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

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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.

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Video Review: 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante
The Grandest of Tourers

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That face. Those eyes. Those hips.

I could, of course, be referring to a beautiful woman. I’m not. Instead, I’m closing my eyes and picturing a beautiful car. It’s the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante, and it’s $300,000 worth of proof that art doesn’t need to be stationary.

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First Drive: 2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S [Video]

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I’m a massive fan of the Aston Martin V12 Vantage. That car is a wild mash-up of littlest Aston meeting the automaker’s largest engine, and it’s paired with a manual gearbox to boot. Now though, the automaker has come to market with a new version of the car. It’s called the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S, and it boasts more power, a higher top speed, and can run from 0-60 miles per hour in under four seconds.

There’s a problem though… the manual gearbox is gone. Is this actually a problem though? I trekked to the Palm Beach International Raceway to find out.

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First Drive: 2014 Aston Martin Rapide S
Shapely Sedan Gets Sportier Moves

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There’s no denying that Aston Martin is in the business of making cars look and sound like wonderful, mechanical works of art. These aren’t things people buy simply to satisfy a basic craving. A desire enters the mind, and it must be satiated. This desire can start down in your brain, your heart, or in the pit of your stomach. Ultimately though, it will take over your entire being. This is what I imagine it’s like to put an Aston Martin-branded machine into ones garage.

When one thinks of Aston Martin, they no doubt think of the glorious V12 engines. There’s the fantastic bodywork to behold, and the aural notes that fill blissful ears for miles. Still, one most likely thinks of coupes when the automaker’s name is brought up. The long line of Vantage and DB variants are the supreme beings on planet Gaydon… but there exists another creature that’s trying to break from the pack, without losing sight of where it comes from.

I’m talking about the four-door Rapide sedan, which has been refreshed for the new model year. It gets a delightfully little “S” badge tacked onto the end of its name. What exactly does that mean?

Everything.

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Video Review: Aston Martin Vanquish
Is it the best Aston ever assembled?

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I got a taste of the new Aston Martin Vanquish during a sopping wet day on a racetrack outside of New Orleans. The car was impressive but my time with the Brit-bred brute was far too brief. I needed more time. I needed to more deeply sample the new seats. I needed time to experience the revised center stack with its haptic-feedback buttons. Most importantly though, I needed time to get more closely acquainted with the 565-horsepower 6.0-liter V12 engine mounted under the sultry carbon fiber nose of this grandest of tourers.

I got more time…

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First Drive: 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish [w/video]

The king returns to subjugate Bond’s aging ride

Every single time, it’s an experience. An event. A high-point in the day, week, month, or even the year, and I’m doing it again.

I grab the sapphire and steel Emotion Control Unit, slide it into its home in the center of the dash, and allow the 6.0-liter V12 engine to roar to life. This time, however, I’m doing so with Gaydon’s newest flagship stunner. You see, the Vanquish name has returned to take its rightful place near the top of the Aston Martin throne. Sure, the hyper-exotic One-77 and uber-rate Zagato stand above it, but those  are Gods biding their time on Earth, while the Vanquish is a mortal king ready to reclaim its rule from the outgoing DBS.

This isn’t the Vanquish of old, however, because the old dog has arrived with a slew of new tricks. Is it enough to make James Bond-himself hand over the keys to his DBS? Let’s forget about Fleming’s fictional man for a moment, because it’s not his turn… it’s mine.

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Video Review: 2012 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster

Everyone remembers Pink Floyd, people still listen to Led Zepplin, and the Beatles are most likely making more money now than they did when they were touring. Those bands are legendary because the catalog of music they’ve presented continues to resonate with folks of all ages. Sometimes, however, a band can be remembered for one or two songs. That means this group of musicians will often be forgotten as the days pass by.

Occasionally this can happen to automobiles, especially those in a segment shopped by folks with fancy watches and fancier savings accounts.

If the Porsche 911 could be considered the Led Zepplin of the exotic or high-end sports car group, then perhaps the Audi R8 could be looked upon a representative from Pink Floyd. But don’t forget about Eric Burdon and the Animals… otherwise known as the 2012 Aston Martin V8 Vantage. The English singer/songwriter turned the House of the Rising Sun into his best-known hit, despite the fact that it’s a much older song. Aston Martin didn’t write the blueprints for creating a V8, yet the automaker produces its own dulcet tones from the 4.7-liter V8 engine snuggled under the hood of the V8 Vantage.

That engine note has been the ruin of many a small boy… and God, I know… I’m one.

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Review – 2012 Aston Martin Virage Volante

The first time I heard Kurt Cobain unleash his wailing voice was in 1991. I was 11, and the sound went straight through my ear canal before igniting the synapses in my brain. My very being was rewired, and my life became a few shades more colorful. Prior to Nevermind, I listened to music, but from the time I first picked up that blue cassette with its money-grubbing baby dong on the cover, I began to let music wash over my entire soul.

Sometimes in life, you have experiences that bump you around on the path you’re traveling. I didn’t really care that much about music before Nirvana, now I hate not having something on in the background. My own path was altered a little bit all those years ago in 1991.

It’s 2012 now, and something new has come along to change the way I view the world. I’ve never been much of a fan of convertibles. Sure, I love T-Tops, targas, and sunroofs, but I still want something over my head. My point of view, however, has just changed thanks to the 2012 Aston Martin Virage Volante. This car isn’t “slightly nicer” to drive with the top down, it needs to be driven that way.

Hit the button, stow the roof, and press the gas. I’m not scared, light my candles in my gaze… because I’ve found God.

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Review: 2011 Aston Martin Rapide

The Pink Floyd Sound came to be in the mid 1960s. A mish-mosh of folks from Sigma 6, The Spectrum Five, and the Tea Set (as well as a bunch more band names in between) came together over a love of blues and rock and roll, to revolutionize the world. They didn’t know they were doing so at the time, but Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, and Richard Wright formed the basis for one of the most amazing bands in history.

Syd Barrett had his issues, and the band had their issues with Syd. That opened the door for David Gilmour, and the Pink Floyd Sound was honed into the shining prism of space rock that transformed multiple generations of music fans.

Music fans grow up.

That doesn’t mean, however, that their tastes need to change… they can instead evolve. Listen to a few tracks from The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and then listen to The Wall. You’re hearing albums that are vastly different, yet you’re also hearing the heart and soul of Pink Floyd blasting forth from your speakers.

The band is a product of the United Kingdom, just like a certain automaker from Gaydon. Aston Martin formed a lot earlier than Pink Floyd, but it’s product lineup has remained true to a singular ideal over the years. It’s also evolved.

Case in point is the 2011 Aston Martin Rapide, a four-door exotic sedan that boasts seductive curves, an exclusive price tag, and the sort of sounds that assault the senses.

Caution… a lunatic is on the path.

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