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.
In its new double variable valve timing form, power climbs from 510bhp in the DBS to 568bhp, while 457lb ft of torque is available at 5500rpm. And this in a car 60kg lighter than recent iterations, at 1739kg, ready to go. Small wonder that the top speed is 183mph and the 0-62mph sprint occupies 4.1sec. Its claimed average economy is a reasonable 19.6mpg, but its emissions are a significant 335g/km of CO2.
Driving the Aston Martin is easy, but far from trivial. It’s potent and feels special, but also very intuitive. You sit low, sighting down the long bonnet, and when you squeeze the accelerator or move a paddle, you get exactly what you’re expecting.
Hundreds of hours of refinement have gone into this car, and you feel their result in every single driver movement, from a sudden application of full throttle (you get a rapid response from gearbox and engine, whereas others in this bracket take ‘thinking time’) to a gentle halt (you, the driver, decide how much the nose will dive and how quickly it will recover).
It feels fast, if not quite as explosive as the pricier Ferrari F12, the Aston’s nearest rival. The Vanquish is precision itself on an ultra-smooth road, where despite its size, you can understeer or oversteer it at will in corners up to about 60mph.