What the road testers said at the time
‘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