In addition to the new DB9 model that debuted for 2005, Aston Martin continues to offer the more expensive V12 Vanquish. The high-dollar coupe joined the lineup of this legendary British sports car maker in 2002.
Two rear-wheel-drive body styles are available: a two-passenger coupe and a 2+2 model with a small backseat. Starting with cars produced in May 2004, a Sports Dynamic option has been available as a dealer-installed accessory. It consists of a sport pack suspension and an enhanced braking system with six-piston front calipers and larger discs. Nine-spoke wheels are 19 inches in diameter and made of lightweight, forged alloy.
Aston Martin introduced a high-performance Vanquish S coupe on the Sports Dynamic chassis at the 2004 Paris Motor Show. Approximately 300 S editions will be built per year. Each holds a 6.0-liter V-12 that's tuned to deliver 520 horsepower, which is 60 hp more than the standard V12 Vanquish.
With the exception of the new Vanquish S, changes for 2005 are minimal. Headquartered in Buckinghamshire, England, Aston Martin is owned by Ford Motor Co.
The elegant V12 Vanquish was designed largely by Ian Callum, who also penned the now-departed DB7 Vantage; as a result of his involvement in both sports cars, there's a strong resemblance between the two. The V12 Vanquish has a shorter hood and a wider, lower air intake than the new DB9. Bold auxiliary driving lamps flank its grille.
The front fenders and hood panels incorporate finely detailed compound curves that sweep back to steeply raked windshield pillars and a low, curved roofline. Deeply sculptured sill and door panels accentuate the classic profile, and large trapezoidal taillights sit in an arching tail. A chrome racing-style fuel filler is used. Styling differences for the Vanquish S are subtle and include a more rounded, open version of the familiar grille.
Carbon fiber, extruded aluminum and composite materials are bonded together to form a central safety cell in a process also used in the aerospace industry. Aston Martin says it's lighter, stiffer and stronger than conventional body construction and provides improved crash protection. Built on a 105.9-inch wheelbase, the V12 Vanquish measures 183.7 inches long overall and stands 51.9 inches tall.
The V12 Vanquish is available with or without a small backseat. Prospective owners are invited to visit Aston Martin's Newport Pagnell factory to select both the body color and a Connolly leather upholstery scheme. A deep center console separates the front occupants and incorporates a red starter button. White-faced instruments greet the driver, and a message center can provide information in 11 languages.
Under the Hood
Developed with Ford's assistance, the regular 6.0-liter V-12 develops 460 hp and 400 pounds-feet of torque and works with a drive-by-wire throttle. The close-ratio six-speed-manual transmission uses fingertip-actuated Formula One-style paddles to produce gear changes; the gearbox also has an automatic mode. A special shifting program is tailored for winter driving. The V-12 in the new Vanquish S produces 520 hp and 425 pounds-feet of torque.
All-disc antilock Brembo brakes are installed. Side-impact airbags are not available.