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2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante
If you’d prefer to see the last of the naturally-aspirated V12 drop-tops from one of the world’s most storied sports carmakers sitting in your garage rather than at a museum or classic car auction, hasten to your Aston Martin showroom and order up a Vanquish S Volante.
The limited-production model of this sleek convertible (denoted by “Volante”) enters its second generation (denoted by “S”) with more horsepower, a beefed-up, aerodynamic body, and a new quad exhaust befitting the thunderous engine’s swansong, a note that Aston Martin designers estimate somewhere between “bone-shaker” and “mother of God.” Also available as a coupe, the two-seater Vanquish S descends from the storied line of super GTs favored by James Bond, as the British automaker prepares to forego the old V12 in favor of a new, smaller twin-turbo V12 that’s easier on the fuel tank.
For now, the Vanquish S Volante’s naturally-aspirated 6.0-liter V12 is mated to Aston’s quick-shifting, eight-speed Touchtronic III transmission and good for a more-than-adequate 580 ponies. Sporting a new, exposed carbon fiber front splitter and rear diffuser that adds gravitas to its muscular frame, the rear-wheel drive Volante accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in about 3.5 seconds and tops out at 201 mph If you’re intent on raising or lowering the roof, however, you’ll be able to cruise up to 30 mph while the push-button does the heavy lifting.
Inside is what you’d expect: a panoply of Strathmore enhanced-grain leather, Alcantara, and Bridge of Weir leather that’s been hand-stitched, embroidered, and quilted to exacting standards. Of course, there are modern accoutrements, too: Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, a 1000-watt Bang & Olufsen 13-speaker audio system, and Aston’s AMi III infotainment system with a 6.5-inch LCD screen. For safety, the Vanquish S provides a rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors, useful for pulling out of a narrow castle driveway without scratching against the hedges.
The Vanquish S Volante delivers 13 mpg around town and 21 mpg on the highway, but in this car, who’s counting?
The limited-production 2018 Vanquish S starts at $294,950 as a coupe and $312,950 as a drop-top.
What the experts are saying
Excites the senses
“Nobody needs an Aston Martin, but everyone should want one. The Vanquish S Volante appeals to all the senses. The beautiful proportions draw the eye, the throb of the exhaust note excites the ear, the Bridge of Weir leather pleases the nose, the materials delight the touch, and finally, the fabulous rumbling V12, 6.0-liter engine revs up like a fine, spicy whisky on the tongue that may just make you feel really warm inside. – Rebecca Lindland, executive analyst at Kelley Blue Book
“The important thing about the Vanquish S Volante is that it will be the last ever regular production naturally-aspirated, 12-cylinder Aston Martin. We know this because the DB11 is already on dealer lots, and is packing a potent 5.2-liter, twin-turbo V12. That new turbo’d 12 is the future of the brand. But its past, as evidenced by the Vanquish S’s sweet sounding, higher-revving motor, is still very much worthy of our attention. Especially in convertible form; all the better to hear you with, my dear. Other, non-engine reasons to purchase this Volante begin and end with its looks. Creative chief Marek Reichman’s Vanquish may even look lovelier as a cabriolet (Volante, in Astonease) than it does as a coupe — no easy feat. While the new DB11 is polarizing — I think it’s the bee’s knees in terms of looks. Others feel different — everyone and their mother surely agrees that the Vanquish S is one hot number.” – Jonny Lieberman, senior features editor at Motor Trend
True grand tourer
“This is what Aston Martin does best — big, beautiful GT cars and convertibles. And the Vanquish S Volante is one of the best. Aston has massaged the S’s engine, chassis, and aerodynamics, with the coupe now producing a mammoth 592 horsepower and better throttle response. The V12 loves to rev and with the top down, the chorus is throaty and addictive. Its steering has good weight but is not as responsive as Italian and German rivals while the eight-speed lacks the smooth shifting of competitor’s dual-clutches. In roofless mode, there is some scuttle shake but the overall ride and refinement is that of a masterful grand tourer. Enjoy this mighty V12 engine while you can folks, because they will disappear from showrooms, and yes, in our lifetime.” – Peter Lyon, chairman of the World Car Awards