HEELS ON WHEELS

MC TRIES OUT TWO CARS FRESH FROM THE SHOW­ROOM – THE STUFF OF SWEET MO­TOR­ING DREAMS

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - DRIVES - ASTON MARTIN VAN­QUISH

when I hear ‘Mini’, I think small, light and play­ful. But I also think of power, pic­tur­ing it scoot­ing from 0 to 100 in sec­onds.I know this be­cause I took an out-of-the-box Mini Cooper S for a test drive. It was a smooth and ef­fort­less ride and I felt safe in the loi­ter­ing mist and on wet roads. When back in my own ride, I had a mo­ment. My car didn’t glide. The ped­als were slug­gish. Then logic re­turned: there was noth­ing wrong with my car; it sim­ply wasn’t the Mini Cooper S.

FUEL CON­SUMP­TION: 9/10 Driv­ing in the Green (ver­sus stan­dard Mid or the Sport mode) makes for im­proved fuel ef­fi­ciency.This varies be­tween 5,2 to 5,8 litres per 100km, de­pend­ing on whether you’re driv­ing a man­ual or au­to­matic. BOOT SPACE: 8/10 Seats fold down, of­fer­ing sig­nif­i­cant space for a ro­man­tic road trip for two.

MO­TOR PLAN: Five years/100 000km with two-year un­lim­ited mileage.

BASE PRICE: R369 400. The last Aston Martin I drove was the DB9. It was hard­core. I strug­gled to cope with the hor­ri­fy­ing evil juju that peo­ple who saw me in the DB9 lobbed my way. But the Aston Martin Van­quish re­sulted in a very dif­fer­ent set of ex­pe­ri­ences. Maybe be­cause it costs three times as much as the DB9, all I got was pal­pa­ble re­spect. That is RE­SPECT in caps lock, okay? Even the fel­low tout­ing for change at the traf­fic lights felt com­pelled to en­gage me on the rel­a­tive mer­its of the Van­quish.

It’s like get­ting a flight up­grade but to a pri­vate jet. Peo­ple won’t hold it against you, be­cause it is the sort of crazy stuff that only hap­pens to Min­nie Dlamini and the world’s 650 bil­lion­aires. That’s why there is only a lim­ited sup­ply of Van­quish – af­ter all, there are only so many peo­ple you would need to ac­tu­ally de­feat!

HERE’S THE TER­RI­BLE THING: I could get used to this car. (Ter­ri­ble, be­cause it is so out of my league.) The sound alone is com­pelling. Like a lioness in heat, the growl that emerges from the en­gine could alert the en­tire sa­van­nah to the alpha fe­male hor­mones on the road. Then there’s the fact that it is an im­mensely pleas­ant drive. The sus­pen­sion is easy on a high heel and there are no crazy, ex­treme-sports, wild-car things hap­pen­ing. But if you need to push it or, as a real car person would say,‘open the en­gine up’– well! I have no words.

Then there’s the in­te­rior. I imag­ine this is what the lat­est megay­achts look like. I could even over­look the fact that the Van­quish I drove was ca­nary yel­low. What­ever – that’s now my favourite colour of the sea­son. So you can un­der­stand that I strug­gled to give the Van­quish back. (There was an em­bar­rass­ing tus­sle with the crys­tal key.The poor fel­low at the show­room had to pry it out of my claw.) I’ll have to have se­ri­ous words with Min­nie so I can work out how to get that up­grade.

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