2010 Aston Martin One-77 Concept
2010 Aston Martin One-77 Concept
2010 Aston Martin One-77 Concept
2010 Aston Martin One-77 Concept
2010 Aston Martin One-77 Concept
2009 Aston Martin LMP1
2009 Aston Martin LMP1
2009 Aston Martin LMP1
2009 Aston Martin LMP1
Aston's current Le Mans cars use a Lola-derived chassis powered by a 6.0-litre V12 originally developed for the DBR9 GT1 racer. The twelve-cylinder mill won't be eligible under 2011 Le Mans rules, however, so Aston Martin Racing needs a new powerplant.
Rather than using bought-in engine tech, however, Richards has revealed to US car mag Auto Week that Aston Martin Racing is hard at work developing an all-new bespoke racing engine - and that the chassis around it will also be a fully in-house Aston Martin design.
Aston could take the new car and engine racing next year, but the team feels that the 2010 Le Mans rules - set in stone late last month - still favour diesels over petrols, and Aston won't be producing a diesel-powered racer (thank goodness).
"We are far enough down the road with the design that we could have done it for next year if the petrol-diesel equivalence had been sensible" Team principal George Howard-Chappell told Auto Week. "That is clearly not the case."Richards also said that he was keen for Aston Martin Racing to stop working on a year-to-year basis and concentrate instead on three-year campaigns. That could mean that there will be no works Astons at Le Mans next year, while the team concentrates on its 2011 car, although this year's Lola-Aston coupes could end up racing in private hands.
Hoons stole an Aston Martin Vantage worth about $300,000 and took it for a joyride around Perth.
If the devil is in the details, he has found himself incredibly busy in the English Midlands of late; specifically in the environs of Gaydon in Warwickshire, the new home of Aston Martin. As founding father, Lionel Martin, considered manufacturing a sports car replica of his successful racecar, he announced that it would handle like a Bugatti and be finished like a Rolls Royce. Thus the performance, style and attention to detail that is Aston Martin nearly a century later, remains a legacy of the founder.
The second half of Mr. Martins edict has been raised to a level of accomplishment to embarrass the original target. The quality of leathers, alignment and location of stitching, fit and finish of interior components and panels, and invisible but certainly not least important, the structural material that supports the occupants, all illustrate the level of attention paid to time on the road. This last is worthy of comment. In some European makes, the control of the human participant becomes so restrictive that bolster bruises are a predictable result of a long drive. Interior designers at Aston Martin have created a structural foam that creates a firm support during moments of automotive entertainment while offering luxurious accommodations during the remaining 97 percent of the journey. All interior components are manufactured in the Gaydon facility. Ones hands can only come in contact with leather, wood (hand-finished single piece components, there are no veneers think fine furniture) and satin- or bright-finished aluminum. Only the crystal block officially called an ECU (Emotion Control Unit) masquerading as the starting key, is made by a fine jeweler in London. It too is what it seems to be. Even the telepathic steering wheel is carefully sheathed in matching leather and stitched together in the interior department at the works. The upholstery shop alone is worth a visit.
While the DB9s 700-watt Premium Audio System with Dolby Pro Logic II produces remarkable quality sound, for 2010 the option list will include Bang & Olufsens complex integrated acoustic system developed for the DBS. It includes B&Os proprietary Acoustic Lens Technology that produces 180 of horizontal dispersion of high frequencies and a complete interior structure created for elimination of irrelevant sound and augmentation of the electronic output. It gives the listeners an improved sense of space, staging and realism anywhere in the car. Not to overlook the relevance of that sweet V12 voice when the system is switched off.
There is nothing annoying or obnoxious about the sound of the DB9 at full song either. There is a sweetness to the output of its DOHC 6-liter V12. Its volume increases as a direct proportion to its activity, but its 470 horsepower is delivered at 6,000 rpm without irritation. And with its sudden arrival in the second of six gear ratio choices comes 60 mph in less than 5 seconds from a standing start. All six of those gears are in a mid-mounted transaxle that creates the optimum 50/50 dynamic balance and sites 85 percent of the vehicles mass between the axles. The drive train delivers its 443 lb-ft of torque to 275/35 ZR Bridgestone Potenza-mounted 9.5 x 19-inch rear wheels with anti-dive and anti-squat geometry by aluminum double wishbone suspension. At the front are more aluminum double wishbones to secure anti-dive geometry for the 8.5 x 19-inch wheels carrying 235/40 ZR Bridgestones. To rein in all that acceleration, Aston has included ventilated and grooved steel discs at all four corners, with 355mm diameter at the front and 330mm at the rear. Four-piston monobloc calipers are radial-mounted for all four discs. All of that power and grip is controlled by Servotronic; a speed-sensitive, power-assisted, rack and pinion steering system. The result of all this dynamic precision is a large, comfortable 2 + 2 with the performance and sensitivity of a super sports car.
After two successive years of GT1 victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in 2009 the Aston Martin V12 took fourth overall and effectively won the Petrol Class as the first gasoline-powered LMP1 car across the finish. In his post-Le Mans comments Dr Ulrich Bez, Chief Executive Officer of Aston Martin, reminded us, In the same month that we launch the new V12 Vantage and DBS Volante, it is fitting that the same 6.0-litre V12 heart powers our LMP1 cars to such an outstanding Le Mans debut. I am thrilled for the whole team.
Your ever-diligent scribe was offered the opportunity to drive the 2009 DB9 across France in both directions; from Le Mans to Alsace and back to the Channel ferry for an additional run into the English midlands to visit both Aston facilities; Newport Pagnell, where it all began and Gaydon, where the new age is being created. The interior appointments were exactly as they will be in the 2010 edition. After hours on the road at a varying range of speeds and conditions, the cars spacious interior was much appreciated. Even at the drivers busiest nothing interferes with elbows, foot space, or vision. And at the Auto Route limit of 120 km/h for a couple of fuel-tank-range segments, I actually bettered the suggested fuel consumption of 17 mpg on the highway. The suggested city mpg is 11 and I doubt that I could have exceeded that, because the sweet song of the V12 was too tempting to hear in higher rev ranges, even briefly.
My recent drive in California reinforced my first impressions. The Aston Martin DB9 is a remarkable touring sports car that offers breathtaking potential with a high degree of luxury and civility for the journey and the satisfying attention of beautiful design upon arrival.
As the 007 Aston Martin Racing Lola-Aston Martin crossed the finish line in today’s Autosport 1000km it secured the Le Mans Series title and ended a great season for the team, this also marked 50 years since Aston Martin won the World Sports Car Championship.
Team Principal, George Howard-Chappell was a very happy man after the race saying “This is a perfect end to what has been an incredible season for Aston Martin Racing. Full credit to the team and drivers who have worked tirelessly. Thanks to the dedication of the team the cars have been reliable all year.”
“We have received an amazing welcome at every round of the series from Barcelona where we notched up our first win, to Spa where the 007 crew started from the back to finish on the podium. Portugal was a tough race for our car but again we achieved a podium finish and then Nürburgring was a dream race with all three Aston Martins finishing on the podium. To end the season on the podium at our home race where the support for the team has been fantastic is really the icing on the cake and I would like to thank all of our partners and sponsors for their support throughout the year.”
Aston Martin Chairman, David Richards added “It’s fantastic that 50 years on from Aston Martin winning the World Sports Car Championship Aston Martin Racing has triumphed again, winning the Le Mans Series. It really is an impressive result and I am extremely proud of the whole team.”
The title winning drivers of Jan Charouz, Tomas Enge and Mucke were understandably delighted with the outcome of the day and the result of the hard work they have put in over the year.
“Amazing!” said Jan Charouz. “It’s a very good feeling. We have worked hard all season and then it finally happened today and we won the championship. We had a conservative strategy and at one point it didn’t look like we would finish on the podium but we managed to finish third which was a great achievement as the opposition were very strong.”
Tomas Enge praised the efforts from the team and the excellent performance of the car over the year, “We have been on the podium at every race and that is a credit to the team and the reliability of the car. The car running without problems and the drivers not making any mistakes was the key to winning the championship and I am very proud to have played my part in this victory for the team and for Aston Martin.”
There are some cars that look good, and then there are a few cars that look downright gorgeous. Astons fall into the latter category (except for the DB9 Volante). This Vantage coupe with its DBR9 racing green paint job is hard to miss--not for being an over-the-top, outlandish-styled car like a Lambo, but because it's just so beautiful. A long hood line, the Aston front end and slopping roof all mesh together seamlessly.
But what's style without performance to back it up? Well, the Vantage has plenty of that. The chassis is probably one of the stiffest ones you will find on the market with all the bracing running under the hood, in the cabin and in the trunk (which cuts into storage space). It doesn't make for the most pleasant ride around town, but if you have some open and curvy roads in front of you, there is nothing better.
Steering is direct with lots of feedback, quick response and good weight. You have the utmost confidence in this car when you take on a bend with the gobs of grip. With traction aids deactivated, throttle-induced oversteer is easily done.
Power from the V8 builds nicely to redline, and the exhaust note is addicting to listen to. You'll be hard-pressed not to snap down a couple of gears to hear the engine churn at full song. Bolted to the engine in our test car is Aston's automated manual transmission, which is neither the best paddle-shift gearbox we've sampled nor the worst. In fully automatic mode, it'll jerk you around some, which made me opt to manually select the gears. Smooth shifts require lifting of the throttle before snapping the paddle back, and the higher up in the rev range you do it, the smoother it is. As always, I suggest going with the standard manual transmission.
As expected, the interior is also very appealing with its leather-covered surfaces and large, accent stitching throughout. The seats are firm and comfortable but could benefit with some deeper side bolsters. Besides that, I found the Vantage to possess one of the most comfortable driving positions that I've come across in a while.
I do believe that the dream garage of mine just had another spot filled--and it's for one of these.
2009 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Coupe
In Fleet: July 10-17
As-Tested Price: $141,015
Drivetrain: 4.7-liter V8; RWD, six-speed automated manual
Output: 420 hp @ 7,300 rpm, 346 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm
Curb Weight: 3,595 lb
Fuel Economy: (EPA/AW) 15/15.2 mpg
Options: Sports pack with five-spoke wheels ($3,785); satellite navigation ($2,655); DBR9 racing green exterior paint ($1,895); premium audio ($1,595); HID headlamps with wash and leveling ($795); Bluetooth ($750); front parking sensors ($450); black brake calipers ($450); heated front seats ($450); cruise control ($450); powerfold mirror assembly ($450); memory seats and mirrors ($450); high-spec alarm ($295); garage-door opener, auto dim ($295); battery conditioner ($150
Aston Martin DBS Volante makes its debut at the 2009 Geneva Auto Salon. Completing the Aston Martin DBS line-up, the new Volante will afford customers the combination of the DBS's already-established benchmark sports car characteristics with all the thrills of open-air motoring.
Broadening the DBS's character, the Aston Martin DBS Volante will appeal to drivers who wish to combine the excitement of driving a finely-tuned sports car with the invigorating feeling of being open to the elements. This juxtaposition of ultimate performance and openness stirs the senses on any drive whether an exhilarating jaunt on favoured roads or cruising on lengthy journeys. 'Volante', meaning 'moving with light rapidity', perfectly defines the performance potential and the dynamic characteristics of the Aston Martin DBS Volante.
Featuring a motorised retractable fabric roof, the DBS's beautiful profile is preserved whether up or down. When the roof is closed, it provides a warm comfortable ambience and when open, it neatly disappears behind the new tonneau cover at the touch of a button.
Aston Martin's Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ulrich Bez said: "The Aston Martin DBS Volante delivers the utmost relaxed driving experience with the hood up or down. It combines engineering excellence with design perfection.
"The Aston Martin DBS Volante offers a subtle mix of power and performance. Adding to this, the fine craftsmanship - it is an unparalleled ownership and driving experience."
Conceived as a Volante from the outset, Aston Martin engineers opted for a fabric hood to closely follow the silhouette of the DBS coupe and due to its lightweight properties, minimise overall weight gain. Fully retractable in only 14 seconds and at up to speeds of 30 mph (48 km/h), the roof will automatically stow under the newly sculpted tonneau, maintaining the Aston Martin DBS Volante's perfect form - hood up or down.
Power is provided by Aston Martin's hand-built all alloy 6.0-litre V12 engine producing 510 bhp (380 kW / 517 PS), and 570 Nm (420 lb ft) of torque with a top speed of 191 mph (307 km/h) and 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) time of 4.3 seconds. The nature of the V12, and in particular the torque available at all engine speeds, serves to provide effortless driving in all situations.
Aston Martin's 16th convertible in 95 years, the Aston Martin DBS Volante draws on the marque's extensive experience in designing iconic 'Volantes' and is a 2+2 featuring two occasional rear seats, ideal for young people or extra luggage. In standard specification, the DBS has a rear-mounted six-speed manual gearbox, while an automatic six-speed 'Touchtronic' option is also available. As with the coupe, the Volante is offered with carbon ceramic brakes as standard providing exceptional stopping power. Benefitting from materials derived from the motorsport and aerospace industries, the bonnet, front wings and boot lid are made from carbon fibre all helping to reduce weight.
The Aston Martin DBS Volante also comes with Bang & Olufsen's renowned 'BeoSound DBS' in-car entertainment system, featuring 13 speakers as standard equipment. The BeoSound DBS has been expertly tuned by Bang & Olufsen's Tonmeisters and Aston Martin's acoustic engineers specifically for the Volante resulting in a system that senses when the roof has been retracted and adjusts the sound stage to compensate for extra wind noise, providing an unrivalled automotive audio experience.
Although the DBS was originally conceived as a two-seater sports GT, the potential for a Volante version was always in the minds of the design team. Holding a purposeful stance, the muscular shapes and forms of the DBS have been retained exuding confidence.
Aston Martin's 16th convertible, learning taken from the engineering of previous soft-top cars has resulted in the Aston Martin DBS Volante possessing Aston Martin's quietest and most refined roof system to date. When raised, the fabric roof is insulated with a layer of Thinsulate® material relieving cabin noise and protecting the inhabitants from the elements. The hydraulic pump has been cocooned in a noise and vibration enclosure reducing noise when raising and lowering the hood.
The newly choreographed hood has resulted in an opening time of only 14 seconds due to a new five-piston hydraulic pump. The roof effortlessly stows below the newly-sculpted tonneau cover which has been redesigned to enhance the muscular attributes of the Aston Martin DBS Volante. Housing the Roll-Over-Protection-System (ROPS) which deploys two roll bars in the event of the car rolling over, the rear humps lead your eye to the new carbon fibre deck lid which has been re-styled for the Aston Martin DBS Volante. Particular to the DBS, a line flows from the leading edge of the bonnet past the elegantly sloped windscreen flowing into the carbon fibre deck lid and to the rear boot 'flip'.
As with the DBS Coupe, the bonnet, front wings and boot lid are formed from carbon fibre. Preventing the weave protruding the paint finish, Aston Martin employs a patented 'surface veil' technology applying a 200 micron thick layer of epoxy glue to the carbon fibre, before the application of seven layers of paint producing a class A level of finish.
The interior of the DBS represents the epitome of Aston Martin's commitment to using materials honestly, without disguise or embellishment. Lightweight materials are used throughout to save weight; door pulls are made from carbon fibre, for example, and the carpet has been woven with lighter fibres to save valuable kilograms.
The Volante features 2+2 seating as standard. The beautifully leather trimmed rear seats are ideal for younger persons or extra luggage making the Aston Martin DBS Volante a practical everyday sports car.
Delivered as standard with Bang & Olufsen's BeoSound DBS audio system and seamlessly integrated into the Aston Martin DBS Volante's bespoke interior, the system provides the driver and passengers with an unrivalled audio experience. Consisting of 13 individual speakers and Bang & Olufsen's unique Digital Signal Processing system, the system transforms the Aston Martin DBS Volante into an acoustically sophisticated venue, capable of conveying subtle and striking musical dynamics from every source. The BeoSound DBS has been specifically revised for the Aston Martin DBS Volante and senses when the roof is up or retracted and adjusts the sound stage to compensate for wind noise and change in acoustics.
The Bang & Olufsen BeoSound DBS system has been developed exclusively for Aston Martin. The system is acoustically and physically matched to the Aston Martin DBS Volante, with a design that follows the inherent quality and material honesty of the Aston Martin interior. The loudspeaker grilles are finished with smoothly contoured aluminium so as to integrate seamlessly with the fluid lines and curves of the cabin. When the system is turned on, the twin acoustic lens speakers emerge silently and swiftly, adding a touch of theatre and technological panache that is the perfect complement to the Aston Martin DBS Volante.
As with the coupe, the Volante affords customers the prospect of specifying the optional 10-spoke 20" forged aluminium lightweight wheel with diamond-turned surface - available in either silver or graphite finishes. With an overall unsprung mass reduction of 8 kg, the option aids enhanced handling, improved acceleration, and braking performance.
The need for high-performance stability, handling ability and low kerb weight defined the DBS's form and construction. The Aston Martin DBS Volante is powered by the same 6.0-litre V12 engine at the heart of the DBS which was launched in 2007. Producing 510 bhp (517 PS / 380 kW), peak power is delivered at 6500 rpm and the 570 Nm (420 lb ft) of torque is delivered at 5750 rpm. Tractable at any time, the DBS possesses a 'flat' torque curve providing 85% of the torque from 1500 rpm.
The 3.71:1 (manual) and 3.46:1 (Touchtronic) final drive ratio assures that all the Aston Martin DBS Volante's power is useable, while also enhancing in-gear acceleration.
Adding to the sonorous V12 enhances the aural soundtrack. Special by-pass valves in the exhaust allow a quieter exhaust note at low speeds; at 4000 rpm these open to reduce the pressure in the exhaust system, raising the power output as well as generating a rousing aural accompaniment.
The Aston Martin DBS Volante is available as standard with a rear-mounted 6-speed manual gearbox with gear ratios optimised to extract the very best from the 6.0-litre engine. Providing customers with even greater personalisation capabilities, a 'Touchtronic' 6- speed automatic featuring a torque converter is also available as an option.
Derived from the same ZF transaxle unit that was developed for the Aston Martin DB9, the system has been substantially re-engineered to accommodate the power and performance characteristics of the DBS.
System functionality is consistent with that on the DB9, with 'Park', 'Reverse', 'Neutral' and 'Drive' modes selected via facia mounted controls.
When in 'Drive' mode, pulling either of the leather-trimmed magnesium alloy paddles mounted on the steering column will activate Touchtronic mode, enabling the driver to control gear shifts via the paddles. Touchtronic mode is also accessible directly on engine start-up. Alternatively, the 'Drive' mode can be selected at any time by pressing the 'D' control on the centre console, engaging a fully automatic mode which will select the most appropriate gear for the speed and driving conditions automatically.
The system also includes a 'Sport' mode - activated by a button on the centre console - which engages a more aggressive gear shift strategy as gear changes feel sharper and more forceful, engine speed matching on downshifts is more aggressive and in full automatic mode, upshifts occur at higher speeds. The Sport setting also incorporates a more responsive throttle map to match the high-performance characteristics of the Aston Martin DBS Volante.
Contributing to the class-leading levels of rigidity, the VH-platform (Vertical - Horizontal) upon which all Aston Martins are founded, ensures a dynamically accomplished convertible translating into an exciting and communicative chassis. The VH architecture is a bonded aluminium structure that provides outstanding strength and rigidity. In comparison to its coupe sibling, the Volante retains 75% of the rigidity equating to 20kNm per degree. This has been achieved by rigidly mounting the rear sub frame and optimising the front and rear shear panels. Working together these components contribute to more than 20% of the total torsional rigidity.
Augmenting the Aston Martin DBS Volante's supreme handling characteristics is the near perfect weight distribution - achieved by mounting the 6-speed gearbox at the rear placing 85% of the weight between the front and rear axle.
To take full advantage of its extremely precise and rigid platform, the DBS employs a sophisticated Adaptive Damping System (ADS) which is specifically tuned for the Aston Martin DBS Volante maximising ride comfort. It uses two separate valves to set the dampers to five different positions, allowing instant adjustment of the car's ride and handling characteristics. The ADS automatically alters the suspension settings to ensure the driver has high levels of control at all times, with the ability to respond instantly to different driving conditions. The dampers can be 'softer', with a corresponding improvement in ride quality, or 'firm', providing improved body control for more spirited driving.
The damper settings are determined by an electronic control unit which takes sensor readings from the car's systems, including throttle position, brake position, steering wheel rotation and vehicle speed. This data establishes the prevailing driving conditions and the demands the driver is making on the car.
The Aston Martin DBS Volante's Adaptive Damping System perfectly captures the car's sporting character, ensuring that stiffer dampers are available for better handling and control when the car is being driven enthusiastically, without compromising ride comfort during 'normal' driving conditions. A designated 'Track' mode automatically sets all dampers to their firmest positions, making it ideal for circuit driving. The DBS Volante is fitted with Pirelli P-Zero tyres that have been developed especially for the car.
The Aston Martin DBS Volante also has a revised Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system specifically tuned to the Volante to help maintain maximum traction in challenging driving conditions. In default operation, the DSC is automatically on. Select and press the button for two seconds and DSC 'Track' mode is engaged, raising the threshold at which the system intervenes to allow the experienced driver to explore the car's limits. Hold the button for four seconds and DSC is disengaged entirely.
Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) brakes are featured as standard. Providing shorter stopping distances with excellent resistance to fade in even the most demanding driving conditions, the CCM brakes are some 12.5 kg lighter than a conventional system. This results in reducing the overall weight of the car and, in particular, the unsprung weight and rotational masses, further enhancing the Aston Martin DBS Volante's dynamics.
The 2010 Aston Martin V-12 Vantage is the perfect example of what springs from the deepest urge felt by enthusiastic automotive engineers: stuff the biggest engine into the smallest possible body. Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez, by all accounts, is truly an enthusiastic automotive engineer.
Proof? At Porsche, he spearheaded the 989 project, a four-door which still looks so right that the company won't let the prototypes come near the Panamera. Moving to BMW, he created the cultish Z1 roadster. He finally took the ultimate position at Aston Martin in 2000.
A Hot Rod for the Old Country
And so Dr. Bez could not leave his smallest child, the stunningly beautiful, compact, and neatly packaged V-8 Vantage, alone. He wondered whether the 5.9-liter V-12 that powers the elegant DB9 and the more aggressive DBS would fit in the car’s engine bay. It was nearly a given, since the V-8 Vantage is based on the "VH" platform that also forms the foundation of the DB9 and DBS, but the smaller car was never really designed to hold the massive, Cologne-built V-12 engine.
You can see now that the transplant was successful, albeit after extensively revising the V-8 Vantage’s front structure. Nevertheless, Aston Martin managed to achieve a near-perfect 51/49-percent front-to-rear weight balance. The extra mass of the engine, an additional 200 pounds or so, is partly offset by carbon-ceramic brakes and lighter wheels, as well as lighter seats and rear quarter panels. The total weight of the V-12 Vantage, at around 3700 pounds, is only about 100 pounds more than the V-8 Vantage.
This extra weight is effortlessly neutralized by the V-12's 510 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, available at 6500 rpm and 5750 rpm, respectively. The engine is tuned the same as in the larger DBS and thus catapults this relatively tiny coupe into a completely different league. We peddled a DBS to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds—a time identical to the one posted by the V-8 Vantage. Aston says the sprint from 0 to 62 mph takes 4.2 seconds in the V-12 Vantage, so we expect it would become the fastest Aston ever were we to test it—well, the fastest until the One-77 goes on sale. Top speed is now 190 mph, up from 180 for the V-8. However, what really makes the difference is the incredible agility and responsiveness of the engine.
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door coupe
BASE PRICE (
ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 48-valve V-12, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
Displacement: 362 cu in, 5935cc
Power (SAE net): 510 bhp @ 6500 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 420 lb-ft @ 5750 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
Wheelbase: 107.9 in Length: 172.5 in Width: 73.5 in Height: 49.0 in
Curb weight (mfr’s est): 3704 lb
PERFORMANCE (MFR’S EST):
Zero to 62 mph: 4.2 sec
Top speed (redline limited): 190 mph
FUEL ECONOMY (MFR’S EST):
European combined cycle: 14 mpg
The V-12 Vantage charges forward with brutal force inconceivable in the V-8, or even in the DB9 and DBS. Those two bigger and heavier models dilute the raw punch provided by this powerhouse. Too, the combination of the Vantage’s lower seating position, more compact dimensions, firmer suspension, and louder exhaust add a massive dose of excitement. Unlike other Astons, the V-12 Vantage gives you a very comfortable power margin to take on pretty much any Porsche 911, and have the occasional BMW M3 as a snack.
Torque is plentifully available across the rev band and the engine’s soundtrack is pure music. The power is transmitted to the rear wheels by means of a smooth-shifting six-speed manual transmission, still the best solution for a sports car targeting real enthusiasts. The automated manual transmission available in the other Aston Martin models isn't even offered here.
The first sighting of Aston Martin’s hotly anticipated Rapide—the company’s first four-door since the quirky, boxy Lagonda—was on neither public roads nor an auto-show stand but rather sliding around on a frozen lake somewhere in Scandinavia. Our hardy and presumably well-insulated spy photographers somehow found it and its creators having a pretty dandy time testing its capabilities in slippery conditions.
Virtually undisguised save for some tape around the head- and taillamps, this prototype appears to be little changed from the saucy Rapide concept that took our breath away at the 2006 New York auto show (the prototype is practically the same color, even).
That car was essentially a DB9 with an extra foot between the axles to make room for the additional doors and more capacious rear-seating area, along with some special show-car touches such as a glass roof and glitzy lights that don’t appear to be making it to production.
What we do see, however, are what appear to be the same gorgeous 20-inch wheels found on the new DBS, a hatch-style tailgate, and some absolutely flawless proportions bound to make the upcoming Porsche Panamera look like a rolling cucumber by comparison.
The Rapide concept was powered by the same 480-hp V-12 found under the hood of the DB9, but we expect the production Rapide to have upward of 500 ponies. We also expect the price to be astronomical when it bows next year as a 2010 model