Aston Martin revives Vanquish name for DBS replacementTue, 19 Jun 2012 00:00:00 -0700
Aston Martin is reviving the Vanquish name for the replacement of the DBS coupe, which will feature a full carbon-fiber body, a 565-hp V12 and a mass of engineering revisions in an effort to eclipse Ferrari's F12 Berlinetta.
The Vanquish name goes back to the beefy, old-school model of 2001. Aston hopes that magic will rub off on its next flagship, a heavily revised version of the DBS made famous by its appearance in the Bond movie Casino Royale.
The supercar will debut in August at Pebble Beach, with a production reveal set for later this year. It won't arrive stateside until early 2013, and the Volante variant is set for 2014.
Based on an update of the DBS's bonded-aluminum underpinnings, the Vanquish adds a complete carbon-fiber chassis structure behind the rear axle, redesigned underbody components and a more muscular-looking body skin, all fashioned from lightweight carbon. The roof panel is also available in a raw carbon finish as an option. Its styling details, such as the boomerang rear lights and the exaggerated body-side Coke bottle outline, are inspired by the limited-run One-77.
The interior gets the latest touch-sensitive switchgear for the center console, revised seats and improved headroom and legroom. Aston estimates the curb weight is down by more than 100 pounds when compared with the outgoing DBS. The engine, muffler and torque tube are each about 20 pounds lighter.
The Vanquish gets a Cosworth-designed 5.9-liter V12, but it is mounted seven inches lower in the chassis and benefits from a significant power increase to 565 hp, and torque increases to 457 lb-ft. Today's DBS is rated at 510 hp and 420 lb-ft. The torque peak is also lower in the band, making power more accessible in everyday driving.
Behind the engine is an acoustic blanket lining the firewall, which is said to significantly reduce cabin noise. That fits in with Aston's description of the Vanquish as a “super grand tourer.”
The Vanquish is still 165 hp shy of the 730-hp sledgehammer Ferrari F12, but Aston is claiming a 0-to-60-mph sprint of about 4.0 seconds, an improvement from the DBS's 4.3-second time. To reach that figure, grip off the line is improved by a launch-control program engaged via a cockpit-mounted button, the first time a series-production Aston has had the traction-enhancing gizmo.
Aston isn't making any claims yet about handling, but the Vanquish will benefit from a lower center of gravity and a 50/50 weight distribution, thanks to a concentration of the main masses between the axles. The redesigned chassis gets 37 percent stiffer hub carriers, and a faster steering rack ought to improve responsiveness through the curves.
Purists won't like the fact that the manual transmission has been dropped, but in reality, the bulk of buyers opted for the six-speed ZF automatic, which continues with a faster shifting program.
Prices are tipped to remain competitive and below the $300,000 barrier, likely close to today's DBS, which comes in at about $285,000, including destination. That will also maintain a gap with the $330,000-plus Ferrari F12.
It has only been about five years since the DBS debuted, but since then the competition has gotten spectacularly stronger. The Vanquish has the right specifications, but is it enough to push the Aston flagship to the top? The verdict will come on the first drive. We can't wait.
By Julian Rendell