In addition to the DB9 model that debuted for 2005, Aston Martin continues to offer the more expensive Vanquish. The high-dollar coupe joined the lineup of this legendary British sports car maker in 2002. Headquartered in Buckinghamshire, England, Aston Martin is owned by Ford Motor Co.
The automaker introduced a high-performance Vanquish S coupe at the 2004 Paris Motor Show. Approximately 300 S editions were to be built per year. Each holds a 6.0-liter V-12 that's tuned to deliver 520 horsepower.
Only the Vanquish S is offered for 2006. A navigation system and a new audio system are installed, and the Vanquish can communicate with Bluetooth-enabled phones. New standard equipment includes rear parking sensors, heated front seats, power-folding side mirrors and a garage-door opener.
The elegant Vanquish was designed largely by Ian Callum, who also designed the now-departed DB7 Vantage. The Vanquish has a shorter hood and a wider, lower air intake than the less costly 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. Nine-spoke alloy wheels measure 19 inches in diameter.
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 Vanquish measures 183.7 inches long overall and stands 51.9 inches tall.
The 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. White-faced instruments greet the driver, and a message center can provide information in 11 languages.
Under the Hood
The Vanquish's V-12 produces 520 hp and 425 pounds-feet of torque. 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.
All-disc antilock brakes are installed.