Power boost for re­born Van­quish

VAN­QUISH S RECLAIMS ROLE AS SE­RIES-PRO­DUC­TION FLAG­SHIP; NEW AERO, UPRATED CHASSIS AND IN­TE­RIOR RE­VAMP COM­PLETE THE PACK­AGE

VANTAGE - - Bulletin News, Analysis And Events - WORDS RICHARD MEADEN PHOTOGRAPHY ASTON MARTIN

WITH THE DB11, AM-RB 001 and a brace of Za­gato-bod­ied spe­cials grab­bing at­ten­tion and head­lines, news of the Van­quish S has rather crept up on us.

Di­rect re­place­ment for the out­go­ing Van­quish, the Van­quish S ef­fort­lessly steps into the role of Aston’s se­riespro­duc­tion flag­ship. A boost in power, sharper front and rear-end treat­ments for im­proved aero­dy­nam­ics, re­vised chassis set­tings and a host of dis­tin­guish­ing de­tails make for the most com­pre­hen­sive re­fresh since the sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Van­quish was in­tro­duced in 2012.

Though it has al­ways looked the part, the Van­quish has been some­thing of a slow-burn suc­cess. It took a big step for­ward when it re­ceived the lat­est­gen­er­a­tion eight-speed Touchtronic gear­box, but with the Van­tage range be­com­ing faster and in­creas­ingly fo­cused – most no­tably the fe­ro­cious V12 Van­tage S – and the new DB11 com­bin­ing higher head­line power out­puts with su­pe­rior GT cre­den­tials, Aston’s ‘su­per-gt‘ was in danger of fall­ing be­tween the cracks.

Now, thanks to a freer-breath­ing in­let sys­tem and re­vised ECU map­ping, the 5.9-litre nat­u­rally as­pi­rated V12 now de­vel­ops a nice, round 600PS (or 592bhp in old money), up from 573PS (565bhp). With a greater vol­ume of air flow­ing through the in­let man­i­folds and into the en­gine, the way it de­liv­ers that power prom­ises to feel more in­tense, pulling harder all the way to the red line with a greater ap­petite for revs. Aston claims 0-62mph in 3.5sec, a cou­ple of tenths quicker than the out­go­ing car, though the top speed is un­changed at 201mph.

Com­pli­ment­ing this sharper and stronger de­liv­ery, the Touchtronic III trans­mis­sion has had its elec­tronic cal­i­bra­tion re­vised so that it de­liv­ers faster gearshifts for more in­ci­sive re­sponse, but at­ten­tion has also been paid to low-speed smooth­ness and re­fine­ment, as be­fits a car that at­tempts to strad­dle the roles of GT and su­per­car.

To un­der­line its newly honed re­sponses, the chassis has been sub­jected to a de­tailed suite of changes. Dam­per in­ter­nals, spring rates and anti-roll bar bushes have all been re-tuned to give the car a greater sense of con­trol and agility, while pre­serv­ing the same de­gree of com­pli­ance for a sup­ple ride at low speeds and on less-than-smooth roads via the three-stage adap­tive damp­ing sys­tem. We’ll be in­trigued to dis­cover how the Van­quish S drives, for it has al­ways felt as though there was some pace and poise wait­ing to be tapped.

Vis­ually, the Van­quish has al­ways been a cracker. With the shift to Van­quish S, the beefy looks have been fur­ther am­pli­fied. The re­sult is a more ag­gres­sive, less mod­est ma­chine, but one that marks it­self out as the bold­est car in the range. The most ob­vi­ous changes are to the front and rear ends, with a more an­gu­lar front split­ter and promi­nent rear dif­fuser, com­plete with new quad-tailpipe ex­haust. Both con­trib­ute to a mean­ing­ful re­duc­tion in lift with a min­i­mal penalty in ad­di­tional aero­dy­namic drag, and, of course, give the Van­quish S its own dis­tinc­tive look.

As ever, an ex­ten­sive choice of op­tions and the pos­si­bil­ity of fur­ther per­son­al­i­sa­tion give al­most lim­it­less scope for cre­at­ing a car tai­lored to each cus­tomer’s needs and tastes. Of the new op­tions, the most ap­peal­ing and strik­ing are the new lightweight forged five-spoke

di­a­mond-turned wheels, which re­ally do look spec­tac­u­lar. Un­painted car­bon­fi­bre bon­net lou­vres are another op­tion, while a choice of painted graph­ics packs (as op­posed to vinyl) give the op­por­tu­nity to add another layer of in­di­vid­u­al­ity and at­ti­tude to the over­all look of the car.

In­side, there’s an equally im­pres­sive – and slightly be­wil­der­ing – range of op­tions. Aston’s de­sign­ers have been ex­per­i­ment­ing with com­plex em­broi­dered pat­terns and fin­ishes for years now, so it’s no sur­prise to see another new de­sign make its de­but in the Van­quish S. Called ‘Filo­graph’, this dy­namic new quilt pat­tern makes a bold state­ment, as do new ma­te­ri­als and fin­ishes, such as the Satin Chopped Car­bon Fi­bre fa­cia, which has the ef­fect of mar­bling. Bridge of Weir Caith­ness leather cre­ates that sup­ple and aro­matic driv­ing en­vi­ron­ment for which As­tons are renowned. No ques­tion, the Van­quish S prom­ises to be a fab­u­lous place in which to cover the miles.

Avail­able as coupé and Volante, prices for each model start at £199,950 and £211,950 re­spec­tively. Pro­duc­tion has al­ready started and a few for­tu­nate cus­tomers will re­ceive their new cars be­fore the end of 2016. How­ever, de­liv­er­ies will be­gin in earnest in 2017. Look out for our first drive of the Van­quish S in the next is­sue of Van­tage. New dif­fuser said to help re­duce lift; new five-spoke, di­a­mond-turned al­loys just look sen­sa­tional; ‘Filo­graph’ quilt­ing makes a sim­i­larly bold state­ment in­side

‘It’s a more ag­gres­sive, less mod­est ma­chine, one that marks it­self out as the bold­est car in the range’

Clock­wise from left

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