new gearbox isn’t the only update for 2015. The engine gets a new Bosch management system, too, to match the increased capabilities of the new transmission, allowing the 6.0-liter V-12 engine’s 568 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque to rocket the coupe to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds—the Volante hits the mark in 3.8 seconds. Those figures represent reductions of about half a second against last year’s model. Top speeds are also higher now, thanks to extended gearing, at 201 mph for the coupe and 197 mph for the Volante. Gas mileage, while still not great, improves slightly to 13 mpg city and 19 mpg highway.

Driving the Vanquish, it’s impossible to forget the car’s width and mass—both rather large, despite the carbon fiber body—but it’s also impossible not to wear a face-splitting grin. Raucous sound, incredible thrust, potent grip—all are available in spades. The steering feel isn’t as tuned-in as a pure sports car, which takes some confidence out of the driver, but the mellower feel is welcome on longer highway drives. For the 2015 model year, the steering is a touch crisper than before, thanks to a re-tuned profile for the power assist in the car’s ECU. As for the curb weight, the Vanquish tips the scales at a tick over 3,900 pounds. The weight is noticeable on the brakes and in the corners, but it’s never a burden thanks to that brilliant V-12 under the hood. Updated dampers on the Vanquish for the 2015 model year also improve its ability to handle both its heft and the curves, with 15 percent stiffer front and 35 percent stiffer rear dampers.

Visual customization is also a hallmark of Aston Martin’s bespoke build process, and for the 2015 model year a few new options are available. New ten-spoke forged alloy wheels offer a variety of finishes as well as 15 pounds in weight savings; new paint colors including the V12 Zagato’s stunning Diavolo Red; new leather trim color options including blue-black (Dark Knight) and Fandango Pink. For those desiring a sportier look, there are Carbon Edition packages that add the eponymous material as trim inside and out.

Equipment-wise, the Aston offers the luxury basics: navigation, excellent audio in the form of a 1,000-watt Bang & Olufsen system, iPod and iPhone integration, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and WiFi.

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety are likely to crash test the car due to the 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish's limited sales volume and prohibitive price. With its state-of-the-art construction, very good on-road dynamics, and modern safety equipment list, buyers can expect it to offer good protection in an accident, as well as the inherent poise to enable the driver to avoid many on-road hazards.

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