Two cars in one, or at least that’s the arrangement you’ll need to accept if you want to get your hands on a new 2020 Aston Martin DBS GT Zagato, shown here in its best renderings yet.
You’ll also need to shell out $9.8 million CAD (£6 million GBP), which is a bargain when factoring in that a classic 1962 DB4/GT Zagato sold for a cool $15.4 million CAD (£9.45 million) a few years ago.
Of course, rare classics with racing pedigree are almost always worth more than a new car, even one as hard to come by, as visually stunning, and as brilliantly fast as the new DBS GT Zagato. Still, there’s another reason I referenced a classic Aston Martin Zagato.
All 19 2020 DBS GT Zagato customers (the same number of original 1960-1963 DB4 GT Zagatos built) will also be taking home a continuation DB4 GT Zagato, which is a true classic ‘60s era Aston, albeit produced new from old chassis number allocations.
The two cars make up Aston’s “DBZ Centenary Collection”, the more modern of the pair based on Aston Martin’s already fabulous DBS Superleggera, which stuffs a big twin-turbocharged 5.2-litre V12 behind its gaping maw of a front grille, capable of churning out a formidable 715 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. The powers that be at the company’s Gaydon, UK headquarters haven’t made mention about any straight-line performance increase in the upcoming DBS GT Zagato, despite the original ‘60s car making significantly more than a conventional DB4, but it has other attributes that nevertheless make it very special.
Any similarities to the now three-year old Vanquish Zagato were intentional, with Aston even painting the launch model shown here in what appears to be a near identical deep Volcano Red metallic (or something close) with rich gold trim highlights (the DB4 Zagato in behind wears a more fitting Rosso Maja red), the glittering secondary Au hue even embellishing the twinned five-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels.
Other design details pulled forward from the Vanquish Zagato include its gigantic front grille, double-bubble floating black roof panel, pronounced rear fenders, and rocket booster taillights, but that’s not to say this new Zagato-badged Aston is merely a redo of a past model. Of course, the DBS Superleggera under the skin influences its design much more than any previous model could, its longer, lower and leaner body featuring more creases and sharp-angled folds than the earlier Aston, which was decidedly more rounded and curvaceous.
Ultra distinctive is a gold-coloured active grille insert that’s actually comprised of 108 individual segments of carbon fibre. When the new DBS GT Zagato is not in use, these tiny pieces come together to form what appears to be a solid, flush panel, although when the ignition is turned on these little pieces reposition in order to allow front ventilation, a process that makes the grille “flutter”, says Aston.
Other unique details include extremely long and deeply sculpted side vents, these also adorned in gold, while the side sills don’t feature this supercar segment’s usual carbon fibre extensions, but rather tuck rounded rocker panels under the body as in days of yore. Of course the headlights are much more in line with modern Aston Martin design than anything from the Vanquish’ era, while those intricately detailed aforementioned taillights get fitted neatly within a sizeable horizontal black panel that hovers above an even larger wing-like rear diffuser.
Everything black is open-weave carbon fibre, of course, even the roof that’s actually a single piece stretching from the windshield’s edge to the base of the rear deck lid, with its noted twin-hump design followed by a complete lack of rear visibility. This car was made for Franco “What’s-a behind me is not important” Bertollini (Raúl Juliá – The Gumball Rally, 1976), although while there’s no rear window, nor even louvres to see out the back, Aston did include a rearview camera for backing up, mounted in a centre mirror-style monitor similar to General Motor’s Rear Camera Mirror.
As for the beautiful DB4 GT Zagato, which made its debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last month (we’ve expanded on this story’s gallery with 20 detailed solo photos of this breathtaking classic in its most modern production trim), it’s the latest in Aston Martin’s line of continuation cars, which began with 25 DB4 GT Continuation models that sold for $2.4 million CAD (£1.5 million) each in 2017, and (it doesn’t get much better than this) 25 recreations of the classic movie car from the 1964 James Bond (Sean Connery) film Goldfinger, complete with all the cool offensive weaponry and defensive armour that made the eccentric Q (Desmond Llewelyn) a hero to gadget freaks everywhere. The Goldfinger DB5 Continuation will arrive in 2020, just like the two new Zagato models featured here, but for only $4.5 million CAD (£2.75 million) each.
If you’re still scratching your head about the stratospheric price of the two combined Zagato models featured in this story, consider for a moment the original 1962 DB4/GT Zagato’s price noted earlier wasn’t even the most expensive DB4 GT Zagato to be auctioned off. After the original 19 examples were created from 1960 to 1963, Aston Martin built four more on unused chassis allocation numbers in 1988, all of which were dubbed “Sanction II” models, while in 2000 the automaker created another two cars to “Sanction II” specification (which meant they received a larger 352-horsepower 4.2-litre engine), albeit renamed them “Sanction III”, these latter examples fetching $18.6 million CAD ($14,300,000 USD) in 2015 and $16.5 million CAD (£10,081,500) in 2018, making them some of the most valuable cars ever sold.
Of course, it would be unwise to invest as if these 19 new DB4 GT Zagatos will grow in value like their earlier siblings, but then again if past success is any reflection on future prospects, the lucky new owners should be sitting rather pretty in a few years, if not immediately after taking delivery, while they might even end up receiving their all-new 2020 DBS GT Zagatos for free.
Twilight was causing headlamps and taillights to illuminate as I was driving home the other day, which is often a dazzling spectacle of white and red LEDs in my neighbourhood of premium and exotic machinery.…
Twilight was causing headlamps and taillights to illuminate as I was driving home the other day, which is often a dazzling spectacle of white and red LEDs in my neighbourhood of premium and exotic machinery. Driving up to a stoplight and one set of particularly elegant rear lamps caught my attention, followed by a captivating silhouette. My eyes immediately locked in, because I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. All I knew was that it was gorgeous. Then I laughed when I realized I was looking at the current generation Infiniti Q60, a car that I’ve spent weeks with at a time on many occasion.
To be completely honest, I’m more than a bit jaded when it comes to cars. This job allows me to park some pretty impressive hardware in my driveway, and like I said a moment ago, every manner of BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus and the list goes on crowd the highways and byways of my well-to-do city, not to mention more Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis and McLarens, plus Bentleys and Rollers than those living anywhere outside of Beverly Hills or Dubai will ever get the chance to see. So factor that in when considering an Infiniti pulled my eyeballs. This is one stunning looking car, no matter the angle.
Another reason it caused me to look is rarity. The Q60 does pretty well compared to a Lexus RC, which it more than doubled in sales last year, but it’s not as strong a seller as say an Audi A5, a BMW 4 Series, or a Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe. Both the 4 and A5 more than tripled the Q60’s deliveries last year, and as Q3 2018 closed BMW had sold more than four times as many 4s and Audi had moved more than five times as many A5s, the new segment leader (although we can’t say for sure how many C-Class Coupes get sold each month as Mercedes lumps their sales numbers together with C-Class Sedans). And just in case you’re feeling sorry for Infiniti, consider BMW sold more than 12 times as many 4s and Audi more than 15 times as many A5s, while Infiniti found three times as many Q60 buyers. Ouch!
While slower sales might be a negative to a company’s balance sheet, it’s not necessarily a bad thing for premium buyers who want exclusivity. Let’s face it. In Canada’s better neighbourhoods the luxury wares from the big German brands are ubiquitous, causing their owners to spend umpteen thousands more for bespoke paint, fancy wraps, carbon fibre add-ons and expensive wheels, so therefore the opportunity to get into a car as stunningly beautiful as the 2018 Infiniti Q60 for just $46,295, or this 3.0T Luxe AWD that starts at $53,295, is rare indeed (see all of the 2018 Q60’s trims and pricing at CarCostCanada, plus save on your purchase by researching possible rebates and receiving dealer invoice pricing).
The base model just mentioned is the 2.0T Pure, a trim line and engine that will disappear on the Canadian market for 2019. If you can still find one and don’t care as much about forward thrust as beauty (because the car still looks as nice) its 208 horsepower Mercedes-sourced 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine is plenty fuel-efficient, but most Q60 buyers opt for Infiniti’s own 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 that makes a much more formidable 300 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, which I have to say is more than adequate, as long as you don’t try the Q60 Red Sport 400 with its same number of horses and 350 lb-ft of ready and willing torque.
That’s a car I’ve previously covered and hope to again soon, but its $61,295 price point might be a bit dear for some, hence the $55,295 Q60 3.0T Sport just below and the Q60 3.0T Luxe I spent a week with. Before I delve into Infiniti’s value proposition, which is always a key reason to consider the Japanese luxury brand, let’s talk driving dynamics.
First off, it’s an easy car to drive around town and on the open highway, as one might expect by looking at its classy chrome detailed exterior and luxuriously appointed leather, hardwood and bright metal lined interior. The ride is firm yet comfortable, its standard 19-inch machine-finished alloys on 255/40 all-season run-flats not helping the former, but its double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension making sure of the latter. Infiniti has tuned the spring rates, dampers and stabilizer bars for a competent mix of compliant performance, and while not quite as capable as the Dynamic Digital Suspension included with the Q60’s two top-tier Sport trims, its agility around corners shouldn’t leave anyone wishing for too much more.
Speaking of more, Infiniti offers the Q60 with the complexity of four different steering systems depending on engine, trim and your willingness to pay. The base model I mentioned earlier comes with a vehicle-speed-sensitive hydraulic electronic power steering setup, while the car I tested features standard electronic power steering, yet is offered with Infiniti’s exclusive Direct Adaptive Steering, which replaces mechanical linkages with electronic switches and servo motors to save weight and further enhance the driving experience. Lastly, those two just noted Sport trims can be had with the optional direct steering system or come standard with a more performance-oriented fast ratio electronic power steering setup.
As with the suspension, I never felt any lack of response when pushing the Q60 hard through corners, something I did as often as opportunity allowed. Instead, all that was needed was a little tap on the sizeable 12.6-inch front and 12.1-inch rear discs to load up the front tires and the wonderfully tuned chassis took care of the rest. Infiniti includes standard Active Trace Control that actually enhances cornering feel by modulates braking and engine torque, and I’ve long been a fan of the brand’s rear-biased Intelligent all-wheel drive that sends all available twist to the wheels in back until tire slippage transfers up to 50 percent of torque forward to the front wheels.
Rear tire slippage can happen when getting hard on the go pedal, although you won’t notice any such torque transferring going on behind the scenes. All you’ll feel is immediate response from throttle input, its torque strongest between 1,600 and 5,200 rpm, which considering its aforementioned 295 lb-ft of twist is a nice broad spectrum that allows what seems like relentlessly quick acceleration.
It feels especially potent when Infiniti’s Drive Mode selector is switched to Sport mode. It was quick enough in the default Standard setting, while Snow, Eco and Personal modes are also included, but Sport is best for lickety quick shifts from the wonderfully engaging seven-speed automatic that snaps to attention at takeoff or alternatively quickly drops down through the gears to find the ideal cog for passing manoeuvres. Shift intervals are nice and crisp, but to be fair this isn’t the sportiest transmission in this class, yet it’s certainly one of the best for simultaneously providing quick responses and ultra-smooth operation.
Truly, Infiniti has really done a wonderful job with this gearbox, while along with its quick reacting performance comes Downshift Rev Matching (DRM) that makes you look and sound like a pro as the engine automatically blips to ideally match a chosen gear; a driver-adaptive learning algorithm that senses your driving style and then adjusts its shifting accordingly; Adaptive Shift Control (ASC) that gets upgraded with navigation system synchronization in Luxe trim and above, which adds GPS mapping data to the usual sensor-based system in order to automatically select shift points when the transmission is left to its own devices in Drive, selecting the best possible gear depending on uphill, downhill or curving road conditions; plus dual automatic transmission fluid coolers to keep it running smoothly and reliably.
I only wish steering wheel-mounted paddles were included with V6-powered cars, and not only with the aforementioned Sport trims. This more pampering Luxe trimmed example is certainly sporty enough to warrant paddle shifters, and I for one would feel a bit put off if I paid $50k-plus for a performance coupe and wasn’t able to enjoy the hands-on control that paddles provide.
That Eco mode mentioned earlier is a pet peeve of mine, and not because it strangely still doesn’t include an auto start/stop function. While it seems to work pretty well for saving fuel, it incorporates one of my most disliked features of any car made anywhere. The Active Eco Pedal pushes back on your right foot when attempting to apply more throttle than it feels is necessary to maximize fuel economy, and I loathe this so much that I purposely won’t use Eco mode. Of note, I often use Eco mode with Infiniti’s competitors, as I like saving fuel when driving in the city, but I find the Active Eco Pedal so disturbingly intrusive that I’d rather pay more for less driving interference. Go ahead and search for it online and you’ll quickly see my distaste for this device isn’t unique, and I’m willing to be the sooner Infiniti gets rid of it the faster people will want to purchase its cars. On the positive, this version doesn’t push back as aggressively as early versions, but it still feels as if you’re pushing down on a block of wood instead of a nicely progressive gas pedal.
Speaking of economy, the new 3.0-litre V6 is much more fuel-efficient than the previous 3.7-litre version, with my weeklong non-Active Eco Pedal usage measuring a combined 11.7 L/100km from mostly city and some highway driving, which comes fairly close to matching the claimed Transport Canada rating of 12.3 city, 8.6 highway and 10.7 combined. The soon-to-be-discontinued four-cylinder gets a thriftier 11.2 city, 8.5 highway and 10.0 combined rating, by the way, which really isn’t all that much better than the V6, while the brilliantly quick 400 horsepower Red Sport version is good for an estimated 12.5 city, 9.2 highway and 11.0 combined, which once again isn’t much of a penalty for its superb performance capability.
I’ll refrain from deep diving into every last feature and option available to Q60 buyers this time around, mostly because this review is coming out towards the end of the 2018 model’s availability and the 2019 will see plenty of changes to trims and feature sets as noted earlier, but suffice to say this current model year and the next one offer premium buyers loads of value. For example, a shortlist of standard features found on the base Pure model include such niceties as full LED headlamps, proximity keyless access, pushbutton ignition, signed aluminum treadplates, genuine aluminum interior inlays, dual-zone auto HVAC, Infiniti InTouch dual display infotainment with an 8.0-inch top monitor and 7.0-inch lower touchscreen, a reverse camera, voice recognition, text message capability, satellite radio, a powered moonroof, eight-way powered front seats with power lumbar support, rear parking sensors, Scratch Shield self-healing paint, plus all the usual active and passive safety features.
Along with the more powerful engine, my 3.0T Luxe tester added remote start, auto-dimming side mirrors, a heatable power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, heatable front seats, memory for the steering wheel, seats, and side mirrors, soft perforated semi-aniline premium leather upholstery, accurate navigation with lane guidance and 3D building graphics, the navigation-synchronized adaptive shift control I mentioned earlier, real-time traffic info via SiriusXM Traffic, superb sounding 13-speaker Bose Centerpoint surround audio, a garage door opener, powered front seat torso bolsters, and more.
Infiniti added $750 worth of Majestic White Pearl paint, plus the $5,200 ProAssist-ProActive package that includes rain-sensing wipers, auto-leveling front headlamps with adaptive cornering, front parking sensors, an Around View Monitor (AVM) with Moving Object Detection (MOD), Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW), Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection (PFEB), Blind-Spot Warning (BSW), and Back Collision Intervention (BCI) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (CTA), which proved to be a useful collection of advanced driver assistance features that worked well without being overly sensitive.
All of this advanced equipment comes in an interior that’s beautifully finished with high-quality materials. Its dash-top is all soft touch synthetic, and stitched together with contrasting thread. Infiniti provides the same impressive treatment across the entire instrument panel, all the way down to the lower console where it turns into an even softer padded leather wrap. This even includes the glove box lid. Likewise, the door panels are finished in this comfortable leather-like material from top to just under the armrests, with contrast stitching throughout—only the lower door panels are finished in a harder plastic, which unfortunately is all too common in this class.
Infiniti enhanced the leather with a rich looking, substantive feeling dark grey hardwood, plus lots of attractive satin-finish aluminum. It’s all tastefully put together for a classy result, while some of its switchgear is edged in knurled metal for extra grip and a ritzier look. Even nicer, the previously noted Bose stereo includes gorgeous drilled aluminum speaker grates on the front doors. Yes, it’s easy to fall in love with the Q60 interior.
I’d like to see more graphical information within the gauge cluster’s multi-information display, or better yet a fully configurable TFT gauge package, but nothing like this is on offer yet. Instead, you get a simpler colour display between two analogue dials ahead of the driver, plus the aforementioned dual display infotainment system that provides more digital acreage than the majority of competitors. The top display is controlled by a rotating knob on the lower console, and the bottom display is a regular touchscreen, and while it all looks impressive initially, the latter lacks the ability to use tap, swipe and pinch gesture controls for the map, forcing you to execute such functions on the rotating dial. The latter function works reasonable well, it’s certainly not as intuitive as a regular touchscreen, which most of us are used to due to our smartphones and tablets.
The perforated leather driver’s seat was wonderfully comfortable, and offered good lateral support made better via powered torso bolsters. This said I’d rather they included four-way powered lumbar support instead, but at least the fore and aft design came very close to pushing in at the ideal spot on the small of my back. Also on the positive, Q60 ergonomics fits my body like a glove. Its powered steering column has plenty of reach, while the seat is as adjustable as I could ever need, thus optimizing my driving position for total control and comfort. As I said over and over again in my reviews, this isn’t always the case due to my unique long-legged, short torso body type.
Rear seating space is tight of course, which is par for the course in the personal coupe category, especially amongst compact D-segment models. This said I had about four inches in front of my knees when the driver’s seat was set for my five-foot-eight medium-build frame, plus ample room for my feet and about an inch above my head to the window glass. I had reasonable side-to-side room as well, measuring about three inches from my outside shoulder and four inches from the hips, while Infiniti does not provide a centre armrest in back, but a centre console includes a shallow tray and equally shallow cupholders. The seatbacks are fairly comfortable, but I wouldn’t want to sit in the back over a long haul.
Now that I’m kind of complaining, I’m still not a fan of foot-operated parking brakes, mostly because they get in the way. Then again with the Q60 it’s not as much of a problem because no manual gearbox is offered.
It would be silly to complain about the Q60’s small 246-litre (8.7 cubic-foot) trunk, because most personal coupes don’t offer a lot when it comes to cargo carrying capacity. Fortunately it’s nicely finished with carpeting all the way around, plus Infiniti filled the empty spare tire hole with a handy tool kit holder. The rear seat folds forward, but take note there’s no split at all, which limits cargo/passenger flexibility.
Perfect it’s not, but factor in all you get with the 2018 Q60, from its potent and efficient powertrains to its gorgeous styling and ultra-rich cabin, not to mention its impressive load of standard features and optional kit, and it’s a lot of personal luxury coupe for a very reasonable price range. On looks alone I could recommend it, but it’s so much more than just a pretty face. If you want a truly special sports coupe that you won’t see coming around every other corner, I recommend you pay special attention to the Infiniti Q60.
Power isn’t my thing. Most who have it don’t know how to wield it, and being libertarian in mindset I truly only want enough power to rule over my personal space. The MX-5, with its modest 155 horsepower…
Power isn’t my thing. Most who have it don’t know how to wield it, and being libertarian in mindset I truly only want enough power to rule over my personal space. The MX-5, with its modest 155 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque, has always fit very well into such ideals.
Over the years I’ve heard some complain that its response off the line is somewhat tepid when compared to other sports cars in the category, and when considering these are the same folks unsatisfied with the Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86’s much more potent 200 horsepower engine their frustration probably has some merit. I’d rather have high revs and sensational sounds combined with a light curb weight when piloting a four-cylinder powered sports car, yet even with such reasonable expectations the outgoing mill left me feeling a bit flat.
Enter the 2019 MX-5, with a revised 2.0-litre four-cylinder capable of spinning 700 rpm higher before redline, from 6,800 to 7,500 rpm, while power is up 17 percent to 181 horsepower, and torque has increased by 3 lb-ft to 151.
How did they do it? A few trick engineering tweaks included lighter weight pistons and a redesigned flywheel, plus Mazda also modified the rear differential ratio for quicker response off the line and faster acceleration overall.
And what about the dull soundtrack? A new sport exhaust system certainly ups the excitement ante, but rather than spill the entire bowl of beans now in this Garage preview I’ll go into greater detail about all of the above in my upcoming road test review.
Until then, here’s some background info: a six-speed manual comes standard, while a six-speed automatic featuring manual-shift mode, paddle shifters, and Drive Selection modes is optional. This tester gets fitted with the former, exactly the way I’d choose it if mine, and exactly the way I’ll enjoy it best throughout my test week.
You might also notice a retractable hardtop, this particular MX-5 being the RF version introduced last year, which gets a sharp looking coupe-like all-weather roof that conveniently powers away when you’d rather feel a wisp of mother nature’s breath in your hair. It’s only slightly easier to live with than the regular soft top, but for those who live, work or just travel through crime-ridden neighbourhoods, it brings an element of security to a car that’s never had such locked down advantages before.
With a focus that’s never deviated from performance despite the MX-5 gaining refinements with each generation, even this top-line RF GT weighs in at just 1,118 kilograms with the manual and 1,134 kilos with the auto, which is just 53 kg more than the base soft top. I know, to those autocrossing or racing on the weekend, and there are many MX-5 owners that do, an extra 50-plus kilos of mass exactly where they don’t want it, up high over the head, but for the rest of us who simply want to enjoy the fastest way around the highway entrance ramp, it’s also a great way to cloak away the noise of the outside world.
Along with the engine upgrades, Mazda improved the driving environment with a new telescoping steering column, important for setting up your driving position for optimal comfort and control. Continuing on the ergonomic theme, Mazda gave its driver’s seat new easier to use adjustment levers, while the door panels and cupholders are redesigned for 2019.
Black metallic painted alloy wheels in 16- and 17-inch diameters are new this year as well, while the 195/50R16 and 205/45R17 tires wrapped around them, the latter standard with the RF, stop better when the MX-5 to new standard Smart City Brake Support (SCBS), while Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) is also new this year, but requires an upgrade to GT trim. Additional advanced driver assistive systems that are standard across the line include Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring (ABSM), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), and Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS), while the 2019 MX-5 continues to come with all the expected active and passive safety features too.
The MX-5 soft top is available in three trims, including the $32,900 GS, $36,900 GS-P, and $39,900 GT, while the RF can only be had in the two upper trims starting at $39,900 and ending at an as-tested $42,900, plus freight and fees of course. See all 2019 Mazda MX-5 prices at CarCostCanada, plus make sure to check the dealer invoice price of the car you choose before buying, as it could save you thousands.
OK, not exactly as tested. My tester also had $200 worth of Snowflake White Pearl paint coating the exterior panels, and instead of standard Black leather with Red Koko stitching, or no-cost Sport Tan leather with Tan Kodo stitching, Mazda had added the $900 Exclusive Package that included a gorgeous caramel coloured Chroma Brown Nappa leather inside plus a contrasting piano black roof top to the exterior. Yes, I think I’d need to spring for this too.
Interestingly, the aforementioned automatic transmission is a no-cost option despite its many enhancements, with the only other option being a $909 set of 17-inch matte black alloys wheels.
I won’t go into any detail regarding standard GS-P or GT features in this “Garage” review, but instead I’ll save such commentary and my driving experience notes for an upcoming review. Until then, enjoy the photo gallery that’s a little larger than usual for a Garage story…
Is there a more beautiful grand touring car on the planet? Certainly the all-new DB11 will be high on auto enthusiasts’ lists, but for many sports car aficionados the more classic GT lines of cars like…
Is there a more beautiful grand touring car on the planet? Certainly the all-new DB11 will be high on auto enthusiasts’ lists, but for many sports car aficionados the more classic GT lines of cars like Aston Martin’s Vanquish still rule supreme. For this reason it hardly looks dated despite hailing from Aston’s earlier design language.
The second-generation Vanquish arrived on the scene in 2012 for the 2013 model year, so it’s still fairly fresh as far as super GTs go, and now the new Vanquish S builds on appearances while upping performance for one of the most enticing models to hit the road last year.
The visual changes are subtle yet effective. A reshaped front splitter, grille surround, and rear diffuser are formed from exposed carbon-fibre, providing reduced frontal lift with minimal added drag. Additionally, dual twin-tip exhaust outlets free up exiting gases and enhance the auditory experience, while options include painted graphics packages, 20-inch diamond-turned five-spoke alloys, and carbon-fibre hood louvres.
The real meat of the Vanquish S can be found under that long, elegantly domed hood, Gaydon’s naturally aspirated 6.0-litre V12 now tuned to 580 horsepower at 7,000 rpm, which due to larger, freer-breathing intake manifolds results in a 12-horsepower gain over the outgoing non-S Vanquish, as well as ultra-quick throttle response. Peak torque remains the same with 465 lb-ft arriving at 5,500 rpm, which is good enough for three-tenths off of the previous 568 horsepower Vanquish’ zero to 100km/h sprint time of just 3.5 seconds instead of 3.8, ahead of an identical 323-km/h (201-mph) top speed. Still, there’s much more to the Vanquish S performance advantage than mere straight-line acceleration.
Aiding responsiveness and overall refinement is a more polished eight-speed Touchtronic III automatic gearbox, which in Vanquish S tune provides quicker yet smoother shifts for faster, more positive engagement, while the new model not only improves high-speed handling via aero upgrades noted earlier, but also from a retuned suspension, modified damper internals, revised spring rates, and new anti-roll bar bushings.
The result is a car that’s incredibly strong off the line, the immediacy of its power made even more potent due to the Vanquish S’ lighter-weight all-carbon fibre bodywork, which of course does much more than just quicken off-the-line performance. Thanks to that lightness and increased rigidity it aids lateral control too, for a car that feels much more agile than anything so large should when pushed beyond limits that would humble lesser competitors.
This lightness was most noticeable during fast-paced transitional manoeuvres that can often unsettle large GTs, yet the Vanquish S held its ground so naturally it was if I were Daniel Ricciardo diving down the inside of multiple opponents in his Aston Martin-branded Red Bull Racing F1 car on his way to winning the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix—how I wish. More likely I’d end up taking out my teammate at the first turn, or more precisely on the 40th lap as was the case in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix two weeks later (of course it’s unfair to fully blame Danny Ric for slamming into Max Verstappen’s gearbox when the latter blocked with an illegal second move).
Of course, the Vanquish S is no Formula 1 car, which is a good thing if you care one iota about comfort and bringing along family and friends. It’s brilliantly quick for a road car and masterfully adept at keeping within a given lane at extreme speeds, but I give it even higher marks for delivering such off the charts performance while multiple backsides are snuggly ensconced within wonderfully supportive leather sport seats. The ability to power-adjust the driver’s seat and manually position the steering wheel for what I found to be ideal ergonomics moved my comfort and control experience up a solid notch too, this not always the case in ultra-premium exotics.
On that note front seat roominess is exemplary, so all but the smallest jockeys and tallest NBA centres shouldn’t have a problem fitting in, and even those sized outside of the norm can likely be custom fitted by Aston’s bespoke department. As for rear seat accommodations, bringing along two or a maximum of three extra passengers will first depend on whether you’ve opted for the $5,563 2+2 Seating Arrangement and then on the height of first row occupants, as pushing the front seats all the way rearward completely eliminates second-row legroom. A driver measuring up to my slightly below average five-foot-eight frame will allow for a smaller adult or kids behind, which is a far cry more accommodating than the two-seat version or some other dual-income-no-kids alternative, so I can recommend the Vanquish S 2+2 for a medium-build person or couple with up to two small children. Additionally, the trunk is fairly well proportioned for this class of car, and beautifully finished as you might expect.
Those kids will feel pretty lucky to climb inside a Vanquish S, and possibly not for the same reasons as you. Looking at the car I was immediately filled with thoughts of 007 remotely piloting an original V12 Vanquish (2001–2005) in the 20th James Bond spy action film Die Another Day (2002), yet once we opened the door and peered inside my considerably younger partner came up with Spiderman, her mind inspired by the beautifully detailed “web” of hand-stitching across the seat inserts, door panels, and even the roofliner. It’s actually Aston’s $4,632.84 optional Filograph Quilting upgrade, just one of many improvements made to the car I was driving.
The rest of the interior’s leather was stitched in a courser contrasting thread, this a $752.40 upgrade, while the seats had $1,248.50 Micro Perforated Leather inserts. As with all Aston Martins the Vanquish S comes fitted with a level of luxury few peers can match, some additional highlights including an available Satin Chopped Carbon Fibre centre stack panel, included in my tester for $3,904.56, or Bridge of Weir Caithness leather (not included).
Other interior options that were added to my tester car include an $8,415 Contemporary and Luxury Pack, a $2,105 Interior Shadow Pack, a second glass key at $990, and more, while exterior upgrades included $12,160 for a Carbon Fibre Plus Pack, $5,563 for a Vanquish S Graphics Pack, $2,778 for a Shadow Exterior Pack, $2,105 for black brake calipers, $990 for black mesh grilles on the hood and side strakes, a $361 aluminum fuel filler cap, $177.50 for V12 side badges, and more for a total of $55,979.80 in extras overtop the base Vanquish S’ suggested retail price of $352,380, resulting in a grand total of $408,359.80 before fees and taxes.
Of course, paying the price of a (very small) Toronto or Vancouver condo for a sports car won’t be in everyone’s budget, but this inadvertently produces some of its allure, exclusivity. You won’t see many of these super GTs driving around the corner, even in the latter Supercar Capital city (although I saw a gorgeous white Vanquish in Richmond, BC last month, tentatively driven by a young 20-something woman), but everyone in the know will know exactly what it is, a Vanquish S commanding immediate respect. There’s also a very real cost that comes with engineering and then handcrafting small numbers of cars from carbon-fibre, let alone all the other meticulously detailed handy work found on the exterior and throughout the cabin.
To that end, the Vanquish S uses Aston’s proprietary glass key fob that slots into the middle of the centre stack, and gets pushed further to ignite the engine. You select gears via the pushbuttons to either side, this being a basic PRND layout, while manual shifting takes place via paddle shifters to each side of the steering column. These don’t rotate with the steering wheel but rather stay fixed in place, which is exactly what’s required in a high performance car, as you’ll always know exactly where they are when you need to give them a tug. The steering wheel is also a straightforward, uncluttered device, with minimal switchgear. Seat controls are on the transmission tunnel, while most of the buttons on the centre stack are touch-sensitive.
That centre stack will be familiar territory to Aston Martin fans, and looks more boutique than the recently updated DB11 and Vantage interiors, but I love that about it. The four big metal knobs feature knurled edges, and there’s a substantive weight to them that most buying into this price class should appreciate, but of course their aluminum construction means they don’t really weigh much at all, important for a car with such sporting pretensions.
Referencing that young woman noted a moment ago, it’s easy to appreciate why both sexes are drawn to this car. Vanquish S styling crosses all boundaries: man, woman, young, old, and everyone in between. It’s aforementioned stitched leatherwork is artistic perfection, while all metals look and feel as if machined by hand from billet aluminum, the roof pillars are wrapped in suede, the wool carpets and floor mats are richly woven, the entire car impeccably put together.
Amongst favourite details, the Vanquish S’ analogue gauge cluster spins the tachometer counterclockwise in Aston Martin tradition, just a little nod to the past that any classic car fan will appreciate, while the infotainment display atop the centre dash is easy to use and filled with some of the brand’s more recent graphical, system and feature upgrades, the latter including navigation with nice colour mapping, a backup camera and more. Most importantly, though, the young woman just mentioned shows the Vanquish is relatively easy to drive for a super GT, despite its otherworldly performance. Truly, I could live with this car day in and day out, and I would never say that about many low-slung, mid-engine supercars.
Some might think it difficult to justify the $350k Vanquish S starting price, but compared to many of the supercars in the less comfortable class this Aston Martin super GT is a bargain, but still some without means or appreciation may see it as frivolous. After all, none of us need a car like this, yet even though it’s completely out of my personal reach from an ownership perspective I’ll appreciate the person who steps up to purchase it, as I’ll still be able to enjoy its beautiful lines and sonorous exhaust note whenever it passes by, and that will bring back particularly pleasant memories spent with this Cobalt Blue example.
If you do have the means, I highly recommend the Vanquish S, as it ideally combines the best modern-day construction technologies with some glorious examples of yesteryear’s handcrafted artisanship skills, plus it goes like a bat out of hell.
Aston Martin has been revising its entire model range in recent years, with a dynamic new take on its quintessentially British design language and a completely new V8 and V12 engine lineup. Maintaining…
Aston Martin has been revising its entire model range in recent years, with a dynamic new take on its quintessentially British design language and a completely new V8 and V12 engine lineup.
Maintaining its forward momentum, the DB11 Coupe, universally praised after its 2017 introduction, gets a soft-top convertible Volante model for 2018, due to arrive across the country next month.
“For many of our customers, indeed many generations of Aston Martin customer, the Volante has always offered something very special: a unique combination of elegant style, innate sporting ability and sensory engagement that lifts it above other open-top cars,” said Dr. Andy Palmer, Aston Martin President and Chief Executive Officer. “The new DB11 Volante captures those qualities perfectly and promises the kind of pleasure and enjoyment that can only come from driving an open-top Aston Martin.”
The DB11 Volante replaces the outgoing DB9 Volante, a model that’s served Aston faithfully for more than a dozen years. Where the old Marek Reichman and Henrik Fisker designed model has become a modern-day classic, revered by industry professionals and owners alike, not to mention car enthusiasts the world over, the new DB11, once again penned by Reichman, merges all that’s good from the past with an edgy new sophistication.
The DB11 Volante doesn’t deviate from the DB11 Coupe’s successful design below the shoulder-line, a good thing as the model’s new take on the trademark A-M grille, striking LED headlamps, elegant single-piece aluminum hood, dramatic front fender vents, muscular rear fender swells, sharply cut trunk lid, ultra-slim ‘light blade’ LED tail lamps, and diffuser-infused rear apron nears visual perfection. While new forged alloy wheels round out the lower design, the new open-top model gets even better as eyes climb upward. Perched atop a similarly raked windshield and A-pillars to the DB11 Coupe up front, and an artistically reformed deck lid in back, sits a classic retractable fabric roof that melds perfectly into the car’s sweptback profile.
Available in Black Silver, Grey Silver or Bordeaux Red, the all-new eight-layer convertible top utilizes the latest acoustic sound deadening and climate isolating insulation materials, providing four-season comfort and NVH levels, while it powers down to a class-leading stack height in just 14 seconds at speeds of up to 50 km/h with a 50 km/h headwind, plus back up again in only 16 seconds.
The DB11 Volante offers most of the same standard and optional features as the new DB11 Coupe, including an entirely new configurable digital gauge cluster with superb graphics, clear, crisp resolution, and wonderful depth of colour, plus an equally impressive centre stack-mounted infotainment display controlled by a knurled metal-edged rotating dial and gesture-sensing palm rest on the lower console. Both Daimler-sourced electronic interfaces are filled with the latest features and apps, including full smartphone integration, while the rest of the interior comes finished in the auto industry’s best quality materials and most exacting artisanship. Upping its game, the front seatbacks of the DB11 Volante even feature hardwood or carbon fibre veneer panels that easily pull eyeballs when the top is dropped.
While the standard and optional features list is long and full, Aston makes a special point of noting the DB11 Volante’s new heatable steering wheel as an encouragement for all-season open-air motoring (which we wholly support), and also states that new Volante-first rear seat ISOFIX attachment points bring a new level of practicality to owners with small children.
Regarding performance, the DB11 Coupe first arrived with Aston’s new V12, which was engineered by a team from the company’s UK division yet continues to be produced in the automaker’s dedicated Cologne, Germany engine facility, but take note the DB11 Volante won’t be available with the V12 at all, at least not at first, but instead will utilize the brand’s new 4.0-litre V8, sourced from AMG-Mercedes ahead of fine-tuning by A-M’s engine team. The new V8, which makes 503 horsepower, 498 lb-ft of torque, and comes mated to a new paddle shifter-enhanced ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission with incredibly quick yet especially smooth shift intervals, was a new arrival for the 2018 DB11 Coupe late last year, and is an ideal fit for the new convertible.
The lighter weight V8 fits further rearward in the car’s chassis to aid overall balance, plus performance is also helped by a new DB11 Volante that’s considerably lighter and more rigid than the model it replaces, its bonded aluminum body structure carried forward from the DB11 Coupe yet stiffened in key areas to compensate for losing its roof.
“The challenge of creating a convertible car is retaining structural and dynamic integrity,” said Max Szwaj, Aston Martin Chief Technical Officer. “To protect the former you need strength and rigidity, but to preserve the latter you need to keep weight to a minimum. With the DB11 Volante we have maximized the advantages of the DB11’s all-new bonded structure to underpin our new Volante with a structure that’s 26 kg lighter and five percent stiffer than its predecessor. The result is a truly magnificent car. One that combines greater performance and agility with increased comfort, refinement and interior space for occupants and their luggage.”
DB11 Volante trunk volume has grown by 20 percent over the outgoing DB9 Volante, while the car’s increased cabin space, comfort, plus its reported ride quality and driving ease seem diametrically opposed to its overall improved performance. To this end the new model incorporates three-stage powertrain and chassis modes that are engineered to suit most any driver’s mood or road/weather condition, while new electric power steering plus a limited-slip differential with dynamic torque vectoring provide levels of all-season control not possible before.
The new 2018 DB11 Volante arrives at Aston Martin dealerships across Canada next month, although orders are being taken now. Contact your local retailer for details.
More than a year has passed since I drove Aston Martin’s then new 2017 DB11 Launch Edition, but the memory remains indelibly stamped in my limbic system. It’s easy to recall the animalistic snarl…
More than a year has passed since I drove Aston Martin’s then new 2017 DB11 Launch Edition, but the memory remains indelibly stamped in my limbic system.
It’s easy to recall the animalistic snarl of its 600 horsepower twin-turbo 5.2-litre V12, not to mention its otherworldly 3.9-second sprint to 100km/h, which happens to be 0.7 seconds quicker than the wonderful DB9 I remember fondly as well. I’ll still have to take Gaydon at its word regarding top speed, as my city’s local racetrack wouldn’t even be capable of speeds up to 322 km/h (201 mph), that number 27 km/h faster than the DB9 that I also enjoyed fully at moderate speeds yet never experienced at full flight. So with a powertrain like that, what’s all the fuss about a downgraded V8 variant?
The new 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 makes a sizeable 503 horsepower and 498 lb-ft of torque, which might be a step down from the V12, but is a major move up from Aston’s outgoing 4.7-litre naturally aspirated V8 that put out 430 horsepower and 361 lb-ft of torque in top-line “S” guise. Interestingly, this allows a zero to 100km/h sprint time of 4.0 seconds, which as you’ll note above is near identical to the V12-powered DB11, while the V8’s top speed (that I’ll likely never see) is rated at 301 km/h (187 mph).
This one hails from Mercedes’ AMG headquarters, unlike the in-house engineered and produced V12 that remains an upgrade, but it nevertheless continues to be individually hand-built. At this point, purists might begrudge Aston for deriving its entry-level engine from an outsider, but keep in mind the old AJ37 V8 was initially sourced from Ford before being thoroughly massaged and hand-built for A-M application. Also notable, excuse the pun, the new engine’s mechanical melody and exhaust system’s bellow are wholly unique when compared to the old V8 and either old or new V12, moving away from higher pitched tenor-like lightning cracks to a baritone’s thunder, albeit both fully capable of stimulating adrenal releases from enthusiasts.
As a bit of an historic aside, Aston Martin has had a V8 in its lineup since 1969, the original DBS V8 and even more appealing (in my opinion) V8 series 1 through 5 models that followed being personal favourite Astons, likely due to their prominence in my formative years. Aston built just over 4,000 V8 examples within a 20-year tenure (a tiny figure considering the company delivered more than 5,000 cars last year alone), including high-powered Vantage and drop-top Volante versions, not to mention the unorthodox 1986–1990 V8 Zagato. V8 power continued in the 1989–2000 Virage and then came back for the 2005–2017 Vantage we all know and love, now replaced by an all new 2018 Vantage with the new DB11 V8’s mill behind its radically reworked A-M grille.
As for DB models (DB incidentally short for Sir David Brown, Aston Martin’s owner as of 1947, and DBS for David Brown & Sons, his great uncle’s gear manufacturing business (that supplied Aston Martin amongst others) who’s sons first gave him an apprenticeship at age 17, before he eventually became its managing director), only the DBS used a V8, making the return of V8 power in a DB series car eventful.
While the engine comes completed from AMG, Aston adds its own air intake, exhaust system, and slimline wet sump lubrication design, the latter allowing a lower centre of gravity. A-M also created new ECU software and reprogrammed the engine and throttle mapping, giving it performance characteristics and sound qualities more familiar to the brand, all before fastening it into the DB11’s engine bay via bespoke engine mounts (you really need to take a look around under its clamshell hood as you not only get an excellent view of the nicely finished engine and robust aluminum strut tower braces, but also get to peak at the suspension bits below some wafer-thin racecar-like CFRP fender panels).
I’d like to think Aston Martin owners are environmentally conscious, although such issues probably don’t matter as much to the brand’s performance- and luxury-oriented clientele as to the automaker itself, which is forced to deal with a literal world of regulating bodies that are forever increasing their emissions restrictions. It therefore only makes sense for A-M to be proud of the new V8’s CO2 figure of 230g/km, which allows for lower taxation rates in key growth markets like China.
Likewise, the V8 is considerably more fuel-efficient than the V12, its Transport Canada numbers being 13.0 L/100km in the city, 9.8 on the highway and 11.5 combined compared to 15.5 city, 11.4 highway and 13.7 combined. These figures reflect the use of the DB11’s standard auto start/stop system, which alternatively can be shut off if you’d rather listen to the engine/exhaust rumble at idle.
Both engines use an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission mounted mid-ship for better weight distribution, and it’s by far the smoothest Aston gearbox I’ve ever experienced, yet it transitions through cogs at a wickedly quick rate when switched to Sport Plus mode. Alternative default GT and Sport modes provide less aggressive application, while you’ve got the choice of DIY steering wheel paddles or complete automation.
After time well spent with the new 2018 DB11 V8 I can attest that most buyers should be completely satisfied with its everyday performance. Even slight dabs at the throttle produce instant response, this aided by a lightweight, extra rigid carbon-fibre driveshaft, yet acceleration ramps up smoothly and effortlessly, while that sonorous growl is ever-present, albeit never overwhelming.
Yes, leave any thoughts of supercar extremism to the new Vantage, as the DB11 is a brilliantly capable grand touring car that’s big on refinement, comfort and ease of use. In fact, it’s one of the easiest ultra-luxury GTs I’ve driven around busy city streets. The evenly weighted yet wonderfully reactive Bosch electric steering is near effortless to direct even when negotiating confining parking spots or tooling around town, which is surprising considering how meaty the rubber is underneath and how unfathomably capable it is through the corners.
It really does feel more agile through tight figure-hugging curves and more stable at high speeds, Aston attributing this to “detailed revisions to the suspension bushing, geometry, anti-roll bars, springs, dampers and ESP software,” or so it said in the DB11 V8 press release. It’s all aided by a smaller engine that’s 115 kilos (254 pounds) lighter than the V12, while the entire car weighs in at just 1,760 kilograms (3,880 lbs). Of course the lighter engine reduces mass over the front wheels, plus the V8 gets pushed rearward behind the front axle for better weight distribution. It all makes for a thoroughly sporting GT that never forgets that comfort is king.
On that note, there is no difference between V8 or V12 cabins, as each DB11 receives an identical list of standard features and the same extensive menu of available colours and optional trims. My tester, finished in elegant Arizona Bronze, including its mirror caps, door handles, roof strakes and top panel, plus black mesh hood duct finishers, gloss black lower extremities with bright details elsewhere, and rounded out by standard 20-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels framing subtle light grey-painted calipers, was fitted with a gorgeous saddle tan leather interior featuring beautiful quilting and ornately decorated perforations, not to mention oh-so British brogue detailing highlighted by lovely cream leather underlay below.
I need to stop right here to explain how incredibly soft the leather is. It’s exquisitely finished, while the detailing of the perforations and stitching are like nothing else I’ve ever seen. Aston Martin truly does some of the best leatherwork in the industry, and the DB11 pays the utmost respect to this tradition.
The stitched leather continues onto the dash top, instrument panel and most everywhere else inside, Aston even wrapping the steering wheel in matching hides for a look that was more about country club class than racetrack flash. A unique swath of black Satin 2×2 Twill Carbon vertically split the dash top into two before surfacing the centre stack background as well as the door inserts, the latter panels enhanced with yet more tan leather and satin aluminum detailing even including the speaker grilles, the genuine lightweight metal similar to other brightwork throughout the interior, which Aston collectively calls its “Jewellery Pack” (alternatively available in a “Dark” tone). The roof pillars and headliner were covered in black suede-like Alcantara for a rich look and sumptuous feel, not to mention a hushed overhead ambience.
All in all, I believe this is Aston’s best work to date, as it combines the old world charm its cars have been lauded for since the marque was created 105 years ago, with a completely new level of refined modernity.
On that note, Gaydon did its level best to keep up with industry-wide in-car infotainment developments with its previous DB9 and Vantage models, but when production runs last a dozen years or so it’s nearly impossible to meet the demands of new consumers being weaned on iPads and Android tablets. Fortunately the DB11 relegates small displays with simple graphics and rudimentary controls to the past, not to mention Aston’s glorious analogue primary gauges.
The new model replaces the mechanical wizardry of whirring dials, the tachometer of which always spun in the opposite direction to anything else on the market, with a colourful display of fully configurable readouts, each rich in contrast, high in resolution, and graphically artistic. It’ll be an impressive sight for anyone stepping up from an older model, and truly adds to the driving experience thanks to loads of functionality, but something tells me that one day in the not too distant future Aston will be reoffering analogue gauge clusters as multi-thousand-dollar upgrades, in similitude to the move up from a quartz-infused luxury timepiece like the Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 to a mechanical one such as the same Swiss watchmaker’s Professional Moonwatch.
Unless you’ve spent time in Mercedes’ more recent models you probably won’t notice where Aston sourced its electronics, the gauge cluster less obvious yet the 8.0-inch tablet-style infotainment display atop the centre stack and palm rest/knurled metal rotating selector on the lower console dead giveaways. The latter is infused with all the latest functions, such as character recognition, multi-touch responsiveness, gesture capability, etcetera, while the former displays an entirely new level of clarity, artistry, and processing speed. The result is an easily sorted system with superb navigation accuracy, wonderfully detailed mapping, split-screen backup and overhead 360-degree surround parking cameras, and plenty more, while the audio system delivered good sound quality, albeit not as impressive as the optional Bang & Olufsen BeoSound system tested in last year’s DB11 V12.
Along with the enhanced displays is much improved centre stack switchgear, the topmost circular buttons set aside for Aston’s pushbutton ignition and trademark gear selection, the midsection for the dual-zone auto HVAC interface, which included heated and ventilated seat controls, those just below for infotainment, audio, parking sonar, camera, the aforementioned auto start/stop system, locks, etc. It’s a tidier assortment of buttons, knobs and toggles, still enhanced by stylish satin silver anodized metal yet no longer overwhelmed by big billet aluminum knobs. Consider it gentrified, if you can say such about an Aston Martin, thanks to touch-sensitive switchgear, crisp, clear backlit script and displays, plus more, but it’s still oozing with character.
The 2018 DB11 V8 starts at $233,650, a significant $20k and change more affordable than the V12 version, while standard features on each include simpler full-grain leather upholstery than noted above, the Alcantara headliner, pushbutton ignition, configurable gauges, 8.0-inch infotainment display, navigation, 360-degree camera, and dual-zone auto climate control mentioned earlier, as well as Wi-Fi, two USB ports, front and rear parking sensors, and much more.
Myriad exterior and interior colourways and trim options are available, while additional extras include multiple wheels, various leather textures and inlays, seat embroidery and/or embossing, a mid-grade Premium audio upgrade as well as the top-line B&O system, a universal garage door opener, blindspot monitoring, auto park assist, and more.
From a livability perspective, the driving position is superb, with excellent reach and rake from the steering column, and wonderfully comfortable, multi-adjustable seats. Their three-way warmers and coolers improve comfort yet further, while everything else about the DB11 is much more user-friendly than the previous model. What’s more, the steering wheel has a slightly flat bottom, making ingress and egress easier.
Continuing this practical theme, the powered seat system only requires a slight tug on a strap up top to tip the seatback forward before it glides in the same direction via its own power, allowing relatively easy access to the rear seats. You probably already guessed those rear seats are very small, but they’re good enough for children. This makes the DB11 a good GT choice for someone with a young family or for grandparents with grandkids, although anybody regularly transporting larger teens or adults might want to consider the longer and more accommodating four-door Rapide S.
If you’re fortunate enough to see a DB11 parked at the side of the road or witness one pass by, or better yet if you’re in the dealership preparing to go for a drive, an easy way to differentiate the new V8 from the V12 are the nostril-style engine vents atop the hood, the V8 removing two from the centre panels for what I think is a cleaner look, while darkened headlamp bezels and unique wheels help to set it apart further.
This last point probably summarizes the new DB11 V8 quite well. While most of us would probably gravitate to the V12 if money were no object, if only because it’s higher up the pecking order, it’s not necessarily the better car. Both models thoroughly impress in their own unique ways, and each is different enough to be preferred over the other. I can also attest to these being the best Aston Martin GTs ever made.
You’d think for a car available non-stop since 1965 there’d be more than six generations to the legendary Mustang’s credit, but Ford ran the first generation (the many iterations of which any genuine…
You’d think for a car available non-stop since 1965 there’d be more than six generations to the legendary Mustang’s credit, but Ford ran the first generation (the many iterations of which any genuine car enthusiast equally loves and lusts after) for eight years and made even better use of the 1979–1993 third-gen Fox bodied model. I don’t think you’d get much argument from all but drag racing fans that the current rear independent suspension-enhanced sixth-gen model, available since 2015, is the best Mustang ever.
It takes little coaxing for us to accept a week in any of its trims, the first of this type being a 2015 Mustang GT Premium Convertible, which was followed by the new 2.3-litre turbo four-cylinder 2016 Ecoboost Fastback and a 2016 GT Convertible, the latter much like our most recent tester other than its eye-searing Triple Yellow paintjob.
Actually, this 2017 GT Convertible Premium is coated in the same Ruby Red exterior paintwork and its seats covered in identical Red Line leather as the 2015 example (the Ecoboost Fastback was finished in Oxford White on black, if you must know), these two cars appearing near identical if it weren’t for the same GT Performance Package as added to the Ecoboost Fastback, that upgrade beefing up the wheels to glossy black 19s, plus a whole lot more.
At the heart of the GT is a 435 horsepower 5.0-litre V8 with 400 lb-ft of torque, capable of sling-shooting the 1,756-kilo (3,863-lb) ragtop to 100km/h in less than five seconds with standard launch control engaged. Ford was kind enough to include its six-speed manual transmission in this tester, which is the best way to go if you don’t mind a lot of DIY activity in city traffic.
I’ll comment on its refinement and all of the car’s other driving dynamic details in my upcoming review, plus remind you of the many improvements Ford made to this model when introduced as a 2015 model, while filling you in on specific 2017 upgrades (and downgrades) as well…