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First Drive: 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish

by Jeff Glucker
December 30, 2012
6 min. Reading Time

Aston Martin has a new lead horse in its stable, and it goes by a familiar name. For the 2014 model year, the Vanquish has returned to the British exotic car maker’s family tree, and it’s done so in dramatic fashion. There’s a lot of new technology going on under that sultry skin, and even the skin itself is advanced thanks to the use of carbon fiber.

The arrival of the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish might be sad news for fans of the DBS, which is going away after this year. They shouldn’t be too sad though, because Bond’s baddest ride just got replaced by something with even more power and style.

Pricing and Trim Levels: 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish

There’s no word yet on a Vanquish S, so the standard Vanquish serves as the model S on trim level. Pricing starts at $279,995, and you can start adding all sorts of options to push the price tag up and over $300,000. Items like the One-77 inspired steering wheel and satin-finish paint will surely help drive your accountant a bit batty.

Aston Martin expects those customers who have already placed orders to receive their cars by the spring of 2013.


Competition: 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish

When we’re talking about a high-end exotic like the 2014 Vanquish, that means the rest of the players have to bring just as much excitement to the table. We’re also not dealing with a pure sports machine, such as the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, but rather a super grand tourer, so that means comfort and luxury should also play a factor.

A car like the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG seems like a good competitor, in that it’s luxurious, powerful, and rather pricey. Additionally, a Lamborghini Gallardo could be considered as well. The problem arises when you realize both of those cars run about $100,000 cheaper than the Vanquish. On top of that, both of those cars are quicker than the Aston Martin. Neither look as good though.

We think one of the best competitors out there might actually be the Ferrari FF. The price points line up, as do the levels of luxury inside. On top of that, both are powered by V12 engines. Still, the Aston is rear-wheel-drive, while the Ferrari powers all four wheels. This is clearly a segment with unique choices, and you really can’t go terribly wrong in any direction you choose. However, the exterior styling of the Vanquish could be considered its trump card by those with the means to shop at this level.


Exterior: 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish

Aston Martin cars are things of pure road-going beauty. The design of the exterior is stunning all the way through the lineup. Now, with the all-new 2014 Vanquish, the legacy continues. What Aston Martin has done is take the existing design language of the DBS, DB9, and Virage, and then tweaked it into a forward-thinking design that incorporates bits from the One-77 hypercar. The body panels are formed from carbon fiber, which means this Aston has gone on a bit of diet compared to its predecessors. Additionally, the available color palette has been expanded to give owners a chance to truly personalize their Vanquish. Of course, you could always spend a few more bucks and get any color you want.

Up front is the standard Aston face, which needs no tweaking. Out back though, the designers added a new look that really brings the whole car up a notch in terms of style. The rear taillights work together to form a subtle version of the Aston Martin badge, and the effect is stunning.


Interior: 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish

The inside of any Aston Martin is a wonderful place to spend time, but it’s a cabin that has always let down drivers due to its outdated infotainment setup. Now, however, that has been addressed and the result is a greatly improved interior experience. What were once tiny, hard to use buttons have been replaced with touch points that rely on haptic feedback. The entire system has been overhauled, and the one major area of complaint has been turned around into a system that is as easy to use as the smartphone in your pocket.

Where did this new and improved system come from? It arrived courtesy of the ultra-exotic One-77 supercar. That sold-out land-based spaceship costs over one million bucks, and you can now get a similar experience for a fraction of the cost.

You can outfit your Vanquish as a true two-seat coupe or opt for a 2+2 layout should you want to squeeze your kids in the back. Don’t think about stuffing adults back there… just get a Rapide if you really must shuttle more than a friend around town.


Powertrain and Fuel Economy: 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish

Aston Martin has revised its iconic 6.0-liter V12 engine for use under the hood of the 2014 Vanquish. This mill now makes 565 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque and it’s paired with the Touchtronic 2 six-speed automatic gearbox. A pair of paddles allows you to control the action yourself, as the power is sent out back to the rear wheels courtesy of the gear of your liking.

All of that upgraded power is enough to pull the Vanquish from 0-60 miles per hour in 4.1 seconds. Keep that throttle pedal to the floor, and you’ll eventually hit 183 miles per hour. As for the fuel economy, well the DBS was rated at 11 miles per gallon city and 17 miles per gallon highway. Aston Martin engineers say that the revised 6.0 spews out fewer emissions while also achieving improved fuel economy numbers. Look for something close to 20 miles on the highway per the EPA, but expect real world numbers to be a bit lower.


Safety: 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish

Aston Martin employs tremendous safety features throughout the Vanquish, and it all starts with the very construction method used to build the car. The VH, or Vertical Horizontal architecture makes use of a whole lot of lightweight bonded aluminum, which results in tremendous strength and rigidity.

In order to help out the driver, the Vanquish makes use of Dynamic Stability Control and Positive Torque Control. These systems keep the car moving in the right direction. That’s a very good thing to keep in mind when hustling a near-$300,000 supercar.


Driving Impressions: 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish

Driving any Aston Martin is an event to be cherished. It all starts with the Emotion Control Unit, which is the term the automaker has coined for its key. Push that into the central space in the dash, and the Vanquish comes to life. The 6.0-liter burbles to life as all twelve cylinders join together in a delightful mechanical chorus.

Grab a paddle and put the car into first gear. The Aston Martin smoothly glides forward, but this is no simple luxury machine so mash the throttle to the carpet and the car happily obliges with tremendous forward thrust.

To extract the most from the Vanquish, put the Adaptive Damping System into Track and push the Sport button on the steering wheel. The throttle response is quicker, the shifts happen faster, the exhaust opens up, and the suspension is now stiffer. It’s go time.

Despite the weight, the Vanquish enjoys being tossed around. We put it to work at the all-new NOLA Motorsports Park outside of New Orleans. It wasn’t a sunny day either, as the rain decided to join in the fun. Even though the ground was wet, the car was still happy to provide an exciting yet controllable experience. Turn in is crisp, and we could easily put the car where we wanted it to go. When needed, the brakes responded instantly, and the action came to a safe and comfortable halt. This Grand Tourer would be the perfect machine for a long adventurous run, yet it also felt fine out on the track. It’s not a sports car, but it can run with them just the same.

Still, we did have a minor nitpick to share. Aston Martin has fitted the Vanquish with a Launch Control system. It’s very easy to use, as you come to a stop and keep your foot on the brake pedal. Press the LC button, then go from the brake to the throttle with full power applied. The car will shoot away and make the shift from first to second gear on its own, while the rest of the shifts are up to you. The system sounds great in theory but is actually quite tame. We expected more whoa and go, but we got a fairly basic launch that could be handled by the driver without any help from the LC button.


Final Thoughts: 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish

Aston Martin has a brand-new flagship, and we’re excited it has chosen to bring the Vanquish name back for the occasion. Of course we will miss the DBS, but the 2014 Vanquish is a wonderful step forward from Bond’s aging ride. Essentially, the Vanquish has pushed the style and power a bit further, and that is exactly what we’d want for a king-of-the-Aston Martin-hill replacement.

Anyone can show up to a fancy event in a Porsche 911, and those with money and a brash personality can arrive in a shouting Lamborghini. Those with a bit more class and taste, however, will choose the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish as their chariot of means.


-Aston Martin style taken to the next level. -Revised 6.0-liter V12 with more power and better fuel economy. -The return of the Vanquish nameplate. -The revised infotainment system is finally on par with the rest of the car.


-Launch Control is rather tame. -Performance plays catch up to the rest of the competition in this segment.



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