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Wednesday, January 08, 2014

2014 Aston Martin Vanquish



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PRICE : For 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish $279,995

The 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish is the brand's top grand touring sports car, and one of the best GTs in the world. As you'd expect, it looks the part, every inch a dapper, tailored British take on speed. The Vanquish is also priced to match its position, starting at about $280,000 and customizable well into the supercar stratosphere...

For the new model year, a convertible Volante version joins the ranks (on sale in early 2014), sharing its styling and performance with the fixed-roof model...

As with most of the company's cars, the Aston Martin Vanquish doesn't stray far from the corporate look, but it still presents its own unique look and feel. With a carbon fiber body wrapped around an aluminum chassis, the Vanquish does things with its exterior design that simply aren't possible with stamped metals. The sharply creased sides, for example, or the through-the-trunk-lid wing/spoiler, could only be made with composites. The overall result of the Vanquish's styling is a modern, muscular, yet graceful grand tourer that fits its niche-market role--whether in standard coupe or convertible Volante form. ..

Inside, the story is much the same, with hand-crafted leather, solid metal, and quality plastics wrap around elegant, modern shapes. The seats are comfortable, but not too aggressively bolstered, and while the rear seat is mostly for show, it can be replaced with a simple and useful parcel shelf. Volante models get a fabric soft top that deploys in about 14 seconds at speeds up to 30 mph...

Under the hood lies a 565-horsepower 6.0-liter V-12 engine. Paired to a six-speed automatic Touchtronic 2 transmission, the Vanquish is very quick, taking just 4.1 seconds to reach 60 mph. Top speed is 183 mph, but it's the getting there that's the most fun--and it sounds pretty incredible, too. ..

The 2014 Vanquish isn't light, however, weighing more than 3,900 pounds despite its carbon body. The result is a slightly ponderous feeling to its movements, exacerbated by somewhat detached steering feel, despite prodigious grip. The ride quality is a bit rougher than we expected, considering the obvious GT-class role of the Vanquish, but it's not objectionable, ultimately. ..

As with any Aston Martin, the exterior and interior are highly customizable, with the company willing to deliver any bespoke combination a buyer might want--for a price. Equipment-wise, the Aston offers the luxury basics: navigation, excellent audio in the form of a 1,000-watt Bang & Olufsen system, iPod and iPhone integration, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and WiFi. ..

No safety data is likely to come from either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety due to the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish's limited sales volume and prohibitive price. Nevertheless, with its state-of-the-art construction, very good on-road dynamics, and modern safety equipment list, we expect it to offer good protection in an accident, as well as the ability to avoid many on-road hazards...



EXTERIOR


















However, as you get close, you’ll notice that the Vanquish takes all these traditional Aston elements and gives them a bit of an extra edge. You can recognize various visual treats form the Aston Martin One-77, as well as from other current Astons, but the 2014 Vanquish doesn’t just mix these, it brings a touch of personality,.

The Aston Martin Vantage comes with a carbon body and the car is not afraid to show it. The car basically has an aura of exposed carbon placed on its lower side. The front splitter, the angled side skirt and the rear diffuser, they’re all a preview for what’s hiding under the paint of the other panels. ..

Last time we saw a similar scheme we were driving the Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo Stradale. However, the Italian looks like it’s put on a carbon armor, while the Vanquish convinces you that it was born with these elements. The Aston manages to do a far better integration. After all, it’s got a much higher concentration of carbon than the Lamborghini..

The front fascia impresses with the way in which it mixes aggression with the elegance required by the Vanquish’ GT position. However, as your eyes move further along the car, you’ll notice a group of rebels that’s trying to push the styling towards the more extreme spectrum. We’re talking about the vents on the bonnet or that naughty arch of the roof..

Nevertheless, we found ourselves more focused on a particular side of the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish - its rear end. Of course, the One-77-inspired LED headlights are the first to catch the eye. Who wouldn’t want to spend minutes and minutes beholding what appears to be a bird spreading its wings? ..

North of the artistic headlights, we find a deep form of aerodynamics. Literally. The designers came up with what they call and Aero Duct. Basically, this is a more elaborated passive element that prevents lift at the back when you get up to speed. An Aston Martin craftsman spends two days working on this carbon fiber masterpiece...

And there’s more - the rear apron houses a complex diffuser. This uses a generous size in order to do its job properly without having to turn to aggressive fins that would spoil the flowing lines of the car...



INTERIOR










We grab the handle and the door open a bit upwards, in the typical Aston style. We are treated with a strong contrast from the very entrance - the metallic door entry sills and the quilted leather on our tested go together in a wonderful steampunk fashion..

When it came to the interior, the 2014 Vanquish once again turned to its One-77 big brother for inspiration. Many styling cues from Aston’s halo model can be found here, albeit most of them in a reinterpreted form. Once again, you are treated with nicely flowing forms. However, the Aston Martin Vanquish’s cabin is a place of mixed emotions...

The driving position gently whispers “GT” in your ear and you’ll be able to use the car for hours and hours thanks to the comfortable interior. The steering wheel is a real treat. Its shape reminds us of Aston’s racing and it’s also got superb ergonomics. Among others, you find the buttons that control the suspension and the powertrain modes here...

There’s plenty of space up front, much more than on the DBS the Vanquish replaces. However, don’t believe the sticker on the door. This says we’ve got two seats up front and two in the back. Well, the ones behind us are only good for imaginary friends, as real people can’t fit in there. Even if they did, the rock-hard seat backs would probably scare them away. This is the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish’s optional 2+2 seating package. You can also have a more honest setup, a 2+0 one...

We loved the fascia trim that covers the entire center console. What’s more, the glass buttons that occupy it come with haptic feedback, so you feel like using a smartphone...

Alas, some of the switchgear is really starting to show its age. This is also the problem with the infotainment screen. The display is of mediocre size and its think mount reminds us of the 2000s. When you’re paying this much for a car, such elements can make you go crazy...

Nevertheless, the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish backs up its Grand Tourer status with a boot that measures 13 cubic feet (368 liters). That’s not just 60 percent more than what the replaced DBS had to offer, but it also tops the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta’s 11.3 cubic feet (320 liters)...

Speaking of the F12, it’s not all that easy to compare the cabins of the two. Ferrari also has its “not good enough for the money” issues, but these seem a bit smaller than in the Aston. The Italian felt a bit roomier, but the Aston takes the cake for visual drama...



SPECIFICATION


► Engine:5.9L V12
► Power:565 HP / 457 LB-FTTransmission:6-Speed Automatic
► 0-60 Time:4.2 Seconds
► Top Speed:183 MPH
► Drivetrain:Rear-Wheel Drive
► Curb Weight:3,900 LBS (est)
► Seating:2+2 (as tested)
► Cargo:13 CU-FT
► MPG:13 City / 19 HWY
► Base Price:$279,955
► As-Tested Price:$303,635



OPEN ROAD


The sheer aroma of the Aston Martin Vanquish’s Alcantara and leather is enough to make you feel spoiled. This must be the car’s way of bringing you in a good mood even before you get things started. It takes Aston Martin 70 hours to fully furbish a Vanquish cabin. Even the machine used for the stitching has been custom built for the company...

Once you do put the wheels in motion, you’ll notice that the show-off interior is matched with pleasing ergonomics. The control arrangement around the cabin is clear. Only Aston’s handbrake, which is placed on the side of the car, not the center, takes some time getting used to. Speaking of this, since we were treated with a lever, we would’ve liked a system you can actually use, but this only works to secure the car once you’re come to a halt...

And since we’re going over the practical side of the Vanquish’s interior, we have to note that there are plenty of stowage spaces. Just be careful with the central-mounted cup holders. They’re way too small to be able to contain anything larger than one drop of liquid...

Cars like the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish usually have a hard time preparing for this chapter. We’re referring to the soundproofing here. It’s very difficult to get the sound insulation balance right when you’ve got a driver that wants his V12 sounds and a passenger that demands GT levels of comfort. Well, the Vanquish knows exactly what to do in order to please both. We hear the active exhaust giggling underneath the car...

And when you’re taking a short break along your journey and still want to feel special, take a bit of time to open the bonnet. If anybody starts making reliability jokes, ignore them, the move is worth it. You’ll find a massive brace keeping things stiff and the two-tone finish is as elaborate as engine compartments go without turning to the exposed carbon trick. Oh, there’s also a six-liter V12 waiting for you there...

All these elements combine to create a pleasant atmosphere during long trips, being part of the Aston Martin Vanquish’ character...


IN CITY


We wonder why Aston Martin doesn’t list the “Road Sign Recognition” feature for the Vanquish - our tester seemed to be fitted with prototype version of the tech. The system can only read one or two signs, but boy, does it know how to react. Present it with a “twisty road ahead” or “no restrictions whatsoever” and the Aston Martin Vanquish will deliver quite some thrills...

Nevertheless, none of these could be found inside the city, where we started our drive. Presented with heavy traffic, the Aston Martin Vanquish doesn’t complain all that much...

When you’re idling in a queue the V12 pays his respects to the lost time using its exhaust burble. This is a deep sound, a pleasure we’ve been lusting for ever since we’ve driven the Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster. However, while Affalterbach’s V8 emits a low-pace soundtrack, the V12 in the Aston rushes its own repetitive cycle...

The V12 unit doesn’t seem to want to commit suicide when asked to perform in city traffic. As for the six-speed automatic, this copes with the repeated changes rather well. ..

However, the hydraulic steering, visibility and ground clearance quickly remind you of your main task here - to find the nearest city exit...



SAFETY


For a machine mixing V12 power with rear-wheel drive, the Aston Martin Vanquish feels pretty keen to stay on the road at speed. This is a chapter where the car’s GT setup, obviously softer than that of a supercar, brings it points...

The linear power delivery means that you’ll never be surprised during a corner. Again, a positive thing as far as this chapter is concerned. For example, a Jaguar XKR's supercharged V8 is much more likely to upset the handling balance when an inexperienced driver pushes the pedal too hard in the middle of a bend...

Alas, once you reach the limit, the 2014 Vanquish doesn’t feel quite as sharp as we’d like it to be. The thing is responsive though, thanks to its balanced chassis, adaptive suspension and hydraulic steering...

In terms of passive safety, the 25 percent torsional rigidity boost brought by the revised platform is an asset...

What’s more the exterior panels are now made of carbon, bringing energy-absorbing assets. Moving inside the car, we find six airbags: front bags, side head bags, as well as the pelvis and thorax bags. 



COMFORT


The sheer aroma of the Aston Martin Vanquish’s Alcantara and leather is enough to make you feel spoiled. This must be the car’s way of bringing you in a good mood even before you get things started. It takes Aston Martin 70 hours to fully furbish a Vanquish cabin. Even the machine used for the stitching has been custom built for the company...

Once you do put the wheels in motion, you’ll notice that the show-off interior is matched with pleasing ergonomics. The control arrangement around the cabin is clear. Only Aston’s handbrake, which is placed on the side of the car, not the center, takes some time getting used to. Speaking of this, since we were treated with a lever, we would’ve liked a system you can actually use, but this only works to secure the car once you’re come to a halt...

And since we’re going over the practical side of the Vanquish’s interior, we have to note that there are plenty of stowage spaces. Just be careful with the central-mounted cup holders. They’re way too small to be able to contain anything larger than one drop of liquid...

Cars like the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish usually have a hard time preparing for this chapter. We’re referring to the soundproofing here. It’s very difficult to get the sound insulation balance right when you’ve got a driver that wants his V12 sounds and a passenger that demands GT levels of comfort. Well, the Vanquish knows exactly what to do in order to please both. We hear the active exhaust giggling underneath the car...

And when you’re taking a short break along your journey and still want to feel special, take a bit of time to open the bonnet. If anybody starts making reliability jokes, ignore them, the move is worth it. You’ll find a massive brace keeping things stiff and the two-tone finish is as elaborate as engine compartments go without turning to the exposed carbon trick. Oh, there’s also a six-liter V12 waiting for you there...

All these elements combine to create a pleasant atmosphere during long trips, being part of the Aston Martin Vanquish’ character...


BODY & CHASSIS


► Body maded by Carbon Fiber

Aston Martin’s new Vanquish is built around the fourth-generation VH (Vertical Horizontal) architecture. This is an aluminum structure that’s now received 75 percent new parts. A carbon fiber diet has been introduced to keep the weight in check, with every exterior panel being made from the material. On top of the panels, Aston applies a 200-micron epoxy and glass layer to keep the finish neat...

Oh and as a nice detail for impressing people, the bonnet is made of titanium...

The 2014 Vanquish tips the scales at 1,725 kg (3,800 lbs), so the process was effective, but still not a miracle. However, it has made the Vanquish 25 percent stiffer compared to the DBS it replaces. In addition, the revised architecture means that the engine now sits 19 mm (0.8 inches) lower within the body. As for the weight distribution, this sits at 50:50...


SYSTEMS




Unlike other Brits like McLaren or Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin didn’t go with UK-based Meridian for the audio system of the Vanquish. Instead, they kept their ties with Bang & Olufsen, installing a 1,000W BeoSound system...

This relies on 15-speakers to bring music to your ears. It even managed to convince us to prioritize it over the V12’s soundtrack. Yes, Bang & Olufsen’s hardware is that good, but, of course, Aston’s engine regained its status after a while...

We’re pretty happy Aston sticked to the B&O scheme, as we’ve always found the Danes to offer something that’s a tad above the other premium audio system developers...

Moving to the interior trimming area, Aston’s leather is among the finest we’ve ever touched. Nevertheless, they don’t go as far as Bentley does when it comes to the rest of the available cabin materials...

In addition, you can also have various accessories for your 2014 Vanquish. The ones that drew out attention start with the rear parking camera. Not the sharpest tool of its kind, but still a must have. The same can be said about the heated and ventilated seats...

And there were other aspects of our tester that pointed to a questionable reliability. Despite the car’s low mileage, the carbon side strakes seemed to bite into the panels around them a little bit. Climbing aboard, we found a few stitches that had become undone on the inner door handle. These are all little details, but they matter, especially given the price of the car...

In fact, it’s not difficult to see that Aston Martin is suffering from the lack of access to proper R&D resources. For example, you can feel the ventilators working underneath you in the seats. Well, the reason for which you won’t experience this in a Bentley is the VW Group ownership...

Hey, let’s lighten up the mood a bit - you can order snow chains on your 2014 Vanquish...


SUSPENSION & BRAKES



Aston Martin hasn’t released any information on the suspension and braking systems yet, so we anticipate that the new Vanquish will ride on the same chassis as the current DBS, giving it the same braking and suspension systems. In that case, the suspension will be an adaptive damping system. The front end will feature an independent double wishbone-style system with an anti-roll bar, monotube dampers, and anti-dive geometry, which prevents nose diving on hard braking...

The rear suspension will be essentially the same setup as the front. The only difference would be the geometry of the rear suspension which is set up to reduce squatting and lifting, thereby increasing acceleration and grip, and keeping the tires on the ground...

The front brakes feature six-piston calipers that squeeze onto 398 mm (15.66-inch) carbon ceramic ventilated discs. The rear brakes have four-piston calipers that squeeze 360 mm (14.17-inch) carbon ceramic ventilated discs. As expected of a high-performance luxury ride, the DBS includes an electronic brakeforce distribution system and traction control...


POWERTRAIN


Muscle comes via an AM11 V12 engine measuring 5,935 cc in displacement. In case this sounds familiar, that’s because you’ve heard the capacity before - this is a revised unit. The powerplant received larger throttle bodies, a new intake manifold, as well as tweaked combustion chambers. As a result, the V12 now delivers 573 HP at 6,750 rpm. Peak torque sits at 457 lb-ft (620 Nm), which arrive at 5,500 rpm. The British company also brags about having pet the torque curve for improved low-end punch...

An alloy tube house a carbon fiber prop shaft, which delivers the power to rear-mounted Touchtronic 2 six-speed automatic. This also offers a manual function that changes gears 37 percent faster than in the past... 


ENGINE & DRIVETRAIN





► Displacement : 5635 cm3
► Cylinders : V12
► Fuel : Petrol
► Power : 421 KW or 572 HP @ 6.750 RPM
► Torque : 457 lb-ft or 620NM
► Numaber of Gear : 6
► Traction : RWD

It is well known that the engine will be the same 6.0-liter V-12 setup that the 2012 model year utilizes, but with mild modifications. With these mods, the V-12 engine will produce significantly more power: 565 HP at 6,750 rpm and a peak torque of 457 lbs-ft at 5,500 rpm. As a result, the car will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds and up to a top speed of 186 mph. The engine is mated to a Touchtronic 2 six-speed automatic gearbox that ensures some of the most impressive performance figures..


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By : Automotive News & Super Modified Sports Cars

= Shahen Tharammal

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