Who can forget those immortal words: “Now pay attention Bond, this is your Aston Martin.” They ended 007’s brief and over-commercialized flirtation with BMW and put him firmly back in his rightful place, behind the wheel of an Aston. That was 2001, the film ‘Die Another Day,’ and the car, the sensational big-V12 Aston Martin Vanquish. The hairy-chested Vanquish stayed in production until July 2007 when it was replaced by the slightly less testosterone-fueled DBS. While it looked cool, Daniel Craig got to debut it in ‘Casino Royale’ where it entered the Guinness Book of Records for the most body rolls – seven complete turns to be precise – the DBS was no Vanquish.
Thankfully, after five years of production, the DBS has been laid to rest and the Vanquish name is back, in a successor that packs more raw power, more stretch-out cabin space and every body panel crafted from lightweight carbon fiber. A smidgen longer, taller and wider than the DBS, the Vanquish focuses on offering driver and passenger – two seats are standard, 2+2 an option – a fair bit more interior space. The seats now go back further, there are more elbow room and headroom, and there’s now space in the trunk to carry more than a Walther PPK. Powering this new Aston flagship is a heavily re-worked version of the Cosworth-designed 6.0-liter V-12. A revised block, new cylinder heads, bigger throttle bodies and dual variable valve timing conjures up an extra 50 ponies taking max power up to 565 hp. Torque also increases too, from 420 lb-ft to 457 lb-ft. Using a new motorsport-derived launch-control program – a first for an Aston Martin – this new Vanquish should cover the 0-to-60 mph dash in around 4.0 seconds. That’s a biggish improvement on the DBS’s 4.3 second time.
If there’s a challenge for this new Vanquish, it’s that the supercar world has moved on in just the past few months. Ferrari raised the bar with its brand new, blunt-instrument F12berlinetta with its massive 730 hp punch. Even Chrysler’s new Viper, while not a real rival, will deliver a wild 650 hp. Add to that, purists are not going to like the fact that the new Vanquish won’t be offering a manual transmission like the old DBS, leaving it to a six-speed ZF automatic to do the shifting. And while this new Vanquish, which goes on sale in early 2013, undoubtedly looks breathtaking, is it really that much different from the old DBS, which looked a lot like the DB9, which looks pretty similar to the Virage? You could argue that Aston designers are becoming as ideas-starved as the guys who design Porsche’s 911. Yes, that wild lower splitter at the front will turn heads as will those big, blistered arches over the wheels. But only the cognoscenti are likely to see it as something other than another DBS Carbon Black-like limited edition. A true Vanquish deserves more than that. More shaken, less stirred.
LIST PRICE: $279,995
ENGINE: 6.0-liter V-12
HORSEPOWER: 565 hp @ 6,750 rpm
TORQUE: 457 lb-ft @ 5,500 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic
0–60: 4.0 seconds
TOP SPEED: 183 mph
WEIGHT: 3,613 lbs
LENGTH: 184.7 inches
TIRES: Front: 255/35- 20, Rear: 305/30-20
007, your new Aston Martin awaits
He may not recognize it
from his old DBS