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First Drive: 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish & Rapide S
Finally putting the super in these super cars

Yes, both the Aston Martin Vanquish and Rapide S are gorgeous machines. They make great noise, and they’re fun to drive. That’s actually a bit of a problem though, the fact I just said “fun” and not amazing, outstanding, or excellent.

Aston Martin knows this.

The automaker has just revised the cars for 2015, and you won’t find the changes on the outside (minus a new color or two and some wheel changes). Instead, the revisions have occurred under the skin in the form of a new eight-speed ZF gearbox, revised suspension geometry, a modified rear subframe, and fatter anti-roll bars. Ast0n Martin has also extended the range between settings of the adaptive damping suspension system so that you can clearly feel the difference between each of the three. Additionally, the front brakes are larger and the braking boost has been adjusted.

Have these changes paid off? Oh yes.

2015 Aston Martin Vanquish-17

As every other vehicle in its competitive set marches on, Aston Martin has been a bit slow to roll out equally competitive upgrades. It’s hard to do that when you produce just 70,000 cars per… well, ever actually. In its 101-year history, that’s the total production count for the entire existence of the automaker. What I’m saying is that Aston Martin is a small, bespoke purveyor of automobiles.

Still, what it does produce is damn near automotive art by way of experiences of the eye and ear variety.

The 6.0-liter V12 still sounds amazing, and the body lines still work well, especially on the Vanquish. Thanks to the 2015 model year changes, however, the total experience is pushed further along the path towards super-car-dom. Turn-in is far sharper, the engine growl is the same as it was, 0-60 mile per hour times have been cut by half a second, and the top speed for each car is now over 200 miles per hour. The Rapide S will make the 60 blast in 4.2 seconds, while the Vanquish can do it in just 3.6 seconds. At the top end, the Rapide S actually gets the high-speed honors with a vMax of 203 miles per hour. It bests the Vanquish by a mile or two thanks to its more slippery bodywork.

If you really care about such a thing on such cars, the fuel economy has also been improved a bit as well. On the highway, each machine should hit at least 21-22 miles per gallon.

Putting each car through its paces revealed that Aston Martin pays attention to its machines, its customers, and what it needs to make its own cars better. We have to assume that things should only get better as AMG comes into the fold as a technical partner. Still, Aston Martin have assured us that the lettering on the top of the intake manifold will always read ASTON MARTIN, the sound produced will be distinct and familiar, and the bodywork will always move your very heart.

Old meeting new sounds like it’s only going to get better from here on out.

[Disclaimer: Aston Martin flew me to England and Scotland to drive the Rapide S and the Vanquish. I slept in a damned castle. Additionally, I toured the Gaydon (new stuff) and Newport Pagnell (old stuff) facilities and will be sharing more about that soon. There are three robots at the factory… and one of them tried to kill me.]

  • GTXcellent
  • Now I want an Aston. Damn you, Glucker!!!

  • FЯeeMan

    70,000 cars in 101 years? That's like… not very many.

  • Dean Bigglesworth

    Are you trying to tell me something, Jeff? I haven't shaved in so long that women have actually stopped telling me to shave it off…. now they just want to braid it.

  • Going by the logic that if I really wanted the Best Sports Car Ever, a ~60k Atom or high-end Se7en would shame cars several multiples of that, I find Astons to be classiest, best grand tourer cars around.

    They're my Rich Guy Car over any other high-priced machine.