Beauty takes precedence in Aston Martin’s rarified world. The British automaker prides itself on building some of the world’s most powerful sports cars, but each is meticulously sculpted and crafted to please the eye as much as they do the driver’s soul. There is arguably no finer example of this than the 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish, and its premium Carbon Edition turns up the wick from stunning to spectacular.
Like all of Aston’s current models, the Vanquish is built on an aluminum monocoque chassis that provides a lightweight, yet very stiff, platform. Its skin is formed in carbon fiber that’s finished by hand to ensure each curve is as smooth and flowing as the designer intended. The rear decklid, with an integrated spoiler, is formed as a single piece, and for the Carbon Edition trim it is finished in a monochromatic color to intensify its optical impact.
Aston calls the Vanquish a 2+2, but its opulent cabin is best enjoyed alone or with a companion; rear seating is limited to the exceptionally compact. Everyone, however, is coddled in quilted leather hides. The instrument panel is jeweled with authentic glass buttons and metal switchgear surrounding traditional analog gauges, and the center stack is thoroughly modern, featuring capacitive-touch buttons for the infotainment and climate controls.
While Aston Martin offers the Vanquish as a two-door coupe, the $317,995 Volante Carbon Edition is a drop-top fitted with a multi-layer soft top with a heated glass rear window — unlike a bulky hard top, which require enormous amounts of room to store, the power-operated compact fabric roof retracts completely out of sight beneath a flush tonneau cover. And it leaves enough trunk space for a picnic basket and a bottle or two of the appropriate vintage.
As expected from twelve cylinders, the engine is potent — fitted beneath the ventilated hood is Aston’s venerable 5.9-liter twelve, rated at 565 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. To improve overall balance, the gearbox is mounted in the rear of the chassis, connected to the engine with a carbon-fiber propeller shaft. With turbine-like power delivery, the V12 is capable of launching the Aston Martin Vanquish Volante Carbon to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, and it won’t hit the aerodynamic wall until 197 mph — pleasing the soul as much as the eyes.
©2015 AutoWeb / Drew Phillips Photography