What's New for 2006
In what is likely the Vanquish's final year, Aston Martin has updated the interior with new switchgear and more standard equipment.
Built at Aston Martin's Newport Pagnell factory, the 2006 V12 Vanquish S is the small British company's flagship. The main body structure of the Vanquish S, including the floor and the front and rear bulkheads, is formed from extruded aluminum sections bonded and riveted around a central carbon-fiber transmission tunnel. Single-piece composite inner-body side sections with carbon-fiber A-pillars are also bonded to the central structure. The result is a coupe with a lightweight, extremely stiff body and chassis.
All of the exterior panels are produced from superformed aluminum, individually tailored and bonded to the body structure by hand. The traditional Aston Martin styling cues are there, such as the trademark grille and side vents. With bulging fenders filled with meaty tires, the V12 Vanquish S looks like it means business. The general effect is much like a bulldog, broad and squat, fitting for a car that hails from jolly old England.
Slipping into this supercar requires no more work than your typical exotic, and once inside, you are treated to a lush combination of leather and aluminum. Alcantara suede lines the roof, while brushed metal surrounds a center stack. In years past, much of the switchgear was chock-full of Jaguar (and even Ford, Aston's corporate parent) switchgear, but Aston Martin has upgraded the instrument panel for 2006 to have more bespoke components.
Priced at about $260,000, the Vanquish S represents a distinct choice for an exotic coupe. Less gregarious than a Lamborghini Murcielago and more sport-oriented than a Bentley Continental GT, it's the quintessential sporting Gran Turismo. Even its normal competition from Ferrari is missing, as the Italian brand is in the midst of changing its flagship sports car from the 575M Maranello to next year's 599 GTB. Yes, one could make the argument to go for Aston's less expensive DB9, as it comes close to matching the Vanquish in performance and style. But we're sure that potential buyers in this segment will find the Vanquish S's status as the ultimate Aston Martin too appealing to pass up. At the top of its game thanks to recent improvements (and likely representing the model's final year of production), the 2006 Aston Martin V12 Vanquish S is sure to be a future classic.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2006 Aston Martin V12 Vanquish S is an exotic sports car. This coupe is available in just one style, although the interior can be configured as a two-seater or with 2+2 seating. Standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels, 255/40ZR tires in front and 285/40ZRs in the rear, automatic xenon HID headlights, a full leather interior, power and heated seats, a surround-sound audio system and a navigation system. Aston Martin also offers optional interior and exterior customizing options at additional cost.
Powertrains and Performance
Under the hood is a 6.0-liter V12 rated at 520 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 425 pound-feet of torque at 5,800 rpm. The clutchless six-speed manual gearbox is controlled through twin paddles mounted on the steering column. Aston Martin says the Vanquish S can accelerate to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds. Top speed is more than 200 mph.
Standard safety equipment includes traction control and antilock disc brakes. Stability control and side or side-curtain airbags aren't available.
Interior Design and Special Features
Buyers have a choice of either a strictly two or 2+2 seating configuration. A deep center console unit separates the driver and front passenger seats and incorporates a red engine starter button, the sound system and the climate control system. The overall interior design is a subtle blend of traditional and modern materials, with supple hide upholstery matched to contemporary metal interior finishes.
While the ride quality could be described as firm, it never feels abusive. The V12 Vanquish S is fully capable of serving daily-driver duty. The traction control system can be switched off, for those who define sliding the rear end of a quarter-million-dollar car as a good time. It's easy to do because of the engine's seemingly infinite midrange power. Roll into the throttle while exiting a corner and it's easy to reorient the car's nose. One minor flaw concerns the sequential shifting manual transmission -- in some instances, shifts can be hesitant or balky.