Some people are fans of the Aston Martin Vanquish. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Aston Martin Vanquish. This 2014 tongue-in-cheek car "review" is for those in the latter group.
This is part of an ongoing series of articles I will be writing using the formula laid out by Drew Magary on Deadspin.
Your Car: Aston Martin Vanquish
Your 2015 Model Year Vital Stats: 568 Horsepower. Two doors. Eight-speeds. You still can't press [R] for rocket launcher. Top Speed of 201 miles per hour. Walther PPK not included.
Your Engine: Aston Martin AM29 6.0l V12.
The Vanquish has a 60 degree dual overhead cam twelve cylinder engine displacing six liters. Does that sound fancy enough for you? The Aston Martin marketing department would like you think it does, but it's not. This engine started out in life as what was essentially two mid-2000's Ford Taurus V6's placed end to end. Aston has since managed to squeeze 568 horses out of this Cosworth co-developed mill for 2015; up from 400 when first launched. I can only imagine this engine's development cycle is as follows:
The lead engine designer at Cosworth went to the pub for lunch, had a few too many pints then staggered back to the shop and welded two Duratec V6 engine blocks together and
drunkenlyproudly announced to his team "Who needs fancy things that we usually do like turbochargers and direct injection, when we've got the power of two mediocre mid-sized American sedans under the bonnet" he then belched epically as only a Midlander can, and passed out cold, slumped over his new creation. Somehow they still thought this was a winning design and in the morning when he came to, the design team at Aston did not protest when he ordered this 6.0l human-centipede of an engine into production.
Through the years Aston has made improvements to the engine, but try as it might this engine's plebeian roots have always been nipping at its heels. Two family sedan V6's doth not a supercar engine make.
Your Aesthetics Recipe: In a Martini glass mix two still beating Taurus hearts, one jigger of trust-fund dandy, a splash of Kate Upton for body and color, Garnish with two olives and a twist of Volvo door lock switch. Remember, Stirred not shaken you pretentious ass.
What's new that sucks: Well they still haven't mounted .50 cal machine guns behind the headlights and installed an ejector seat for a start, something absolutely inexcusable for a $300,000 car in my opinion. Instead what they have done is removed weight from the Vanquish and its VH platform in the form of more carbon fiber and advanced material. Aston has also added a Touchtronic III transmission that actually complies when you instruct it to shift via flappy paddle, instead of waiting until after tea is served like the old one. The new transmission is actually a ZF 8 speed slushbox, don't let the Aston branding and marketing department fool you. Since inception the Vanquish has been a never-ending cycle of improvement and special edition models. It's little things for each one, like six more horsepower here and three kilogram weight savings there; on top of that meaningless incremental improvement Aston's engineers have spent some time bombing around the Nurburgring attempting to make this a real Ferrari competitor, it never was and still isn't.
There has never been any real landmark change within the car, only slow and steady evolution. At this point I think it's a toss-up between Porsche and Aston for who has the laziest design team, sure the 911 still looks like a microwaved Volkswagen beetle, and sure each new generation of the 911 looks exactly the same as the last while Porsche promise that every panel is brand new, but Aston Martin has now made five cars entirely indistinguishable from each other to a passerby: The DBS, Vanquish, DB9, Virage and Vantage. At least Porsche built an SUV to let us know they could do something else besides meaningless variants of the 911. Of course however, the sight of an exposed compound fracture is more pleasing to the eye than a Cayenne.
What has always sucked: If there's one thing that has ruined not just the Vanquish, but the entire Aston Martin line it was using these cars in the new James Bond films. In Goldfinger, the DB5 that Sean Connery's Bond drives was produced only for two years, only a tick over 1000 cars were produced. Whereas the modern range of Aston cars haven't seen a major update since the V12 Vanquish was initially launched in 2001. Since 2001 more than 6000 Aston Martin DBS, DB9, Virage, Vantage and Vanquish have been produced. In many ways, that makes the modern Aston line a bit the long in the tooth, played out; the Roger Moore of the group compared to the timeless and exclusive cool of the DB5, the Sean Connery of the Astons.
All of this history means when you see an Aston in traffic, you expect some suave, debonair, playboy spy (or femme fatale) behind the wheel. However when you catch them at the stop light reality ruins the fantasy. They'll have a receding hairline and a soggy midsection, wearing a windbreaker and gaudy watch that costs more than most people's houses. In reality the people who buy these cars are just the upper crust equivalent of Trans-Am owners trying to channel Burt Reynolds as the Bandit. In every onlooker's eyes it will always be James Bond's ride so when you park at the local Walgreens to purchase your teeth whitening strips and Rogaine you're ruining the illusion.
It's a carefully crafted illusion as well, when looking at the lines of the car, the restrained utterly luxurious interior and listening to the exhaust note; you can't help but feel the Vanquish is like fancy charity art gala, it has all the elements for a great time: beautiful people, intelligence, booze, culture, art, money, and power. But if you've ever been to a fancy charity art gala you'd realize that even though all the components of a good time are there, it's missing something. Something like a couple guys with mullets doing keg stands, a debutante heiress getting drunk on Colt .45 or a politician smoking dope with the artists in the back of the studio. What has always sucked about the Vanquish, is that it takes itself too seriously to the point of snobbery. It tries live up to the reputation of James Bond when it should be trying to be a bit more Johnny English.
What might not suck: AMG-Mercedes is going to start supplying engines to Aston. Those Germans can make on hell of a fine motor when they want to, great beer as well. Hopefully the new AMG sourced power plant will be like the V12 used in the Pagani Zonda, equal length headers and all. Mostly likely however, it will be a tuned version of their twin turbo V8s. Who'd of thought it would take the Germans to get the stiff ass Brits to have a little fun for a change. With a new engine also comes the possibility of a new platform. While I feel this is less likely given the time and money to develop a bespoke platform, not to mention the time spent attempting to perfect the existing platform, it is unlikely, but something we can all hope for. It's easy to criticize Aston for making five cars that look exactly the same, hell I just did. That is of course until you look at each one from every angle and then you realize that it is impossible to find a view point which does not flatter this epically pretty design. That's kind of like criticizing a mother for birthing identical quintuplets who all grow up to be supermodels.
Share your opinions in the Comment Section Below. Remember, this is all in good fun.
Travis - King of Spun Bearings is not a king, author, journalist or even a part-time fanfic writer. Instead he spends his days driving his classic Chevrolet across SE-Michigan and his quiet nights at home drinking cheap whiskey and listening to St. Paul and the Broken Bones. Occasionally he has a valid idea or opinion which he feels must be shared on the internet. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
EDIT: Picture fixed, they really do all look the same.