There is no hiding that its proportions are almost exactly those of the DB9. The aluminium box-section ‘VH’ platform is now in its fourth (and most changed) iteration for the Aston Martin Vanquish.
Aston has enhanced its muscles and haunches, provided it with a rear-end shape that excuses the need for a spoiler and given it a set of aerodynamic carbonfibre blades. The new tailpipes are beautiful, and so are the carbonfibre side sill extensions. The typically Aston Martin side vents ahead of the front doors are rethought and beautifully expressed. But the turret and window shapes tell you that this is still fundamentally a DB9.
When you approach it to drive, the Vanquish is the most welcoming of cars. The butterfly doors open not just outwards but also upwards, away from any kerb. They’re long but not particularly heavy and will remain open at any angle, aiding access.
Standard equipment doesn't disappoint either, with the Vanquish filled full of leather, numerous chrome touches, parking sensors, cruise control, heated seats, climate control, reversing parking camera and a Cobra tracking system. Popping up out of the dashboard is a 6.5in infotainment system complete with DAB radio, USB connectivity, Bluetooth, sat nav and a Bang & Olufsen stereo system.
The interior of our test car was trimmed in high-quality tan leather, and a glance at the options sheet (£20,000 worth of those) showed why this cabin was so easy on the eye. You pay extra for the One-77 steering wheel, the heavyweight carpet, the herringbone carbonfibre dashboard, the seat and shelf quilting, the carbon paddles, the carbonfibre exterior roof panel and lots more. Outside, you’ve got optional 20-spoke forged 20-inch alloy wheels, with another grand or so spent on red brake disc calipers.
Such inflated prices can easily damage initial good feelings and its cockpit, especially when you notice that, as a customer for this £190k car, you’d be slugged extra for upgrading the alarm with volumetric and tilt sensors. The argument goes buyers of cars like these don’t notice an extra £20k on top of the purchase price, but it makes you wonder what an Aston Martin Vanquish would be like without any options fitted.
As you slide into the elegant, low-set bucket seat, it’s obvious Aston’s engineers have worked hard to provide more room. The fascia still has a prominent centre console, but it looms less than it did in the DBS and carries more design sophistication. The ancillary controls have been refined and simplified into easy-to-use, well labelled buttons.
The door panels have been reshaped to allow more elbow freedom and there’s more footwell room. It’s more driver-friendly and sets a convenience standard that few in the £190k bracket meet.
At the base of a switch panel in the One-77 steering wheel’s vertical spoke are two well-identified buttons, one to adjust the suspension (Normal, Sport and Track) and one for throttle response, exhaust note, gearbox regime and steering effort.
Push the glass key into its central holder to start the engine. It bursts into life with a rather unnecessary, testosterone-driven blip. Select first via the six-speed automatic gearbox’s long-travel fixed paddle on the right and the car burbles smoothly, moving fluently through its gears even if you’re changing at 2500rpm while the engine warms.
This is a consummate demonstration of the refinement of a top-class ‘normal’ automatic, better governed than ever by new-era electronics for even faster gearshifts and quicker paddle responses.