Aston Martin Vanquish
6.0 V12 Coupe 2 dr, £164000
The Vanquish is about as far removed from the lumbering dinosaurs that preceded it as you could possibly imagine. Cutting edge build techniques utilising bonded aluminium and carbon composites create a stiff and light platform into which Aston installs its 12-cylinder masterpiece. The engine, like any supercar, is central to the experience, that 460bhp V12 not failing to excite, with prodigious performance allied to a characterful soundtrack. It needs to be powerful too, for despite all the clever 'lightweight' technology in its build, the Vanquish weighs in at a heavyweight 1,835kg. It delivers a knockout punch though, the Aston able to sprint to 60mph in 4.4 seconds, and onto a 190mph maximum.
Inside the craftsman-finished interior is sullied by parts raided from the Jaguar parts bin. For £158,000 we'd prefer a more bespoke cabin, though you're unlikely to pay much attention to the inside when on the move. Grip is incredible, the steering reacting faithfully to driver inputs. The paddle-shift clutchless manual is relatively easy to operate, and can be used as an automatic if you're feeling lazy too. However, the clutch seems to suffer under full-bore acceleration or slow manoeuvring. Docile around town, beautiful to look at, and with tremendous ability if you push hard, the Vanquish has everything you could possibly want from a supercar.
+Styling, engine noise, awesome performance
-We can't afford one, interior detailing, longevity of the clutch...
One of the best things about Aston Martin's Vanquish is the roar of the awesome V12 - and soon drivers will be able to enjoy it even more.
The model will be unveiled in the metal at March's Geneva Motor Show, making it the first of a new crop of V12 convertibles, ahead of drop-top versions of Lamborghini's Murciélago and the Pagani Zonda.
The Vanquish is the third product of the ongoing joint venture between Aston and Zagato, the famous Italian styling house that penned the legendary DB4. Previously we saw the DB7 Zagato, which was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in 2002, and the DB American Roadster 1 - DB AR1 - which appeared at last year's Los Angeles event.
As the mag's pictures show, the Vanquish's most significant changes have been made at the rear, where the coupé's large light clusters have given way to more elegant round lamps. However, the muscular shape remains, complemented by the striking addition of twin bulges behind the driver and passenger seats.
Unlike the AR1, which did without any weather protection, the Vanquish Roadster will come with a folding fabric soft-top as well as a rigid, removable hard-top. As with the standard Coupé, it will be powered by an awesome 6.0-litre V12 producing 460bhp and 556Nm of torque. That will give a 0-60mph time of around five seconds and a top speed approaching 200mph. Extensive engineering work will also go into maintaining the car's rigidity, so that the Vanquish's accomplished handling isn't compromised.
While it'll be a limited edition, Aston is cagey about how many will be made. Both the DB7 Zagato and DB AR1 had runs of only 99, leaving many potential buyers disappointed. At £160,000, the DB7 Zagato was £56,250 more than the standard version - so the Vanquish Roadster may cost in excess of £200,000.