What the road testers said at the time

VANTAGE - - Buying Guide -

‘prod THE Glass STARTER BUT­TON and the 48-valve V12 fires up with or­ches­trated drama, the ECU al­low­ing the starter mo­tor to spin for an ex­tended mo­ment be­fore send­ing the fuel in. It’s worth the wait; the en­gine erupts with a thun­der­ous whoop, and a rich, gar­gling rum­ble spills from the twin tailpipes.

With the 460bhp ver­sion of the V12 there was al­ways the feel­ing that the de­liv­ery was some­how a lit­tle hol­low, pos­si­bly due to the lin­ear­ity of the urge. Com­pared with the hike in power, the gain in torque is more mod­est – up from 400 to 425lb ft, de­liv­ered at 5800rpm in­stead of 5000rpm – but with the shorter gear­ing the S feels blis­ter­ingly quick right away. There’s sharper throt­tle re­sponse, and when you let the re­worked V12 have its head there’s a rising, solid ur­gency above 4500rpm that keeps you pinned to the seat right through to the lim­iter.

The Sports Dy­namic Pack is tai­lor-made for the more po­tent Van­quish. It’s no fly­weight, tip­ping the scales at 1875kg, yet you’re never re­ally aware of all that mass. The low-speed ride is firm but sur­pris­ingly com­pli­ant over all but abrupt ridges, and at higher speeds it smoth­ers just about ev­ery­thing in its path.

Turn-in is ac­cu­rate and keen to the point where the rear can feel a lit­tle loose. In fact, grip and trac­tion are strong, though the 520bhp en­gine cer­tainly gives the rear 285/30 Yoko­hamas a hard time. Squeeze the throt­tle mid-cor­ner and you can feel the rear of the car dig­ging into the as­phalt; push a bit more and the trac­tion con­trol in­ter­jects abruptly. This is a bid­dable, ag­ile car, with frac­tion­ally light, rea­son­ably feel­some steer­ing that lets you know when you’re push­ing on. You feel in con­trol, at the cen­tre of things.

Switch­ing out trac­tion con­trol al­lows you to use the rear to steer. Few own­ers will go there but it’s a mea­sure of the depth of the Van­quish S’s abil­ity that it re­mains cool and col­lected be­yond the limit, and a mea­sure of the en­gine’s re­spon­sive­ness and power that you can con­trol the an­gle and length of the slide. The S is a hand­some, char­ac­ter­ful and thor­oughly de­sir­able car with the edge you al­ways wished the orig­i­nal had.’ evo mag­a­zine, is­sue 073, Novem­ber 2004

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