One sure-fire way of telling whether a new car is any good is by judging how well it has moved to cover its predecessors’ shortcomings. By this measure, the new Aston Martin Vanquish is a terrific piece of work.
Without chucking out any of the marque’s best bits, or blurring any of its distinguishing features, Aston Martin has produced a new model which deals firmly with the “issues” that always emerge as a new car moves through its life - dealing with new pedestrian protection law, finding a clean exhaust solution for the venerable V12 (via variable valve timing), progressing the bonded aluminium monocoque chassis Astons started using 10 years ago, and expressing Aston’s well-known styling features with new emphasis so as to give the car a fresh look and stance.
This last achievement banishes, at least for now, the too-frequent comment made about the DB9, DBS and Vantage, that they look so similar on the road that it’s hard to tell them apart.
It is accompanied by a new interior look that banishes the somewhat naïve “looming dash” design which has lingered since the days of the first DB9.
The success of the new Vanquish goes two other things. It shows the value to Aston’s progress (besides generating a handy £100 million cash-flow) of building the low-volume One-77, which has set Aston styling off in a new direction without frightening any horses.
It also disappoints us on one count: the choice of a name. Aston Martin could have called this new creation Vulcan, Venom, Valiant or Vampire, wholly increasing market curiosity in the new product. The fact that it didn’t do so is no disaster, and leaves several perfectly good “handles” free for next time.