Base Price: $288,950
Performance: 0 to 60 mph: 3.6 seconds, 201 mph max speed
The Vanquish is basically the DB9 turned up to 11. The 5.9-liter V-12 has 28 more horsepower (for a total of 568), the body is carbon fiber, the transmission is a ZF eight-speed automatic instead of the six-speed, and the car is outfitted with a host of extra features. It is odd, however, that Aston Martin uses a Garmin navigation system. The small screen and cartoonish graphics look out of place in such an expensive car.
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All those changes make it the best Aston Martin to drive. The eight-speed is more responsive than the six-speed, though it still doesn’t hold low gears as long as the Porsche and BMW dual-clutch transmissions when they are set to Sport Plus mode. Aston Martin says that is part of the driving experience, though. The engine is never on boil at high rpms, and the power doesn’t punch you in the gut despite 12 willing cylinders. Instead, the power builds, yielding a feeling of thrust, which the British appear to think is more elegant than getting knocked back into your seat. The V-12 is also one of the best sounding engines on the market, emitting a howl that will make onlookers think there’s a race car in the area.
From behind the wheel, you can start to see why this car costs close to $300,000. The interior is built by hand, not robots like most mainstream brands. The materials are of the highest quality, too, with soft leather, carbon fiber, and aluminum. Aston Martin says over a million stitches go into the interior of each Vanquish. It also features the squared off steering wheel from the ultra-exclusive One 77. Some find it odd, but I think it's cool.
Wider stickier tires are also part of the package. These Pirelli P Zeroes have a sticker compound than the P Zeroes on the DB9 GT and they are 10 mm wider front and rear, giving the Vanquish more grip through corners and from a stop. That added grip, teamed with the extra rigidity of the carbon fiber body, makes the Vanquish the best Aston Martin to drive on a racetrack. The additional equipment, long wheelbase, and adaptive dampers also make it the best everyday driver.