PREDA­TOR’S DRIVE

As­ton Martin’s lat­est in­car­na­tion is a rac­ing afi­cionado’s dream.

The Peak (Singapore) - - Aston Martin Special -

Ask Andy Palmer what busi­ness As­ton Martin is into and the com­pany’s pres­i­dent and CEO will tell you: “Cre­at­ing and sell­ing dreams.” He is not kid­ding be­cause the Bri­tish mar­que has been fu­elling fan­tasies of rac­ing sports en­thu­si­asts in many iconic movies such as Fast and Fu­ri­ous

But it’s more of a James Bond lu­mi­nary. The sports car was the choice of Sean Con­nery’s debonair spy in the 1964 Goldfin­ger clas­sic and, since 1995, it has been syn­ony­mous with the suave Pierce Bros­nan and al­pha male Daniel Craig in the fran­chise’s lms. They gave As­ton Martin that dash­ing and ma­cho aura, some­thing ev­ery hot- blooded young man wants to own, if he had the moolah. And why not? With the lat­est Van­tage, Palmer’s boys have given rac­ing a ciona­dos a dream they can chase. To be sure, the car’s pedi­gree is un­mis­tak­ably As­ton Martin. For starters, the Van­tage packs a lot of punch. Pow­ered by the sports car maker’s po­tent new al­loy, 4- litre twin- turbo, and V8 en­gine, it pro­duces 503bhp at 6,000rpm and 685Nm from 2,000- 5,000rpm.

That’s zero to 100kmh in 3.6 sec­onds, cou­pled with a top speed of 314kmh. This im­pres­sive power and torque are de­ployed to the rear wheels via a rear- mounted ZF eight­speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

And, if the dap­per Bond is a man’s ul­ti­mate hunter, the Van­tage is the supreme preda­tor.

It’s equipped with a so­phis­ti­cated suite of in­te­grated elec­tronic sys­tems in­clud­ing Dy­namic Sta­bil­ity Con­trol and Dy­namic Torque Vec­tor­ing. It also has a speed- de­pen­dent elec­tric power steer­ing with 2.4 turns lock- to- lock that

de­liv­ers a com­bi­na­tion of re­spon­sive­ness and pre­cise, in­tu­itive con­trol. For the rst time, too, the Van­tage is donned with Elec­tronic Rear Dif­fer­en­tial (E- Diff), which can go from fully open to 100 per cent locked in mil­lisec­onds.

What this en­tire elec­tro- tech­nol­ogy wiz­ardry lit­er­ally means is that it hands the driver max­i­mum con­trol – and en­joy­ment – be­hind the wheel. And at higher speeds, he can de­pend on the E- Diff to take con­trol of the car’s be­hav­iour and make it feel more com­posed on the straights and at cor­ners. This gives the driver the con dence to ex­ploit the Van­tage’s en­tire ca­pa­bil­i­ties to the hilt.

This Bri­tish sports car is de­signed to match the heart and soul of a beast hunt­ing its prey at blind­ing speed. Aero­dy­nam­ics, there­fore, un­der­pins its de­sign, in which air ow from the front is di­rected un­der­neath the car and, here, a sys­tem of fences chan­nels cool­ing air to where it is needed.

Clean air is also fed into a rear dif­fuser, cre­at­ing a low- pres­sure area there, while the side gills re­lease air pres­sure around the front wheels. What all this does is gen­er­ate a high level of down­force – which is rare in pro­duc­tion cars – that sta­bilises the Van­tage at high speeds. But so much about its mus­cles. De­sign in­side the Van­tage com­ple­ments the more ag­gres­sive na­ture of the car and is geared to­wards en­gag­ing all of a driver’s in­tu­itive senses, through a com­bi­na­tion of ro­tary and tog­gle con­trols. There is also more head­room and stor­age space than in its pre­de­ces­sor.

This As­ton Martin is also pam­pered with ev­ery­thing the mar­que has to of­fer. It gets all the stan­dard equip­ment – key­less start/stop, tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem, park­ing dis­tance dis­play, park as­sist and front and rear park­ing sen­sors.

The in- car en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem comes with all the works, too, in­clud­ing a cen­trally mounted 8- inch LCD screen, Blue­tooth, au­dio and phone stream­ing, iPod, iPhone and USB play­back and an in­te­grated satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem.

For Palmer, this is what dreams are made of. “It speaks vol­umes of the out­go­ing Van­tage that it is the sin­gle most suc­cess­ful model in As­ton Martin’s his­tory,” he says. “Cre­at­ing a wor­thy suc­ces­sor has been a chal­lenge to rel­ish and a huge source of mo­ti­va­tion.

“I’m enor­mously ex­cited by what we’ve cre­ated: a new Van­tage that’s more ex­plicit in looks and in­tent, wrap­ping heart- pound­ing per­for­mance and daz­zling dy­nam­ics into an ev­ery­day us­able pack­age. A true sports car with a sharper look and a keener dy­namic edge, the new Van­tage is the As­ton Martin pure driv­ing ma­chine en­thu­si­asts have been wait­ing for.”

(bot­tom) The Van­tage has been As­ton Martin’s most suc­cess­ful car model.

(left) The Van­tage’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties are in­spired by the speed, mus­cle and agility of a preda­tor on the hunt.

(be­low) The in­te­rior is tech­no­log­i­cally sound, with 8-inch LCD screen, Blue­tooth and an in­te­grated satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem, among the fea­tures.

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