The Vanquish nameplate returns to Aston Martin's halo sports car after five years on hiatus. The new model is essentially an updated version of the outgoing DBS, which performed magnificently, but lacked the fantasy quality of the original Vanquish.
The 2014 model possesses sensational looks worthy of study by the world's most accomplished artists -- some of whom apparently work at Aston Martin. The carbon-fiber body is likely one of the finest examples of industrial beauty ever seen. Underneath the seductive skin, there's a lightweight frame made of bonded aluminum and more carbon fiber. The result is a curb weight of 3,800 pounds, despite the car's high content and V12 lurking under the hood.
Firing on all those cylinders, the engine pumps out 565 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque. That's about 10% more power than last year, although displacement remains 6 liters. The Vanquish hits 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, exotic-car territory to be sure, but not as fast as some rivals. The engine is mounted just behind the front axle for near-perfect weight distribution, a key factor in the car's supremely competent handling. In keeping with its luxury-performance mission, the sole transmission is a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters and a special sport mode that increases revs and induces an unforgettable exhaust growl.
Drivers can also select suspension settings -- Normal, Sport, Track -- to bring out the Vanquish's various personalities. In Normal mode, the ride is unexpectedly smooth for a car with such performance potential. When it comes to touring the countryside, the Vanquish has no equal.
Taking a moment to soak up the interior ambiance before hitting the road is highly recommended. Nearly every surface is bathed in buttery, aromatic leather or suede-like material. The craftsmanship is utterly superb, a testament to the excellence obtainable when you a build a car by hand.
The controls in the center stack are arranged behind a layer of touch-sensitive glass that provides satisfying tactical feedback. Buyers can order a pair of rear seats in place of the standard parcel shelf, a practical swap given the trunk's generous capacity for this class. Unsurprisingly, the main advantage of the extra seats might be their fine leather scent as they're barely usable for adults. Standard indulgences include a 13-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, mobile WiFi and Garmin navigation.
Getting this level of luxury and refinement in a true performance car seems too good to be true. For the folks shopping in this stratosphere, the Vanquish makes the impossible a reality.