Historically, there’s something about an English grand touring sports car; from the feminine lines of Jaguar’s XK-150 to the hard angles of the Lotus Esprit, the winning combination of aristocratic taste, bespoke styling and boyish glee never fails to impress. A grand tourer is a sports car you drive to your vacation destination, and spend your vacation waiting to drive home again.
Enter the second generation Aston Martin Vanquish S.
A continuation of the Vanquish, the new model uses the same 5.9L V12 but, with larger intake manifolds, produces an additional 12 horsepower over the Vanquish’s 568. Aston claims the S model—which features a retuned, eight-speed Touchtronic III auto transmission—can move from stationary to 62 in 3.5 seconds, and surpass 200 mph. One look at the chassis lines, and any doubt that may have arisen about the credibility of such assertions falls away. The Vanquish S is dramatic and beautiful, looking like nothing less than a sculptural representation of a cyclone.
But, an English sports car is also known as a statement of tastefully luxurious appointments, and the lucky purchaser of a Vanquish S is offered two choices for leather upholstery, with both sounding equally indulgent: ‘Filograph Quilted,’ and ‘Bridge of Weir Caithness.’ One sounds vaguely green, the other British country gentleman; smart marketing, evoking both stone and ivy, except you have to take your pick. Either way, though, the cabin will remain aggressively designed for the serious driver. The model also boasts an exposed carbon fiber front splitter and rear diffuser, quad-exit exhaust for easy engine respiration, and 20-inch wheels; diamond-turned wheels, and carbon-fiber appointments, are available as options.
Thank goodness Aston Martin is keeping Britishness alive overseas. The Vanquish S is currently available for advanced purchase. Base price: a shadow under $300K; $315K if you’d like a convertible.