Alongside its coupe sibling, launched to worldwide acclaim last autumn, the Vanquish Volante sits at the pinnacle of the luxury British car maker’s sports car line-up.
Benefitting from all of the technical, engineering and design advances present in the Vanquish coupe, the new Volante enhances the driving experience still further through the option of exciting convertible driving.
Instantly becoming one of the most beautiful cars in its class, Vanquish Volante crucially retains the coupe’s dynamic character and sporting capability. It boasts the same new AM11 6.0-litre V12 engine as the coupe and the same blistering performance figures, meaning the 0-62 mph sprint is despatched in just 4.1 seconds (estimated) while the top speed stands at 183 mph.
Vanquish Volante is the first fully carbon fibre-skinned Volante in the brand’s 100-year history, while also being the stiffest Volante body structure yet created by the engineering team at Aston Martin’s global HQ in Gaydon, Warwickshire, England. The new car’s triple-skin lightweight fabric roof takes just 14 seconds to fold.
Announcing the arrival of the Vanquish Volante Aston Martin CEO Dr Ulrich Bez said: “This car is what luxury super GT driving is all about. Great performance, fantastic style and exhilarating Volante motoring in one superb package.
“Aston Martin is celebrating 100 years of excellence in 2013, and the arrival of this new sports car – our ultimate Volante – underlines that our mission to make the next 100 years even more successful is starting perfectly.”
The design of Vanquish Volante represents the latest take on Aston Martin’s iconic visual language. Styling cues such as the elegant waist, elongated side strakes and LED rear light blades are derived from the One-77 supercar while the folding fabric roof sits beneath a tonneau and decklid that have been aerodynamically tuned for optimum performance.
The windscreen, meanwhile, is now full height – a first for Aston Martin – which means that the glass runs up to meet the fabric roof, thereby achieving a particularly clean transition.
The Vanquish Volante’s ‘suit’ of carbon fibre panels cloaks a cabin that is both sophisticated and comfortable. The 2+2 cabin is elegantly attired in authentic and luxurious materials: full grain Luxmil leather with optional quilting, metal controls and satin chrome trim underscore the car’s well-appointed nature.
Each body panel on the car is constructed from carbon fibre not just because of its high strength-to-weight ratio, but also for its flexibility of form. This not only reduces mass but means that fewer individual body panels are required – reducing joints and contributing to a more coherent and svelte shape.
As practical as it is well-dressed, the Vanquish Volante boasts a boot that’s fully 50% larger than that of the previous DBS Volante. It measures 279 litres – roof up or down – and makes the new Aston Martin the perfect choice for continent-crossing grand tours as well as daily drives.
Perhaps one of the most striking interior design elements is the centre stack with refinements providing a more elegant form that is also more intuitive and accessible for both driver and front seat passenger.
A direct descendent of the One-77 centre stack, the Vanquish and Vanquish Volante’s set-up retains familiar elements such as the ECU engine start button and glass gear selection buttons while featuring a new infotainment system and a significantly more user-friendly design.
The facia trim now stretches down the whole centre stack and is manufactured from a single piece of material giving a uniform finish.
The user interface boasts a simple, ergonomically efficient layout as well as technological updates that make it the brand’s most advanced in-car system available today.
Capacitive glass buttons with illumination and haptic feedback feature in the rest of the centre stack’s switchgear. Haptic feedback is more commonly found in touch-screen mobile phones and Aston Martin became among the first significant luxury car manufacturers in the world to use the technology in a series production model when it debuted on Vanquish coupe in 2012.
Aston Martin Design Director Marek Reichman explained: “Vanquish Volante is a sports car, of course, but more even than that it is the ultimate Volante. A car which follows a long line of elegant Aston Martin convertibles, this super GT is sculpted to convey sophistication as much as raw power.
“The aerodynamically shaped tonneau, the proportions of the folding fabric roof, the luxurious nature of the cabin – these elements have been pored over by the Design team, working with our Engineering colleagues, to ensure we deliver the aesthetic appeal for which Aston Martin is renowned around the world.”
Under its curvaceous carbon fibre bonnet the Vanquish Volante comprises the latest generation AM11 naturally aspirated 6.0-litre V12 petrol engine which drives the rear wheels via a Touchtronic 2 six-speed automatic gearbox.
The V12’s power peak of 573 PS (565 bhp) arrives at 6,750 rpm while the torque peak of 620 Nm (457 lb ft) is available at 5,500 rpm. These numbers translate into performance that matches the Vanquish coupe’s and ensures the new car supports its Super GT billing.
The dynamics have been tuned precisely, with new springs and damper settings calibrated to deliver the same crisp handling yet compliant ride as the coupe.
Strenuous efforts have been made to limit the new car’s weight; contributing to its impressive performance, agile handling and compelling power-to-weight ratio. The combination of controlled weight, near-perfect 51:49 weight distribution, a powerful V12 engine and a performance-honed six-speed transmission unite to make the Vanquish Volante as rewarding on the move as it is beautiful standing still.
Like its coupe counterpart, the Vanquish Volante uses the latest generation of Aston Martin’s class-leading VH (Vertical Horizontal) architecture, a lightweight bonded aluminium structure that provides outstanding strength and rigidity. In this iteration, the Vanquish now includes the addition of significant semi-structural carbon fibre components, as well as the use of bonding derived directly from the latest aerospace technologies.
As well as being light, strong and flexible in its application, the gen4 VH architecture is also extremely rigid. The new Vanquish Volante is, in fact, 14% torsionally stiffer than the DBS Volante which preceded it, making it highly resistant to flex and allowing for responsive and predictable handling.
This rigid structure also provides an ideal foundation from which the suspension can control the vehicle effectively, further highlighting the importance of the body structure and the effect it has on the dynamic performance of the car.
Aston Martin’s engineering teams have worked particularly hard to minimise the weight outside the wheelbase of the new car to reduce yaw inertia. As a result, carbon fibre has been used extensively in the rear structure and the weight of the aluminium front structure has been limited.
To take full advantage of its precise and rigid architecture, the Vanquish Volante employs a battery of sophisticated technologies including Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and Positive Torque Control (PTC).
Aston Martin’s Adaptive Damping System (ADS) allows the driver to switch between three distinct damping modes: Normal, Sport and Track, delivering 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 quickly to different driving conditions. The different damping modes available help significantly broaden the Vanquish Volante’s character, adapting its set-up to suit the driver’s mood and requirements. Thus it can be a cruising GT car in Normal mode with the capacity to morph into an assertive sports car in Sport and Track modes.
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.
Steering, too, is crisp, precise and communicative. The rack’s quick 15:1 ratio – 2.6 turns lock-to-lock – is allied to speed sensitive power assistance that’s tuned to deliver optimum assistance.
The car’s braking system features third generation Brembo Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) parts to deliver shorter stopping distances with resistance to fade in even the most demanding driving conditions. CCM brakes are also lighter than a conventional system, reducing the weight of the car overall and, in particular, the unsprung weight and rotational masses, further enhancing the performance of the suspension.
The front brakes use 398 mm x 36 mm CCM discs with larger front pads and six-piston callipers from the One-77, while the rear brakes use 360 mm x 32 mm CCM discs with four-piston callipers.
Aston Martin CEO Dr Ulrich Bez added: “Vanquish Volante, like the Vanquish coupe before it, uses the very latest technologies employed in the very best ways to create a sports car which is easy to control, and to enjoy dynamic performance at the finest level.
“This is not simply a great-looking car – this is a great car engineered and crafted for the connoisseur by people dedicated to delivering exceptional sports cars with clearly defined characters.”
Priced from £199,995 RRP in the UK; €264,995 RRP in Germany; $297,995 MSRP in the United States and $323,974 RRP in Dubai, first deliveries of the new sports car are expected to begin in the UK and Continental Europe late in 2013.
Press Release - August 6, 2014
Aston Martin is today revealing details of a raft of important enhancements to two of the brand’s most popular and successful sports cars: the Vanquish ultimate GT and Rapide S four-door, four-seat, sports car.
With the arrival of 15 Model Year (15MY) cars in markets around the world over the next few months, the luxury British brand is offering not only considerably enhanced performance and much-improved fuel economy and emissions, but also an even more honed, precise and responsive driving experience.
With the debut of the new Touchtronic III eight-speed automatic gearbox in both Vanquish and Rapide S – the first time that this state-of-the-art gearbox has been incorporated into a transaxle layout – Aston Martin is improving every major area of the cars’ performance and fuel economy. The brand’s engineers have worked meticulously with technical partner, ZF, to develop the eight-speed technology and integrate it perfectly into the latest generation of the iconic and much-imitated Aston Martin VH architecture.
The 0-60 mph times for both the Vanquish and Rapide S are reduced in 15MY cars: The Vanquish drops from 4.1 seconds to just 3.6 seconds (3.8 seconds 0-100 km/h) and the Rapide S is capable of the same sprint in only 4.2 seconds (4.4 seconds 0-100 km/h) – also down by a full half second from its previous figure of 4.7 seconds. These impressive gains not only ensure the cars’ exceptional competitiveness in their respective sectors, but also confirm Vanquish as the quickest accelerating series production Aston Martin in the company’s 101-year history.
Changes to gear and final drive ratios allow the cars to be not only quicker but also more frugal, with reduced emissions too. In both sports cars the CO2 figure drops by an average of ten per cent – down to 298 g/km for Vanquish and 300 g/km for Rapide S. Economy is boosted by thirteen per cent (Rapide S) and seven per cent (Vanquish) with the new transmission (US Combined cycle).
Combined with a revised final drive, the ratio changes also mean both cars are, for the first time, now capable of top speeds of 200 mph or above.
A reduction in exhaust gas back pressure as a result of ratio adjustment and other changes also benefits peak power, which rises by up to three bhp to a peak of 568 bhp
in Vanquish, and two bhp, 552 bhp, in Rapide S. Peak torque is up too, to 465 lb ft at 5,500 rpm in all the cars.
The new eight-speed Touchtronic III automatic gearbox is not only three per cent
lighter than its predecessor, it is also packaged more efficiently occupying precisely the same space within the car yet adding two further ratios over the outgoing transmission.
Touchtronic III delivers exceptional shift speed and moves between ratios as quick as 130 milliseconds – far quicker than even the most accomplished racing driver is capable of – while better gearbox efficiency allows more power and torque to be transmitted to the road more of the time.
Ian Minards, Product Development Director at Aston Martin, explained: “We have a long and successful technical partnership with ZF and so it was a natural step for us to adapt and integrate their world class 8HP transmission in to our transaxle layout.”
“This has been a detailed piece of work involving careful consideration of many technical parameters including gear ratios, software integration and shifting strategies.
This has delivered a significant step change in both vehicle performance and economy whilst preserving the unique Aston Martin V12 driving experience.”
Gearbox software changes make for a truly comprehensive selection of available driving features such as ‘Drive’ and ‘Drive Sport’ modes along with ‘Paddle Shift’ and ‘Paddle Shift Sport’ options for more engaging, sporting, shift control.
Optimal, multi-ratio downshifts are available by pulling and holding the down shift paddle, allowing for the car to select the lowest available gear when under braking. Adaptive Drive Recognition (ADR), meanwhile, tailors shift points to the individual driver’s style. Thus a more spirited driver in standard ‘Drive’ mode will rapidly adapt to enjoy a shift map more akin to the settings found in ‘Drive Sport’. As the programming is reset during each key cycle – when the car is locked and unlocked – the perceived ‘changes’ to the car’s nature are similarly reset.
Engine management upgrade
Away from the gearbox, 15MY Aston Martin Vanquish and Rapide S models benefit from the addition of the latest Bosch Engine Management System. The new system, which delivers more precise engine control and seamlessly communicates with the new gearbox, receives its first application in an Aston Martin that combines the AM29 V12 engine and an automatic gearbox.
Meanwhile other electronic and engineering changes have taken place in 15MY cars to deliver a consistent GT character by perfectly aligning the chassis with improvements in powertrain performance and accessibility. For instance, a revised torque tube reduces transmission noise transfer into the passenger compartment while revised DSC sees the retuned stability system optimised for the new gearbox. A revised steering ECU delivers an even more crisp and precise steering response.
Uprated dampers on the new Vanquish – 15% stiffer at the front and a full 35% stiffer at the rear – improve the dynamic characteristic of the car in line with its significantly enhanced performance. Rapide S, meanwhile, gets uprated larger front brakes. Both cars also benefit from a retuned brake booster and amended rear suspension bushes that are now 20% stiffer than before.
There are also subtle but important styling enhancements, both inside and outside the cars, that add extra visual appeal for 15MY Vanquish and Rapide S.
Outside there’s the arrival of new ten-spoke forged alloy wheel designs, available in a variety of finishes, that not only enhance the cars’ looks but save almost seven kilos in weight versus the standard wheel. There are also new paint colour options including, for the first time on Vanquish and Rapide S, the availability of the special paint colour Diavalo Red, previously limited to the breath-taking V12 Zagato.
Inside, the cars get new leather trim colour options including the contemporary blue-black Dark Knight, and bold Fandango Pink. Rapide S also gains the exciting option of a new Duotone leather seat finish in Sahara Tan and Vibrant Red, as well as a range of new headlining options that mix quilting with the finest leathers or Alcantara.
Director of Design Marek Reichman explained: “More bold and dynamic interior and exterior treatments are the perfect offering for customers of the latest models.
“It is, of course, possible to add more colour to our cars while maintaining Aston Martin’s reputation for elegance and beauty, and I’m very happy to see this enhanced and extended colour palette offered to our loyal customers around the world.”
The global market introduction of 15MY sports cars begins in Q3 of 2014, with more details on market-specific pricing and options available in due course.