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Hot Car - The Aston Martin Vanquish V12 S

Rafay Ansar

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The fastest production model ever to be built by Aston Martin made its world debut at the Paris Motor Show on September 23, 2004. With a maximum speed in excess of 200mph (321km/h) and a 6.0 litre V12 engine developing 520 horsepower, the Vanquish S has been designed to deliver even greater performance, complemented by subtle suspension and steering changes and a number of interior and external style revisions.

Rather than relying on some form of supercharging—and there is not much room under the Vanquish hood—the Aston V-12 has been developed in the old-fashioned way. It’s gotten a higher compression ratio, new cylinder heads with subtly reshaped combustion chambers and fully machined inlet ports, new forged connecting rods, a revised injection system, and a remapped electronic control unit. It revs higher than it did (maximum power is at 7000 rpm), allowing shorter overall gearing but still achieving a claimed top speed of more than 200 mph. The Vanquish we tested in 2001 hit 60 in 4.4 seconds and 100 in 10.3, and it’s likely the S will improve on those times by a couple of 10ths.

Starting the Vanquish is still a nice piece of theater: Switch on the ignition, wait for the check lights to clear, press the brake, select neutral by pulling on both steering-wheel paddles, then press the central starter button, and—whuummff! The deep thrumming exhaust note, which returns beyond 4000 rpm, is wonderfully exciting. The electrohydraulic gearshift—basically, the same as Ferrari’s—changes down smartly, blipping the throttle automatically, but upshifts can feel hesitant. The S is clearly more eager in the midrange and goes very fast indeed on a wide open road but, oddly, feels less fierce than the original Vanquish.

In the flesh a Vanquish is an impressive sight, the squat body giving it a purposeful, almost menacing, expression. But big on the outside does not translate to big on the inside. The front seats are more comfortable than a Ferrari’s and more luxurious than a Porsche’s but headroom is limited. Boot space is also restricted.

This car was also the official 007 car for the movie Die Another Day. Pierce Brosnan owns one Vanquish V12 S. “The Vanquish S V12 is a combination of state-of-the-art aerospace technology and hand craftsmanship,” and “It is the flagship model of a confident and growing company that is proud to display its heritage but is also determined to make the most technologically modern and inspirational sports cars in the world”, says a car expert.

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2- or 2+2-passenger, 2-door coupe

BASE PRICE: $255,000

ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 48-valve V-12, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
Displacement: 362 cu in, 5935cc
Power (SAE net): 520 bhp @ 7000 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 426 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual with automated shifting and clutch

Wheelbase: 105.9 in
Length: 183.7 in Width: 75.7 in Height: 51.9 in
Curb weight: 4150 lb

Zero to 60 mph: 4.2 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 10.1 sec
Standing 1/4-mile: 12.6 sec @ 115 mph


EPA city driving: 11 mpg
EPA highway driving: 18 mpg
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