Sabtu, 07 Juni 2008



By Simona

The V12 Vantage RS concept is based on Aston Martin’s critically acclaimed V8 Vantage coupe, but the company’s design and engineering team have fully exploited the design flexibility of their unique VH architecture and the motor sport development of their 6.0 litre V12 engine to create a dramatic and production feasible concept car focussed on extreme performance and dynamics.

In a speech to the assembled guests, Ulrich Bez said: “Over the last five years, we have established a reputation for presenting fully functional, feasible concept cars, and the V12 Vantage RS is no exception. We will listen with interest to feedback on this concept and, as ever, if there is sufficient demand then we will seriously consider a low volume production run in the near future with a price that will reflect the exclusivity of the car.

“With our dedicated production facilities, our own engine plant, our own unique vehicle architecture and now a dedicated design studio, we have the ideal framework to bring new models such as this to market and to further establish Aston Martin as the ultimate independent luxury sports car company.”

Although the 600bhp power output of the V12 Vantage RS concept will be the focus of attention, just as significant is the level of weight reduction achieved by Aston Martin’s engineering team. With a kerb weight of less than 1600kg, the RS concept underlines Aston Martin’s continued commitment to intelligent use of materials and weight reduction as a means of achieving improved efficiency and performance. In common with the recently launched DBS, the bonnet and trunk lid are moulded in carbon fibre and the concept also adopts motor sport-inspired carbon ceramic brake discs.

The subtly aggressive exterior appearance is driven by function. The dramatic bonnet louvres extract air from the fully ducted cooling pack and the trunk lid features a deployable spoiler that rises automatically at high speeds to increase rear down force. The front bumper features cooling ducts for the carbon ceramic brakes and a carbon fibre splitter to balance down force.

Director of Design, Marek Reichman, commented: “Much of Aston Martin’s recent success has come from the ability of our designers and engineers to work hand-in-hand to optimise form and function. Our new dedicated design centre will take this process to a new level and I am delighted that the V12 Vantage RS is the first car to stand on the turntable in the studio.”

The 600bhp 6.0 litre engine featured in the V12 Vantage RS concept has benefited directly from the race development of this acclaimed power unit. It features a dry sump lubrication system, tuned length exhaust manifolds, forged pistons and steel con-rods, revised lift and duration camshafts and modified cylinder heads. Peak power is achieved at 6250rpm and peak torque of 690Nm is at 5000rpm.

Director of Design, Marek Reichman, commented: “Much of Aston Martin’s recent success has come from the ability of our designers and engineers to work hand-in-hand to optimise form and function. Our new dedicated design centre will take this process to a new level and I am delighted that the V12 Vantage RS is the first car to stand on the turntable in the studio.”

The 600bhp 6.0 litre engine featured in the V12 Vantage RS concept has benefited directly from the race development of this acclaimed power unit. It features a dry sump lubrication system, tuned length exhaust manifolds, forged pistons and steel con-rods, revised lift and duration camshafts and modified cylinder heads. Peak power is achieved at 6250rpm and peak torque of 690Nm is at 5000rpm.


by Matthew de Paula,

The V12 Vanquish S ceases production after 2006 to make way for a new top dog.
With the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish S ceasing production at the end of 2006, the 2008 DBS will become the top-performing and most extreme road-going Aston Martin available.

Company execs describe the DBS as a thinly veiled race car adapted for the street. It looks like a DB9 on steroids, with added scoops, strakes and bulging fenders. Technical details hadn’t been released as of publication time, but company officials confirmed that the car's performance and handling capabilities will exceed that of the DB9 on which it's based.

Aston Martin gave a sneak peek of the DBS and the fothcmoing V8 Vantage Roadster at a private event in October for 300 guests, including Aston Martin owners, prospective clients and dealers. was among the few members of the media on hand to snap some photographs (see inset image with links to photo gallery).

The DBS on display at the event was featured in the latest 007 film Casino Royale and was decked out with special spy gadgets, such as a glove box with a cut-out for Bond's Walther pistol and various special switches sprinkled throughout the central control panel.

The production version of the DBS should come out in late 2007 but won’t get the Bond gadgets. Aston Martin design diretor Marek Reichman said that the new DBS is a good match for the latest Bond actor. “Daniel Craig brings a sort of masculine quality to the role,” Martin Reichman said. “The new DBS has the same feel — it’s a muscle-bound man in a fitted tuxedo.”

Did You Know ...

The new DBS’ otherworldly stability posed some problems for the Casino Royale stunt team, according to an insider who writes about it on a blog at the movie’s official website. The DBS was supposed to hit a ramp, get airborne and do several rolls in midair. But the car’s low center of gravity thwarted the team’s efforts.

To solve the problem, an air cannon was devised by the special-effects team and mounted behind the driver’s seat. When triggered, a cylinder struck the ground and caused the intended effect so well that the DBS broke a Guinness world record by rolling seven times in the air before crashing to a halt.


The Aston Martin V12 Vanquish played a huge role in returning this classic British carmaker to both financial success and technological sophistication. Of course, any good Aston Martin has to have drop-dead gorgeous styling, and the Vanquish does not disappoint. But on top of classic Aston design cues such as the unique grille shape and low hood line, it added a shot of bravado that included muscular fenders and a wide, squat stance. It is certainly the most masculine of Aston's classic designs.

Although loosely based on the Virage/V8 platform, the now out-of-production Aston Martin V12 Vanquish featured thoroughly modern technology. The main body structure included aluminum sections bonded and riveted around a central carbon-fiber transmission tunnel. Carbon fiber A-pillars, all-aluminum suspension and aluminum body panels served to keep weight down, although the Vanquish still weighed in at a little more than 2 tons.

The powertrain was equally cutting-edge, with a high-performance 6.0-liter V12 engine that first made 460 horsepower, and later 520. Tasked with getting that power to the rear wheels was an automated-clutch, six-speed sequential-shift manual gearbox utilizing F1-style paddle shifters.

The Vanquish showed that Aston Martin was no longer just a quaint British carmaker with its best days behind it. Best of all, it maintained Aston's historical penchant for creating achingly beautiful automobiles -- when it arrived as a 2002 model, the Vanquish rivaled Halle Berry for attention when it appeared in the James Bond film Die Another Day.

Unlike that cinematic stinker, arguably a low point in a storied franchise, the Vanquish established a new, highly successful direction for Aston Martin. Although it gracefully bowed out after the 2006 model year as the company's flagship, the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish is no doubt a classic in the making.

Most Recent Aston Martin V12 Vanquish

The Aston Martin V12 Vanquish was a high-performance coupe produced from 2002-'06. The initial model was joined by a more-powerful Vanquish S variant in 2005, and only the S model was available for the final year of production.

The standard Vanquish's 6.0-liter V12 pumped out 460 hp and 400 pound-feet of torque, while the Vanquish S increased the machismo to 520 hp and 425 lb-ft of torque. The Vanquish S could leap from zero to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds and had a top speed of 200 mph, making it the fastest production Aston Martin ever made.

In terms of equipment, the V12 Vanquish came with an F1-style automated-clutch manual transmission, 19-inch wheels with performance tires, power seats and a 10-speaker in-dash CD changer audio system that constantly battled with the rumbling exhaust for acoustic supremacy. A navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity and multilevel heated seats were standard equipment on the 2006 V12 Vanquish S, as were the Sports Dynamic suspension, steering and braking package.

The V12 Vanquish's interior was finely finished in the best leather hides and offered a customizable selection of color options. In 2006, the center control stack was revised to match the current, newer crop of Aston Martins. Previously, the Vanquish borrowed most of its switchgear from the Ford family parts bin -- especially Jaguar, which is never a good sign for ergonomics. The Vanquish was available with a choice of 2+2 or strictly two-seat interiors, and there was a decent amount of room compared to other exotic sports cars.

In a road test of the standard Vanquish we were, well, vanquished by its seductive V12 power and low-frequency exhaust rumble. The word "awesome" was thrown about a number of times. The ride was stiff but never abusive, while the monster 19-inch tires did a great job of gluing the rear-drive Aston to the pavement. We were also reasonably impressed with the paddle-shift gearbox, although we would have liked a little more smoothness in everyday driving.


By Mark Gillies

At the 2006 Detroit auto show, Aston Martin stunned the gathered crowd with a breathtakingly beautiful four-door styling exercise called the Rapide. Named for the legendary late-1930s Lagonda flagship engineered byW. O. Bentley, the Rapide is the second four-door Aston project initiated under Ford ownership. The first, the 1993 Lagonda Vignale show car, was designed by Ghia and later mothballed. The Rapide, however, is all set for production in 2008, just ahead of its direct rival, the Porsche Panamera. We drove the concept car in Gaydon, England.

"Our goal was to make the most beautiful four-door car in the world," says design director Marek Reichman. The team succeeded from an aesthetic point of view, but the rear-seat packaging is unacceptable. Although the wheelbase was stretched from the DB9's 107.9 inches to 117.7 inches, which matches that of the standard Lincoln Town Car, tall passengers will find it very difficult to squeeze through the narrow aperture defined by the low roofline and the restricted door opening. "The rear doors will swing open much farther in the production car," promises Reichman. "Slimmer seats will provide more legroom, and we may even alter the platform to lower the hip point, but that would require a $3 million investment." We say it would be worth it. The rear seats are beautifully sculpted, and we'd like to be able to sit in them.

Because it's a show car, the Rapide is replete with glitzy features such as power-folding rear seatbacks, a collapsible chessboard, and a bar with crystal champagne flutes. The four leather-clad bucket seats are separated by a substantial full-length center console, which eats up precious rear legroom. We hope Aston keeps the spacious, beautifully finished cargo deck, the practical liftgate, and the variable-tint polycarbonate roof. At the push of a button, the electrochromatic roof changes the in-cab atmosphere from airy to moody. The interior trim is equally impressive, with skillfully chosen matte poplar accents, blue sharkskin, and green-beige saddle leather.

The shiny chrome controls grouped around the custom Jaeger-LeCoultre clock are a bit over the top, but we're drawn to the starter button, which fires the 5.9-liter V-12. It's the same engine as in the DB9 but with its output bumped from 450 to 480 hp. Here, unfortunately, the mighty V-12 is castrated--it's limited to 4000 rpm. Mercifully, the car's character remains intact, and the engine's beautiful noise is further accentuated by large-diameter tailpipes and a pair of intake louvers reminiscent of the DBR9 race car's.

Derived from the DB9 platform, the Rapide will take relatively little investment and time to complete its journey from show car to production model. If anything, the four-door treatment enhances the presence and beauty of the coupe's form language.How much will the newcomer cost? We hope that the narrow price gap between the $161,100 DB9 coupe and the $174,100 DB9 Volante (convertible) will accommodate a third model. If money were no object, would we join a queue to be guaranteed early delivery? Absolutely--if Aston can fix the packaging problem without altering the Rapide's elegant shape. If not, then forget it. Or rethink the marketing gambit and call the Rapide what it is: a four-door sport coupe.


By Jay Shoemaker

Walking up to the Aston Martin DB9, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to drive it or sleep with it. If running your hand over the DB’s sculptured haunches and taut lines doesn’t give you a warm feeling in your nether regions, you should surrender your pistonhead privileges at the door. Very few inanimate objects attain this level of beauty; those that do either rock your world or break your heart, or, as in this case, both.

Eventually, I stopped stalking the DB9 and went to open the door. This requires a patient, concerted effort; the doors are operated via a cantilevered handle imbedded in the sheet metal. You push in to make the door handle to pop out. The portals are perfectly balanced. Their swan-like upward arcing motion stops anywhere you choose in its cycle. Aston hasn’t offered this level of engineering precision or attention to detail since, um, ever.

Enter the cabin and the aroma of fine leather and natural wood overwhelms your brain’s olfactory center. Again, running your hand over everything is a subconscious response. Although there’s lots of room forward and back, the seats only offer a narrow slot between the high bolsters for your bottom, so anything from short and skinny to tall and skinny works just fine. The leather is hand-fitted and feels very plush, thick and warming. In fact, the longer your sits in them at anything above room temperature, the more you wish for perforations and active ventilation.

The DB9’s interior is perfectly plush, but the lighter-colored suede headliner is the only bright note in an otherwise dark carcoon. Rear visibility comes straight from the “What is behind me is not important” school of gumball racing, and makes the electronic parking assistance beeper a mandatory annoyance. The DB9’s gigantic blind spots also necessitate Volvo’s latest high-tech electronic lane change assistance and warning system, which is unfortunately unavailable.

To start the DB9, you fit the plastic key into the ignition and turn. Nothing. Oh right. Put your foot on the brake, push the dash-mounted crystal “power” button and the twelve-pot powerplant rumbles to life. It’s all very dramatic, but couldn’t Aston just borrow a keyless entry system from Toyota. A little message appears on the dashboard display: “Power, Beauty, Soul!” If the DB9 conformed to the UK’s truth in advertising laws, it would’ve read: “Ponderous, Expensive, Fragile!” I should have revved the motor a few times, switched off the car, got out and stared at it some more.

Alas, I drove it. For a two-seater holstering a V12 this menacing sounding, forward thrust is distinctly lacking. (Two tons of dead weight can do that to a car.) On the positive side, the DB9’s automatic transmission is both flexible and responsive. Downshifting via the large aluminum paddles is a pleasure; leaving things to the computer is almost as satisfying. Hang on. Why does that Subaru keep leaving me at the lights? I need to flog the old girl a bit harder– which seems a bit churlish. I should be able to simply outwaft the bastard.

At the first corner, I instantly regret my excess speed. The brakes are hard in their initial application, not unlike a Porsche 911 but the DB9’s wooden feel remains, sapping confidence. Turn-in is as flaccid as a dead flounder. Steering is vague, heavy and unpleasant; it’s as if there’s a gyroscope biasing the DB9 toward a straight line. Not to put too fine a point on it, cornering is something of a chore. Equilibrium is only restored when the road unwinds again. Driving the gentlemanly Aston requires a strange sort of rhythm: straights good, stopping bad; smooth roads good, corners bad; exhaust note good, stop light bad.

In light of the DB9’s unremarkable handling, the harsh ride quality is completely unacceptable. As is the incredibly expensive Linn 950 watt stereo: an incessant buzzing sound emanating from one of the rear speakers destroys all hope of suitable bass response. And I scoffed that a trickle charger was part of the standard kit until a few days rest drained the battery. An inattentive Aston owner must then learn to remove the rear seats to access the battery thoughtlessly sealed inside the trunk by the electric lock.

The DB9’s driving dynamics are a disaster. Luckily, the Aston has carisma. No doubt: emerging from an Aston Martin DB9 tells the world that its driver is a serious player (not playa). All you have to do to maintain the fiction is not tell anyone there are plenty of lesser (i.e. dramatically cheaper) cars that go faster, handle better and are more fun to drive. I drive an Aston Martin, so do yourself a favor and buzz off Mate. Charmed? Not quite.


Aston Martin Racing has hosted a pre-season test for both the factory team and private outfits at the Paul Ricard circuit in the south of France, following in the footsteps of the first such event that took place last year.

As well as the two-car Gulf factory team of DBR9s that will compete at Le Mans, there were several customer DBR9s on track. The brand new Charouz Racing Systems LMP1 car powered by Aston Martin – which will be driven at Le Mans by Jan Charouz, Tomas Enge and Stefan Mucke – also took to the circuit for the two-day test.

Aston Martin's other racing cars at Paul Ricard included the new Vantage GT2, along with the DBRS9 GT3 car and several examples of the V8 Vantage N24, which will be competing in the FIA GT4 Championship this year.

Fresh from the Geneva Motorshow, the V12 Vantage RS concept road car took to the circuit as well to join its racing stablemates.

The Paul Ricard circuit near Toulon is a former French Grand Prix venue that has been turned into the world's most advanced test track. It is famous amongst other things for the Mistral straight, which at 1.8 kilometres is the longest permanent straight in Europe, giving the Aston Martins scheduled to compete at Le Mans a flavour of the legendary Mulsanne that they will face in June.

Aston Martin Racing fielded two DBR9s in Gulf livery – traditionally numbered 007 and 009 – in order to test the cars for the Le Mans 24 Hours. Amongst the drivers at Paul Ricard with previous DBR9 experience were Antonio Garcia, Andrea Piccini, Darren Turner and Karl Wendlinger. The newcomers to the DBR9 in France were Ryan Dalziel, Robbie Kerr, and former Grand Prix star Heinz-Harald Frentzen.

The German driver, the winner of three Grands Prix, commented: "I've not driven any sort of racing car for one and a half years, so this was a great opportunity for me to get back into action. I really enjoyed the experience of driving the DBR9, and I actually found it very easy to drive. It was really good fun to get behind the wheel of a proper GT car, and I've definitely got a taste for it now."

The Gigawave Motorsport, Jetalliance and Strakka Racing teams also tested their DBR9s at Paul Ricard while Hexis Racing tested its DBRS9s in preparation for the forthcoming season.

Aston Martin Chairman David Richards commented: "Just three years ago we didn't have a single Aston Martin racing car, so if you look at how far we have come in that short space of time it's quite incredible. Now we have cars in every category, from GT1 to GT4. To see all those cars out here together makes me very proud, and it's a valuable opportunity for the whole Aston Martin family to share the circuit and their experiences with the factory Gulf team."

Dr Ulrich Bez, Chief Executive Officer of Aston Martin, said: "It is very satisfying to see the progress we have made at all levels of GT racing. The DBR9s in Gulf colours look stunning and the new GT2 car is showing great potential, but I am also delighted to see so many of our Vantage N24 customers here testing alongside the professionals. I was thrilled to drive the V12 Vantage RS concept car for the first time."


By Zero Signal

In 1960, Italian manufacturer Zagato teamed up with British luxury sports car manufacturers Aston Martin to create the 1960 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato as a one off for the Aston Martin distributor in Milan. The idea was to create a road car that could go racing. When Aston Martin saw the result, it quickly turned the vehicle into a limited-production model. Then in 1986, Zagato redesigned the Vantage (the Aston Martin Vantage Zagato) and the Volante in 1987 (the Aston Martin Volante Zagato).

Now, in 2003, history repeats itself once more as Zagato turn their collective hands to the DB7, the most popular Aston Martin in its range. Recently showcased at the Pebble Beach Concours, the DB7 Zagato continues the Zagato tradition of great design combined with great performance.

On the outside, the Zagato bears all the marks of Zagato's design - a bespoke, hand-beaten aluminium body, a shortened tail, the famous double-bubble roof, a massive signature Zagato grill and 18-inch Zagato-styled wheels with a revised offset to create a wider track. The new body, which is a shortened version based on the DB7 Vantage Volante wheelbase, saves the car around 60kg (133lbs) in weight.

On the inside, the Zagato uses the same DOHC 48-valve 5.9-litre V12 used in the standard DB7, but the higher power output (through an enlarged twin-exhaust system and other undisclosed engine tweaks) and lighter body mean that the Zagato model is quicker and faster. The Zagato also retains the standard 6-speed, close-ratio manual transmission, but uses a different differential and a short-shift gear lever. Upgraded ABS brakes sit behind all four wheels and both the front and rear suspensions have been specially developed for better handling. When you step inside this beast, the first thing you'll notice besides the redesigned interior is that there aren't any back seats and there's not much room to put your stuff. However, the DB7 Zagato is still a very exclusive and distinctive model in the Aston Martin collection.

However, such exclusivity and distinctiveness does not come cheap. Only 99 units will be produced starting at a cost of US$250,000 each. The vehicle will be shown privately to customers around the world and then built to special order, with shipping beginning in 2003.