By Aadil Ishfaq, Syed Ali Shah – Autodealer UAE (http://www.autodealer.ae / http://www.autodealer-me.com)
It is stately, regal and a piece of art, the 2013 Aston Martin Vanquish retains the title of being one of the most beautiful cars on the road today. Retaining the character and the lines Aston Martin’s are famed for, and an obvious hint to the One-77, The New Vanquish is now placed at the top of the tree at the Aston Martin Lagonda family. If you are not one of the lucky few who have a One-77 in their garage, the new Vanquish is your best chance to experience something close. While it costs considerably less than the One-77, AED1.3 million as tested, you still need to be an extremely accomplished Gentleman (or a tasteful lady!) or a lottery winner to afford one.
Turning heads at the Burj Khalifa
‘An English saint, on a crash diet!’ That’s the first impression you get as you drive off in the 2013 Vanquish. The new Vanquish has been heavily carbonized and feels lighter. The weight saving is relative though, at 1.7 tons it remains a bit chubby. We have driven (and abused!) previous V12 versions of this marquee and the latest iteration certainly feels a lot nimbler and stiffer.
A very good looking ‘rear end’ all in the carbon-fibre body. Our favourites were the rear lights and the way they blinked before ‘take-off’.
This year Aston Martin is celebrating their 100 years in producing cars, and not that long ago this same 2013 Vanquish was landed on the helipad of the landmark Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai. The event was postponed a couple times due to weather, but we must commend the helicopter pilot for delivering this not so light beauty to the top unscathed. (We did hear that some parts were removed to make it lighter but that remains unconfirmed.)
The same Vanquish landing on the top of the (alleged) 7-star Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai a few weeks earlier as part of the Aston Martin Centennial celebrations.
The carbon fibre acreage that makes the car 25% stiffer than the outgoing DBS is not the only thing that makes the Vanquish feel special. There’s a totally reworked all-alloy 6.0-litre V12, situated 19mm lower than the DBS for improved balance. It features a totally revised block, a new head, dual variable valve timing, an uprated fuel pump, enlarged throttle bodies, a revised intake manifold and fully machined combustion chambers. It now produces 565bhp and 457lb ft of torque - delivered lower down the rev range, says Aston - sent through a six-speed automated manual transmission that results in a 0-62mph time of 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 183 mph (294 km/h).
Under the bonnet was nice and tidy with the cross brace tightly hugging the massive V-12 engine.
The new AM11 Gen4 V-12 6.0 liter engine produces 565 bhp.
We found some empty roads around the DIP area around Jebel Ali in Dubai and had a go at the Vanquish (of course always observing the legal speed limits!). The squarish steering wheel, while not a looker, was surprisingly easy and comfortable to use during some of our (legal) maneuvers. The Bang & Olofsen sound system while was great was switched off immediately, as it interfered with the exhaust note. Nothing sounds better than an Aston Martin and the Vanquish continues to reign supreme in the aural leagues. The acceleration is smooth and the torque available at the entire rev range. We did try the Launch Control feature twice and the takeoff on both occasions was sublime. To us, the most spectacular thing about the Vanquish were the brakes. When you applied the brakes hard, the smoothness with which you came to a halt and G’s absorbed was simply mind blowing. The monstrous ceramic brakes fitted to our test car worked phenomenally well.
No UAE car photo shoot would be complete without the desert and camels.
The transmission allows both automatic and manual paddle-shift with easy switch between both modes. The 6-gear transmission seemed to work best in the automatic mode, especially with the Sports mode engaged. The Sports mode gives a bit harder drive as expected, but the gearbox shifts much better allowing quick acceleration. On braking the downshifting was equally good giving a nice deceleration. The Track mode did provide some extra stability on curves, but we probably need to take this out on a track and do some real tests, which were not really possible on the rather straight empty roads we conducted our trials on. The traction and stability control, which should be left on at most times, provided ample road grip to steer daily curves (and the odd empty round-about) at high-speeds. We tried without the traction control. Turning off the traction control requires pressing down the button for a few seconds and was a bit difficult to engage initially, but probably with a good reason. Traction control off gives a real taste of the mighty power under the bonnet, but at same time requires a whole different caliber of driving expertise. We would highly recommend keeping traction control on!
The squarish steering with paddle-shifts and access to the various driving modes.
The interior is plush with leather everywhere – hand-stitched using an hour-glass stitching mechanism and exudes luxury every time you sit in it. The seats with easy electronic adjustments are comfortable as a daily ride even for our six feet plus drivers. The back seats are great to park your handbags but not much more than that. We see a lot more electronics in the interior, with sleek buttons to fold the seats, open the trunk and fuel cap. Although we switched off the B&O sound system to enjoy the roar of the engine, we did check it out. The new media system is definitely on par with what you would see in most high-end vehicles, with built-in Satellite Navigation (with pretty decent UAE maps!) and connectors for your iPod/iPhone or USB music. The small details we really liked were how the media system starts with the panel opening up and the two B&O speaker rising out of the dashboard. The carbon fibre theme continues in the interior and on all the knobs on the center console. Personally would have liked something more leathery and lacquerish but were told that it’s not that sporty – besides, it’s possible to customize the interior when ordering.
The sporty carbon-fibre middle control-panel. The ignition key is inserted in the center top and pressed down for a few seconds to start the engine. Also the automatic driving gears are controlled from here.
The rear seats are nice and plush with leather, but hardly usable with almost no leg-space.
On the topic of customization, Aston Martin has recently launched ‘Q by Aston Martin’, which allows ultimate personalization of your Aston Martin done by Aston Martin Lagonda themselves. From what we hear the Gulf region, especially Qatar, UAE and Kuwait, are major markets for the ‘Q’ services. The services are however limited to personalization, and requests for ‘Q from James Bond’ type gadgets are currently not being entertained.
The numbers may look humble if you look at the Vanquish’s rivals, but no Aston Martin customer would buy the Vanquish for the numbers. If you are only looking for more power, faster acceleration, higher top speed and neck snapping torque, you can achieve almost of these by spending a third. But if you are a man (or a lady) who has accomplished a lot and enjoys his drive and comfort and want to own the ultimate Grand Tourer on the market, the 2012 Aston Martin would be your choice. I for one bought the Dubai duty free lottery ticket immediately after returning the car to the good folks at Aston Martin. They say, if you wish really hard!!!
- Engine The new AM11 Gen4 V-12
- Torque 457 lb ft (620 Nm)
- Power 565 BHP (573 PS)
- 0-62 MPH (0-100 KM/H) 4.1 Seconds
- Top Speed 183 MPH (294 KM/H)
- Drive-train Rear wheel drive
- Transmission 6-speed Auto
- Price Starts at AED 1,185,000