By Don Fuller, Contributing Editor
The 2016 Aston Martin Vanquish, a show-stopper coupe or Volante convertible, has a price that can buy decent housing in most zip codes in this country. Only a few people can lay down 300 grand for a car like most of us buy a T-shirt, so this thing better be special. The stunning looks alone can justify the cost; add a 5.9-liter 568-horsepower V12 (enough to handle most traffic), fastidious detailing, superb ride and handling, an impeccably wrought interior that defines “magnificent” and a historic name and heritage, and call the deal even. Possible competition in this rarefied atmosphere is either dead-serious or irrelevant, depending upon one’s viewpoint, but might include the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT, Ferrari F12berlinetta -- or a dinner date with Jennifer Lawrence.
Superb in every way, there isn’t a valet parking guy in the country who will miss the significance of you pulling up to dinner in the Aston Martin Vanquish. This is for being noticed by those who truly matter, and rewarding yourself, as well.
While the Vanquish doesn’t play second fiddle to anything on the road (the factory says it will bust 200 mph), at around two tons it’s not really a track-day thrasher, like a Porsche 911 or Corvette. But, then, why would you buy it for that?
For 2016, the Aston Martin Vanquish is carryover from the 2015 model year.
The driving experience for the 2016 Aston Martin Vanquish defines “wondrous” but you would expect nothing less. Whatever shape the pavement, the Vanquish excels. Take an easy drive home after...
... a tough day as an agent to the stars, or bomb off into some curves and reward yourself with the Aston’s prowess. Stuck at a stop? With 568 horsepower 60 mph is only 3.6 seconds away. But this is not some street-fighting hell-raiser; rather, it’s just about the most reserved way imaginable to quickly put pavement in the mirror. The Volante convertible is a little heavier but there’s no substitute for open-air motoring in an Aston Martin. Exquisite, elegant, dignified and decidedly supremely assured as only the Brits seem to do it, the Vanquish might just have no real peers.
So help us, we’re suckers for the looks of any Aston Martin, and the Vanquish is as close to an ideal in automotive design as there is. We would not change a crease, a line, an angle.
It displaces 5.9 liters, makes 568 horsepower, and Aston claims the Vanquish will top 200 mph. Throttle response is instantaneous, power delivery seemingly endless. And the sound is glorious.
As expected, leather covers the Vanquish steering wheel, dash and seats, with available diamond stitching on the seat bolsters and headrests. This is as exquisitely crafted and authentic as you will find -- no fake carbon fiber here. Volante models get a second row of seats, but it’s more for briefcases and jackets than grown-up humans. Even starting up is special: Place a rectangular glass prism in a slot in the center stack and it comes to life.
Clearly, there is no effort within the Aston Martin design team to brew up the flavor of the moment. Instantly recognizable as an Aston, the Vanquish is finely drawn to reflect an unerring salute to the timelessness of the marque’s heritage. This car would have looked great decades ago and will still look great a century from now. The front end is unmistakably Aston Martin, and the form of the whole will never be confused with anything else among those who know cars. If George Clooney were a car, he’d be the Aston Vanquish.
If a car costs more than the average price of a home, there should be no shortage of appropriate features. The massive standard-equipment list for the Vanquish includes full-grain Luxmill leather, a comprehensive array of vehicle-stability and driving-aid features, a 1,000-watt Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 13-speaker audio system, navigation, paddle shifters, launch control, carbon-ceramic brakes and even personalized doorsill plaques. Yep; personalized doorsill plaques.
If you can’t tolerate having a “standard” Aston Martin (whatever that is), the Vanquish is available with a mind-bending array of options. There are a huge range of paint choices (including for the brake calipers), carbon-fiber accents, dozens of interior stitching selections, various knob colors, a 4-piece luggage set, an assortment of interior and carpet colors. We’d bet Aston Martin could go for an entire year’s production run and no two would be alike. For those who can consider an Aston, we suggest letting your minds play through the extensive options availabilities and make it your own. Why not?
The 2016 Aston Martin Vanquish is available with one engine and transmission choice: the 5.9- liter V12 with 568 horsepower and a “rear mid-mounted” 8-speed automatic operated with paddle shifters. Helping put the power to the ground is a limited-slip differential and launch control. The engine defines all the attributes of what is expected and required for a car at this level: smooth, responsive, strong beyond the vocabulary to describe it. It’s likely no Vanquish owner will actually see the far side of 200 mph but, rest assured, given enough clear pavement, this thing will do it.
568 horsepower @ 6,650 rpm
465 lb-ft of torque @ 5,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/21 mpg
Aston Martin's flagship Vanquish coupe carries a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) around $292,000, including gas-guzzler tax and destination; the upscale “Carbon” trim level is nearly $307,000. The Volante starts around $310,000, with the Volante Carbon bumping into $325,000. At these prices, if we have any recommendation at all it’s to treat yourself to whatever model or options strike your fancy. There are alternatives for less -- admittedly, not much of a concern for Aston Martin buyers; does another 50 grand, more or less, really matter? -- but, for reference, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Final Edition coupe is about $100,000 less than a Vanquish, Bentley's Continental GT Speed will save you around $60,000 and Audi's R8 V10 is near $178,000. For something that's more exotic yet isn’t offered in convertible form, there's the $327,000 Ferrari F12berlinetta.