Motoring expert Chris Walsh test drives the new model…
We all need a little mid-life spruce-up, and the Aston Martin Vanquish Volante is certainly no different. So to help bring their top-of-the-range two-door grand tourer back on point, a new eight-speed Touchtronic III automatic gearbox has been lavished upon it, to not only sharpen performance but improve economy and lower emissions as well.
Furthermore, additional improvements like a reworked engine management system and an enhanced trim selection complement the gearbox to generate a new ‘feel’ to the existing Vanquish Volante. And together, all these changes have gone a long way to demonstrate exactly how keen Aston Martin are to fulfil the individual and demanding driving brief that every customer expects.
So what of this gearbox? Well, on paper it has directly contributed to the Vanquish Volante’s fresh 0-60 time, which has been dramatically slashed from an already swift 4.1 seconds to a much more competitive 3.8 seconds. But the significance is, this newfound performance has transformed the Vanquish Volante into being the quickest accelerating series production drop-top in the company’s illustrious 101-year history.
But these improvements haven’t just focused on speed by the way, as the Vanquish Volante also becomes much more frugal too. The addition of those two extra cogs improves on the old CO2 figure by 10% to 298 g/km, while economy also receives a boost to 31-mpg on an extra urban cycle. But when you are driving a 6.0-litre V12 sports car, I personally wouldn’t allocate too much brainpower to its economy, as the sheer performance returned from the whole package is bound to grab the biggest headlines. And that sound! So uniquely British.
Push the limits of the Vanquish Volante and the Touchtronic III does not disappoint, as exceptional paddle shift speeds are delivered in lightning quick fashion, allowing all that wonderful new gearbox wizardry to put more power and torque down on the black stuff, more of the time.
A new feature introduced is the optimal, multi-ratio downshifts, which are available by pulling and holding the downshift paddle under braking, allowing the gearbox to select the lowest available gear under braking. All this happens, while adaptive drive recognition (ADR) also tailors specific shift points to the individual driver’s style.
Moving away from the gearbox for the moment, the Aston Martin Vanquish Volante benefits from the addition of the latest Bosch engine systems. The new technology, which delivers more precise engine control and seamless communication, becomes the first to work its magic alongside the V12 engine and the new automatic gearbox.
Other electronic and engineering gadgetry has taken place 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.
Subtle Styling Cues
Uprated dampers on the new Vanquish do all sorts of things to improve the dynamic characteristic of the Vanquish Volante, to keep it very much in line with its newfound performance. There are also subtle but important styling cues, both inside and outside the car, which add extra visual appeal. Outside, the arrival of some stunning ten-spoke forged alloy wheels, not only enhance the car’s overall look but save almost seven kilos in weight versus the standard wheel.
There is also some stunning new paint colour options available, including for the first time on a Vanquish Volante, the very special ‘Diavalo Red’, which was previously limited to the V12 Zagato only.
Inside, the cars get new leather trim colour options including the contemporary blue-black Dark Knight, and bold Fandango Pink if you must! As well as a range of new headlining options that mix quilting with the finest leathers or Alcantara.
At A Glance
Model: Aston Martin Vanquish Volante
Priced From: Around £200,000
Powerplant: Front Mid-Mounted V12
Drivetrain: Rear-Wheel Drive
Transmission: Touchtronic III eight-speed automatic gearbox
Power: 568 bhp at 6650 rpm
Torque: 630 Nm at 5500 rpm
Weight: 1844 kg
0-60 mph: 3.8 seconds
Top Speed: 197 mph
Combined MPG: 22.1
CO2 emission: 298 g/km