Aston Martin is revealing details of a raft of important enhancements to two of the brand's most popular and successful sports cars: the Vanquish ultimate GT and Rapide S four-door, four-seat, sports car.
With the arrival of 15 Model Year (15MY) cars in markets around the world, the luxury British brand is offering not only considerably enhanced performance and much-improved fuel economy and emissions, but also an even more honed, precise and responsive driving experience.
With the debut of the new Touchtronic III eight-speed automatic gearbox in both Vanquish and Rapide S - the first time that this state-of-the-art gearbox has been incorporated into a transaxle layout - Aston Martin is improving every major area of the cars' performance and fuel economy. The brand's engineers have worked meticulously wîth technical partner, ZF, to develop the eight-speed technology and integrate it perfectly into the latest generation of the iconic and much-imitated Aston Martin VH architecture.
The 0-60 mph times for both the Vanquish and Rapide S are reduced in 15MY cars: The Vanquish drops from 4.1 seconds to just 3.6 seconds (3.8 seconds 0-100 km/h) and the Rapide S is capable of the same sprint in only 4.2 seconds (4.4 seconds 0-100 km/h) - also down by a full half second from its previous figure of 4.7 seconds. These impressive gains not only ensure the cars' exceptional competitiveness in their respective sectors, but also confirm Vanquish as the quickest accelerating series production Aston Martin in the company's 101-year history.
Changes to gear and final drive ratios allow the cars to be not only quicker but also more frugal, wîth reduced emissions too. In both sports cars the CO2 figure drops by an average of ten per cent - down to 298 g/km for Vanquish and 300 g/km for Rapide S - while economy is boosted to 31 mpg, on average an 11% improvement, on the EÚ's extra urban cycle for both the Vanquish and the Rapide S under the same stringent test conditions.
Combined wîth a revised final drive, the ratio changes also mean both cars are, for the first time, now capable of top speeds of 200 mph or above.
A reduction in exhaust gas back pressure as a result of ratio adjustment and other changes also benefits peak power, which rises by up to three bhp to a peak of 568 bhp (576 PS) in Vanquish, and two bhp, 552 bhp (560 PS), in Rapide S. Peak torque is up by 10 Nm, too, to 630 Nm at 5,500 rpm in all the cars.
The new eight-speed Touchtronic III automatic gearbox is not only three per cent lighter than its predecessor, it is also packaged more efficiently occupying precisely the same space within the car yet adding two further ratios over the outgoing transmission. (posted on conceptcarz.com)
Touchtronic III delivers exceptional shift speed and moves between ratios as quick as 130 milliseconds - far quicker than even the most accomplished racing driver is capable of - while better gearbox efficiency allows more power and torque to be transmitted to the road more of the time.
Ian Minards, Product Development Director at Aston Martin, explained: 'We have a long and successful technical partnership wîth ZF and so it was a natural step for us to adapt and integrate their world class 8HP transmission in to our transaxle layout. This has been a detailed piece of work involving careful consideration of many technical parameters including gear ratios, software integration and shifting strategies. This has delivered a significant step change in both vehicle performance and economy whilst preserving the unique Aston Martin V12 driving experience.'
Gearbox software changes make for a truly comprehensive selection of available driving features such as 'Drive' and 'Drive Sport' modes along wîth 'Paddle Shift' and 'Paddle Shift Sport' options for more engaging, sporting, shift control.
Optimal, multi-ratio downshifts are available by pulling and holding the down shift paddle, allowing for the car to select the lowest available gear when under braking. Adaptive Drive Recognition (ADR), meanwhile, tailors shift points to the individual driver's style. Thus a more spirited driver in standard 'Drive' mode will rapidly adapt to enjoy a shift map more akin to the settings found in 'Drive Sport'. As the programming is reset during each key cycle - when the car is locked and unlocked - the perceived 'changes' to the car's nature are similarly reset.Engine management upgrade
Away from the gearbox, 15MY Aston Martin Vanquish and Rapide S models benefit from the addition of the latest Bosch Engine Management System. The new system, which delivers more precise engine control and seamlessly communicates wîth the new gearbox, receives its first application in an Aston Martin that combines the AM29 V12 engine and an automatic gearbox.
Meanwhile other electronic and engineering changes have taken place in 15MY cars to deliver a consistent GT character by perfectly aligning the chassis wîth improvements in powertrain performance and accessibility. For instance, a revised torque tube reduces transmission noise transfer into the passenger compartment while revised DSC sees the retuned stability system optimised for the new gearbox. A revised §teering ECÚ delivers an even more crisp and precise §teering response.
Úprated dampers on the new Vanquish - 15% stiffer at the front and a full 35% stiffer at the rear - improve the dynamic characteristic of the car in line wîth its significantly enhanced performance. Rapide S, meanwhile, gets uprated larger front brakes. Both cars also benefit from a retuned brake booster and amended rear suspension bushes that are now 20% stiffer than before.
There are also subtle but important styling enhancements, both inside and outside the cars, that add extra visual appeal for 15MY Vanquish and Rapide S.
Outside there's the arrival of new ten-spoke forged alloy wheel designs, available in a variety of finishes, that not only enhance the cars' looks but save almost seven kilos in weight versus the standard wheel. There are also new paint colour options including, for the first time on Vanquish and Rapide S, the availability of the special paint colour Diavalo Red, previously limited to the breath-taking V12 Zagato.
Inside, the cars get new leather trim colour options including the contemporary blue-black Dark Knight, and bold Fandango Pink. Rapide S also gains the exciting option of a new Duotone leather seat finish in Sahara Tan and Vibrant Red, as well as a range of new headlining options that mix quilting wîth the finest leathers or Alcantara.
Director of Design Marek Reichman explained: 'More bold and dynamic interior and exterior treatments are the perfect offering for customers of the latest models. It is, of course, possible to add more colour to our cars while maintaining Aston Martin's reputation for elegance and beauty, and I'm very happy to see this enhanced and extended colour palette offered to our loyal customers around the world.'Source - Aston Martin
Playing a huge role in returning Aston Martin, a classic British carmaker, to both financial success and technological sophistication, the Vanquish surely delivered. Like any proper Aston Martin, the Vanquish not only had drop-dead gorgeous styling, but also a certain spice with muscular fenders and a wide, squat stance. It is considered to be the most masculine of Aston's classic design. Loosely based on the Virage/V8 platform, the V12 Vanquish instead featured thoroughly modern technology.
Founded in 1913 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford, Aston Martin was originally called Bamford & Martin when the two had joined forces the previous year to sell cars made by Singer from premises in Callow Street, London. At this location they also serviced GWK and Calthorpe vehicles. Martin raced specials at Aston Hill near Aston Clinton and the two men chose to make their own cars.
The first car dubbed Aston Martin was created by Martin by fitting a four-cylinder Coventry-Simplex engine to the chassis of a 1908 Isotta-Fraschini. Martin and Bamford acquired premises at Henniker Place in Kensington and produced their first car in March 1915. Unfortunately production couldn't begin due to the outbreak of World War I. Martin had joined the Admiralty, and Bamford joined the Royal Army Service Corps. All machinery was sold to the Sopwith Aviation Company.
A grand tourer, the Aston Martin Vanquish was designed by Ian Callum and was manufactured by Aston Martin. Introduced in 2001 the Vanquish was Aston Martin's flagship vehicle. Appearing as the official James Bond car in the movie ‘Die Another Day' the Vanquish rose to worldwide recognition. In 2007 the Vanquish was taken out of production. The Aston Martin DBS V12 temporarily replaced it at the top of Aston's lineup, pending the 2010 replacement.
In the wake of a GT concept car, the Project Vantage concept car let to development of the Vanquish. The Vantage concept was introduced with a V-12 engine at the North American International Auto Show in January of 1998. In 2000 the production model was debuted and the series production began in 2001. It wasn't until 2005 that the car received any major updates when the Vanquish S model debuted at the 2004 Paris Auto Show. The S model came with more power, new wheels and slight styling revisions.
The Vanquish Ultimate Edition was introduced to celebrate the end of the Vanquish production run. Aston Martin announced that the final 40 cars built would have a new ‘Ultimate Black' exterior color, personalized sill plaques and upgraded interior. The Ultimate Edition was the first Vanquish available with a conventional stick-shift manual transmission. In July of 2007 production of the Aston Martin Vanquish was ended and coincided with the company's Newport Pagnell factory after 49 years of operation. The final car was the Vanquish S Ultimate Edition in black.
A high-performance coupe, the Aston Martin V12 was produced from 2002 until 2006. The original model was joined by the more powerful S Variant in 2005, and only the S model was available for the final year of production. The V12 Vanquish main body structure included aluminum sections bonded and riveted around a central carbon-fiber transmission tunnel. To keep the weight down Aston utilized carbon fiber A-pillars, all-aluminum suspension and aluminum body panels. Despite all of this, the Vanquish still weighed in at little more than 2 tons.
Designed at Ford Research in the U.S. was the V12 engine in the Vanquish. The Vanquish's V12 engine shares some of the components and design elements with the 3.0 L Duratec 30 V6. The engine even shares the same bore and stroke dimensions and for this reason many people incorrectly dismiss the V12 as just ‘two Duratecs linked together'. It is correct though that the AM V12 shares components with the ‘Duratec' engine design. The standard Vanquish's 6.0-liter V12 produced 460 hp and 400 lb/ft of torque.
The powertrain of the Vanquish was also quite innovative, with a high-performance 6.0-liter V12 engine that first made 460 hp, and later 520. To get that power to the rear wheels there was an automated-clutch, six-speed sequential-shift manual gearbox that utilized F1-style paddle shifters. The V12 Vanquish also came with 19-inch wheels with performance tires, power seats and a 10-speaker in-dash CD changer audio system. Also standard a navigation system, multi-level heated seats and Bluetooth connectivity on the 2006 V12 Vanquish S, as well as the Sports Dynamic suspension, steering and braking package.
The inside of the V12 was finished quite lushly in the best leather hides and offered a nice variety of color options. The center control stack was revised in 2006 to match the current, newer batch of Aston Martin's. Earlier on the Vanquish had borrowed much of its switchgear from the Ford family parts supply. There was quite a substantial amount of room inside the Vanquish when compared to other exotic sports cars and the Vanquish was available with a choice of 2+2 or strictly two-seat interiors.
Only 300 hand-built V12 Vanquish models were produced each year and each model is fully customizable to the customer's requirements.By Jessica Donaldson
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