What's New for 2014
The 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish returns after a five-year absence, replacing the DBS as Aston's flagship sports car.
When it comes to ultra-high-performance cars, great performance is often accompanied by great sacrifice. On specifications alone -- a 565-horsepower V12, a lightweight carbon-fiber body, near-perfect weight distribution and, yes, a stratospheric price -- one would expect the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish to compromise plenty of comfort and refinement in the name of performance.
Like the original Vanquish last seen in 2006, this latest Aston Martin flagship exudes sophistication that is as agreeable as it is exhilarating. The new Vanquish may not beat other high-priced exotics head to head, but not every wealthy driver desires total road supremacy. We doubt reasonable owners will mind the supercar gap and will instead simply luxuriate in the Vanquish's full sensory treats.
The Vanquish isn't radically new, but Aston Martin has updated just about every aspect compared to the DBS. Its seductive shape owes largely to its construction and body panels made from carbon fiber. The underlying structure mixes bonded aluminum and more carbon fiber, and curb weight is about 3,800 pounds. Motivation still comes from a V12, but various tweaks have increased power by about 55 hp.
But as with most Aston Martins, the overall experience transcends the specs and numbers. The Vanquish is a feast for the eyes, with seductive lines tracing its aggressive shape. The V12 delights the ears and the cabin exudes an intoxicating scent from the numerous premium leather surfaces that are also a pleasure to touch. This is automotive craftsmanship at its best.
If you're shopping this class of car, you're no doubt aware of your choices. We have yet to sample the delights of the 2013 Ferrari F12, but if the past is any indication, the new Ferrari will impress. There's also its Italian V12 counterpart, the outlandish 2013 Lamborghini Aventador. But for design sophistication and refinement, the Vanquish indeed stands triumphant.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish is a two-seat high-performance coupe offered in one very well-appointed trim level.
Standard features include 20-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, LED accent lights, power-folding and heated mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive dampers, keyless remote entry, cruise control, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a faux-suede headliner, power-adjustable heated front seats with memory functions, glass-faced switchgear, a 6.5-inch information screen, a Garmin-based navigation system, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, mobile WiFi (via a 3G phone connection) and a 13-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system with iPod/USB connectivity and satellite radio.
Buyers can also opt for various wheel styles and add carbon-fiber exterior elements (roof, mirrors, side strakes and door handles), two rear seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated and ventilated front seats, a faux-suede-trimmed steering wheel, carbon-fiber or glossy interior trim and a six-CD changer. Along with an extensive color palette for the exterior and interior, customization is available through "Q by Aston Martin."
Powertrains and Performance
At the heart of the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish is a front midmounted 6.0-liter V12 that produces 565 hp and 457 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission with column-mounted shift paddles.
In Edmunds.com testing, the Vanquish accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, about a full second slower than its McLaren or Lamborghini competition.
Standard safety features on the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish include antilock carbon-ceramic disc brakes, stability and traction control, side curtain airbags, pelvis and thorax side seat airbags, front and rear parking sensors and a rearview camera.
In Edmunds brake testing, the Vanquish stopped from 60 mph in 105 feet, about what we'd expect from a high-performance coupe.
Interior Design and Special Features
Opening the lightweight door accesses an inspiring cabin bathed in exquisite leather that's delicately stitched together. Simply starting the car offers some ceremony, as you slide the crystal-trimmed "key" fob into the center of the dash and trigger an evocative ignition sequence. Controls are well-placed in a glass-faced center stack that utilizes sensors underneath the printed control symbols, while a subtle haptic feedback system simulates button feel and acknowledges commands.
On closer inspection, however, a few less desirable elements temper the initial splendor. The pop-up information screen is cheap even by entry-level luxury car standards and some switchgear is lifted directly from Volvo. Some switches and knobs are downright flimsy, prone to fall off in your hand as was the case in our Vanquish test car. The infotainment menus, however, are relatively easy to navigate via a central knob controller.
Unlike most exotics or supercars, the Vanquish actually has usable trunk space that accommodates up to 13 cubic feet of cargo. In the U.S., there is additional space on a parcel shelf behind the front seats. Buyers can replace the shelf with two seats, but we'd caution against subjecting any humans to those tight confines.
If you're familiar with the typical supercar's compromises in comfort and refinement, the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish's luxury and sophistication will surprise. It may not equal the performance numbers of other supercars, but its wide range makes it a fantastic grand tourer. The ride quality is entirely agreeable, and we wouldn't hesitate to take it on an extended road trip.
Acceleration is impressive, though not as terrifying as similar supercars. In full automatic mode, the transmission shifts smoothly, but more spirited drivers will probably use the manual mode with the column-mounted paddle shifters to keep the revs high. This is especially likely if you've engaged the wheel-mounted Sport button, which clears the baffles for a truly inspiring snarl, howl and growl from the exhaust.
The Vanquish also features Normal, Sport and Track settings for the adaptive suspension, and there's enough of a difference among these modes to suit most driving tastes. We found, however, that minor midcorner bumps upset the rear wheels regardless of mode. Fortunately, the stability control interrupts the action very briefly and doesn't demand any additional driver intervention.