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2017
The Car Connection
2017
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor

The 2017 Aston Martin Vanquish is a beautiful car, for discerning tastes, for ultra-luxury buyers.

The 2017 Aston Martin Vanquish is the company's most-expensive model and a flagship for the brand, one of the most impressive grand touring cars in the world. The 2017 model is largely unchanged from the previous year, aside from an updated infotainment system. The car was most recently updated in 2015, when it received a new transmission, engine management software, and a suspension update.

The Vanquish is offered as a coupe or convertible, which is called the Vanquish Volante, and is exclusively powered by a V-12. In June, Aston announced a special run of 99 Vanquish coupes styled by Italian coachbuilder Zagato, which were quickly snapped up by collectors.

The Vanquish earns a 7.8 out of 10 on our scale thanks to its beautiful style and excellent fit and finish. As you'd expect for a V-12, gas mileage isn't much of a priority. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Styling and performance

The look and feel of the Vanquish is more closely aligned with the outgoing DB9—rather than the all-new DB11—but Aston Martin officials insist the car will be updated within the next few years and sit higher atop the sports car range than the current model.

From the outside, the Vanquish is classically beautiful with the same unmistakable proportion Aston Martin uses in most of their two-door cars. The long hood and iconic nose of the Vanquish are made from carbon fiber (all of the car's body panels are carbon fiber) and is more muscular than the old DB9. Wide rear haunches direct air to a decklid spoiler that pushes the massive tail down.

The car's interior is similarly elegant, with a long "waterfall" dash cascading down the middle, where the Vanquish's signature gear selector and crystal ignition button are displayed. Quilted or stitched leather, solid metal trim, and carbon fiber 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—or at least $300,000.

The Vanquish is powered by Aston Martin's naturally aspirated V-12 that makes 568 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque, which is exclusively mated to an 8-speed automatic. The result is a car that can rocket up to 60 mph in under four seconds, and can crest 200 mph. In 2015, Aston Martin added the ZF-sourced Touchtronic III 8-speed automatic transmission, which makes the most of the V-12's power. It feels very lively during sporty driving, smooth around town, and always pleasant and engaging to operate, whether you’re driving in automatic mode or using the paddle shifters.

If you 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. However, the transmission programming is never high-strung like it is in rivals with dual-clutch transmissions and Sport Plus modes. To get the most out of the power, it is necessary to use the steering wheel shift paddles.

From behind the wheel, it’s impossible to forget the car’s width and mass. It's also impossible not to wear a face-splitting grin. Raucous sounds, 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. As for the curb weight, the Vanquish tips the scales at a tick over 3,900 pounds, despite the carbon fiber body. The weight is noticeable in corners, but it’s never a burden thanks to that brilliant V-12 under the hood and carbon ceramic brakes at all four corners.

Adjustable dampers help iron out a ride that is generally quite firm. Sport and Track settings firm things up even more, but may be too harsh for everyday driving.

Comfort, safety, and features

The Vanquish is a comfortable grand tourer, although it's not hugely adjustable due to the snug confines. Head room shouldn't be a issue for most occupants—not in the coupe, and most certainly not in the Volante. The 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.

New for 2017, the Vanquish is equipped with Aston Martin's latest infotainment system, dubbed AMi III. Apple's CarPlay is standard and every Vanquish gets a 1,000-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system with 15 speakers loud and crisp enough to treat passers-by to their own Justin Beiber concert. Options include a rearview camera, heated seats, and embroidered headrests, something normally available as standard on $300,000 cars.

Like other Aston Martin models, the Vanquish can be personalized through the carmaker's bespoke Q program, which allows buyers to personalize their car. The Vanquish Carbon Edition isn't available after last year's successful run.

Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS are likely to crash test the car due to the 2017 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.

Mileage, if you have to ask, is 13 mpg city, 21 highway, 16 combined.

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