The 12-cylinder engine in the 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish seems like a waste as we creep through traffic in metro Detroit, but the carbon-fiber bodywork is certainly being put to good use. Other drivers give us thumbs-up as they idle past on Southfield Road, showing their appreciation for this Skyfall Silver piece of rolling art. What we appreciate more than the beautiful design, though, is the silken shifts from the new eight-speed automatic transmission. A familiar ZF unit used by nearly every luxury automaker, the eight-speed slips between gears with far more smoothness than the six-speed automatic in last year’s Vanquish.
With the addition of two more gears, the Aston Martin Vanquish’s 0-to-62-mph times fall from 4.1 seconds to just 3.8 seconds. As a welcome bonus, the new transmission improves highway fuel economy by 2 mpg. But if you think buyers will notice the savings on fuel, take a second look at the as-tested price.
Finally, we escape stop-and-go purgatory and join the highway, where we can click the left paddle down a few gears and fully exercise the hand-built 5.9-liter engine. The engine trumpets, the tachometer spins counter-clockwise, and the Vanquish pulls with a steadfast determination that makes us want to pin the right pedal until we attain the car’s 201 mph maximum velocity. We relent, but note how happy the Vanquish feels barreling along the left lane of a freeway. The 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish is a grand tourer of the finest caliber, lapping up miles with ease.
And what ease. Driver and passenger feast their eyes on hand-stitched leather, carbon-fiber trim, and knurled metal controls, while treating their ears to the 1,000-watt, 13-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system (though we’d rather listen to the noise out of those fat quad exhausts). Should a slower motorist impede your journey, blasting past them barely stresses the big V-12, especially given how easily the new automatic transmission dips into lower gears.
There was practically nothing we disliked about last year’s Aston Martin Vanquish, so it comes as no surprise we’re enamored with a slightly quicker, slightly more efficient, slightly smoother-shifting version. Time to start buying lotto tickets so we can afford one of our own.
2015 Aston Martin Vanquish Specifications
- Base Price: $287,820
- Price as tested: $306,695
- Engine: 5.9-liter DOHC 48-valve V-12/568 hp @ 6,650 rpm, 465 lb-ft @ 5,500 rpm
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Layout: 2-door, 2- or 4-passenger, front-engine, RWD coupe
- EPA Mileage: 13/21/16 mpg (city/highway/combined)
- L x W x H: 186.1 x 75.2 x 50.9 in
- Wheelbase: 107.9 in
- Weight: 3,834 lb
- 0 to 62 mph: 3.8 sec
- Top Speed: 201 mph