If you’re the kind of person who likes their drinks shaken, not stirred, then you probably also have a penchant for racy numbers… and GT cars made in Warwickshire.
When the MotorGeeks team told me I would be testing an Aston Martin, I was naturally ecstatic. Not only have I always loved the brand and what it stands for, but I also saw that it was the V12 Vanquish S, which is a car I have wanted to drive since I first saw the old Vanquish in the Bond film Die Another Day.
Between that film’s release date and now, the Vanquish name was shelved to make way for the DB9-based DBS. But with this car, which you can pretty much consider a hardcore and sporty DB9 in a fancy new dress, the Vanquish name is back. And even though the DB9 has been retired in favour of the all-new DB11, the Vanquish is still alive and well – and hugely desirable.
That’s especially true of this, the Vanquish S, which offers more power and excitement than the standard Vanquish. How much extra power, you ask? Well, just in case you thought the 568 bhp produced by the standard Vanquish isn’t enough, the Vanquish S produces a thumping 592bhp and arguably better distribution of the 465lb ft of torque that the has car has available.
Pitched as a 2+2, you probably don’t need me to tell you those backseats are absolutely pointless if you’re an adult human with legs and a head. However, I found to my joy that the backseats are absolutely perfect for my six-year-old daughter, who insists that we buy this car ASAP. Suffice it to say her mum had a different opinion, delicately reminding me that my salary (and body) aren’t quite that of Daniel Craig’s, and even if I did get a company car budget, it probably wouldn’t stretch to the AED 1.3 million required to buy the Vanquish S.
A pity, because the Vanquish S lived up to all my expectations. It looks like a sleek, powerful GT car and it absolutely is. It’s not all things to all men but it’s suave and refined at low speeds, and violent and angry when you gun it.
After about 30 minutes of driving, I realised that Aston Martin had moved the ‘Sport’ button to the steering wheel, and activating that changed everything! The exhaust note at 3,000 rpm is absolutely divine; there really is nothing that sounds and feels like a V12 Aston Martin. When you start to really push the Vanquish, the car turns from luxurious to violent, but the change is so rewarding that you’re persuaded to push the car harder and harder.
Should you buy the Vanquish S versus a standard Vanquish? I’d say yes. The S feels like you have more power throughout the rev range, making it more fun to drive all the time. The skittish backend provides a level of excitement only otherwise felt in mid- and rear-engine supercars. It provides near-supercar performance but it also gives you backseats and a boot that can easily fit a week’s shopping in. I didn’t try to fit golf clubs in the trunk, but it may well be possible.
I loved my 72 hours with the Vanquish S and I hope it lives on for many years to come. There’s just one problem with it: The infotainment system is now starting to feel dated, and it comes off as a little bit sad. The screen really doesn’t look like it should be fitted to a AED 1.3 million car and the dials urgently need an upgrade.
However, if you can look past all that, and I can, you should buy the car. You will absolutely feel like James Bond, and the theatre and performance of that stunning V12 engine will never let you down.