By Micah Muzio
Here's some KBB buying advice: If you're going to spend nearly $300,000 on a car, make sure it's something special. With a 565-horsepower V12, advanced carbon-fiber construction and intensely seductive body lines, the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish is undeniably special. Offered as a coupe and a convertible (that's "Volante" in Aston-speak) the Vanquish is an elite grand tourer built more for pleasurable motoring than pure performance, though it's certainly no slouch when the mood strikes. Similarly lofty competitors include the Bentley Continental GT Speed, Ferrari F12 Berlinetta and the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT. Cars this grand might seem excessive, but for one-percenters who relish stellar craftsmanship, timeless style and reserved, confident class, it's hard to imagine a finer automotive match than the Aston Martin Vanquish.
If you appreciate a British approach to affluence with an emphasis on class over flash, the Aston Martin Vanquish might be the car for you.
While clearly quick, the 2014 Vanquish is not the ultimate expression of performance. Consider the following – for the price of a single Vanquish you could instead buy a Nissan GT-R AND a Porsche 911 Turbo S, both cars capable of sub-3-second 0-60 sprints. Just saying...
New for 2014 is the addition of the Vanquish Volante convertible model.
Driving Impressions Given its looks, it's easy to imagine guiding the Aston Martin Vanquish along some meandering ocean view road, sensing the tarmac through the steering wheel, and enjoying the forces that...... press you into the side bolsters. Yeah, it does that stuff really well, but the Vanquish really impressed us with its day-to-day livability, where it moves with a relaxed ease perfectly befitting its "grand touring" mission statement. It's also powerful, which has benefits on magical mountain roads as well as in the real world. Is that a van veering into your lane? No worries, just nudge the throttle and the Vanquish launches to safety, all the while belting out wonderful sounds from its 565-horsepower V12. If there's a shortcoming in the grand Aston's powertrain equation it's the clutch-pedal-free 6-speed automated manual transmission, which changes gears less gracefully than a modern dual-clutch or a traditional automatic.
For high rigidity, low weight and general performance-car credibility, it's hard to top carbon fiber. Making the Vanquish's entire body out of the stuff was a bold move. Leaving key areas unpainted to show off the wonder material was a no-brainer.
BANG & OLUFSEN AUDIO SYSTEM
I could try to convey in words the glorious sounds produced by this 1000-watt, 13-speaker system but suffice it say, it revealed details previously unnoticed in tracks I love. Listen and you too will believe.
From a satisfyingly heavy metal ashtray to diamond-stitched seats surrounded by an endless sea of full-grain leather, the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish is a rolling tribute to craftsmanship. It's also authentic. If something looks like metal or carbon fiber, it is. When it comes to occupant comfort, the front seats are quite accommodating while the rear seats are an absolute joke. If you're planning an overnight getaway the Aston's trunk, though compact, should suffice. Worst case just stow your surplus gear in the useless rear seats. Note: Coupe buyers can choose a rear-seat delete option.Exterior
Wrapped from nose to tail in gorgeous carbon-fiber bodywork, the Aston Martin Vanquish is a sight to behold. Carbon fiber has the notable benefit of reducing weight and looking cool in the areas where it's exposed, but minor fender benders could result in very expensive repair bills. Like all Aston Martins, the doors of the Vanquish angle up as they swing out, negating the danger posed by nearby curbs. Those who choose the convertible will appreciate the fabric top's quick 14-second operation at speeds up to 30 miles per hour.
With a 6-figure price tag it's no surprise that the Aston Martin Vanquish comes well equipped. Standard features include heated memory seats, front and rear parking sensors, automatic climate control, full-grain leather interior, an infotainment/navigation system with capacitive touch controls and iPod integration, a wonderful sounding Bang & Olufsen audio system, and highly capable carbon-ceramic brakes.
Anyone buying a 2014 Vanquish has nearly endless ways to customize their vehicle. Beyond a vast array of exterior and interior leather selections, you also have your choice of stitching, seat color, headliner, and various interior accents along with numerous wheel and exterior trim selections. Basically, there's no reason your Vanquish should look like anyone else's. Added cost options are few and include an auto-dimming mirror, rear parking camera, ventilated seats, an upgraded alarm, embroidered interior details, and personalized sill plaques.
Aston Martin calls the V12 in the Vanquish a 6.0-liter but technically, at 5,935 cubic centimeters, it's really a 5.9-liter. Displacement aside the big 12-cylinder engine sends its output through a carbon fiber drive shaft to a rear-mounted 6-speed transmission on its way through a limited-slip differential finally arriving at the grippy rear tires. Interestingly, the transmission operates essentially like a manual gearbox but with the clutch controlled by a computer rather than the driver's left foot.
565 horsepower @ 6,750 rpm
457 lb-ft of torque @ 5,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19 mpg
For a mere $282,820, including destination and gas guzzler changes, you can buy a 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish of your very own. Expect to spend closer to $300,000 for the convertible. Those prices place the Vanquish well above a variety of impressive alternatives including the nearly $60,000-cheaper Bentley Continental GT Speed, the $100,000-cheaper Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT, and the stunning Audi R8 V10, which can be had for about half of what you'd spend on a Vanquish. At around $315,000 the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta is a more expensive but also more exotic choice, worthy of your consideration. Given its tiny sales volume, Kelley Blue Book doesn't track resale numbers for the Aston Martin Vanquish.