Aston Martin today unveils the new, mostly carbonfibre Vanquish supercar - its 183mph range-topping V12 supercar to replace the DBS flagship.
The new Aston Vanquish Mk2 lands in showrooms in spring 2013, priced at £189,995. It's a milestone car, this, for Aston; they're considering it as their anniversary present to customers as they prepare for their centenary next year.
Aston Martin Vanquish: the new, 2012 one
The new Vanquish is important in other ways, too. With it, Aston Martin ushers in its latest VH platform, now in its fourth iteration. The VH Gen4 takes the aluminium-intensive architecture pioneered on the original 2001 Vanquish and every subsequent mainstream Aston, and adds new components to keep it at the cutting edge.
Don't dismiss this as a merely reheated old platform; we've had good access to the engineering team at Gaydon who've shown us just what's evolved on the VH Gen4: the aluminium structure is clothed in an all-carbonfibre body (30% stiffer and lighter too) while many of the modules (the interchangeable bits in the VH strategy) are new, including the transmission, brakes and dampers.
The 6.0-litre V12 is upgraded, with bigger throttle bodies, Aston's first dual variable valve timing and new fuel pumps and air boxes. Result? A stout 565bhp and 457lb ft at 5500rpm. Those numbers power the Vanquish to 62mph in 4.1 seconds and then on to 183mph.
Aston Vanquish: the design story
There are cues aplenty from the One-77, the £1.2 million hypercar built by Gaydon to rival the Bugatti Veyron (and of which all 77 examples have now been sold). The rear lights, in particular, ape the One-77's - merge the two boomerang lamps on either side and they form the winged Aston badge.
Design director Marek Reichman told CAR: 'For me the body of the car is all about proportion. It's about the message of power, but in a restrained way. It's like wearing the label of your designer jacket on the inside.'
The extruded, polished aluminium grille is wider and slimmer, and sets up the stance of the car; Reichman mentions the triangulation points of the front and rear end - which 'make the car planted', giving it an athletic stance.
And if you find some of that exposed carbonfibre a bit garish, fret not; you can have the front splitter, and other parts, painted in body colour, should you wish, or flash your composite as you see fit. The car we sampled was in crystal white - and very classy it looked, too. The integrated rear wing is a very neat solution, being made from a one-piece moulding with no visible joins or shutlines.
Inside the Aston Vanquish
CAR has sat in the new Vanquish and can report that it's a definite step forward from the latest crop of DB9s et al. The fully leather-clad model we sat in was upholstered in seven hides, stitched together with one million stitches - the monogrammed quilting on the leather is quite an achievement of craft over cost.
It's even a reasonably practical supercar; the Vanquish Mk2 sports a 368-litre boot, 10 litres bigger than a Bentley GT Continental's, or a VW Golf's for that matter. The new 2012 Aston Vanquish can be had in 2+0 or 2+2 seating configurations.
The centre console is much neater than previous Aston's, with newly tidied-up switches in the cascading 'waterfall' design seen on the One-77. New on the Vanquish are haptic switches which allow a clear glass touchscreen like a smart phone's to give a physical, almost buzzing response, so you know you've touched it.
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