2014 Aston Martin Vantage V12 S and Vanquish Volante: Motoramic Drives
Let’s set the record straight on a couple of old saws about Aston Martin, the storied British marque that has been rather explosively blowing out the candles on its 100th birthday cake this year with a wholesale refresh of its entire array of sultry coupes, convertibles, and sedans.
First, we would like to dig a grave for the irksome canard that claims that the Ford Fusion looks just like an Aston. This statement could only be considered true by someone who also claims that a Ford Econoline van with the album art from Meatloaf’s “Bat Out of Hell” airbrushed on its flank resembles precisely Charon’s ferry, or someone has never seen an Aston Martin in the glistering flesh. Even Helen Keller, prior to the working of all of her miracles, could judge the preposterousness of this bootleg off-knocking.
Second, and more pertinent to our enterprise here, is the complaint that “all Aston Martins are the same.” This one has its basis in perceived similarities in styling, powertrain, and nomenclature amongst the brand’s vehicles. But one has only to drive any two of the cars equipped with Aston’s delightful, mellifluous, and newly enhanced 6-liter V-12 (now sporting 565 hp and 457 lb.-ft. of torque) — as we just did with the Vanquish Volante and Vantage V-12 — to recognize their very evident distinctions in mission and character.
Also, when all the cars from a brand look this freaking good, who in their right mind cares if they resemble each other? No rational person makes this complaint about the Hemsworth brothers or the Mara sisters.
We’ll start with the new Vanquish Volante, a name that, in Aston’s oft-confounding V-centric dialect, signifies that it is their top-tier, carbon-skinned, grand tourer, albeit with its pate removed and replaced with retractable fabric. You can pull this roof back at any speed—so long as it’s below 30 m.p.h. But you are better off just slathering your exposed dermal bits in sunscreen, as we did, and leaving it collapsed, taking in the constant rush of effortless, but never overbearing, power, and an exhaust note that is as profundo as it is basso. Sixty mph arrives in just over four seconds, which is a downright sprint. But in the Vanquish, it never feels rushed. Its spirit animal is a peregrine falcon, soaring, diving, and hunting in sleekly rapturous (and ravenous) grace.