High Speed: The New 2015 Models From Aston Martin

 

WRITTEN BY JENNY PETERS | PHOTO COURTESY OF ASTON MARTIN

Walking up to a heady fleet of Aston Martin automobiles, it’s hard not to immediately start channeling your inner James Bond. For there is no other vehicle on the planet that is so readily identified with a fictional character—and with epitomizing cool.

When British super spy 007 drove his first Aston Martin, it was as the main character in Ian Fleming’s famous novels. But when Bond hit the big screen—behind the wheel of the DB5 in Goldfinger—it was history in the making, the first of many cinematic moments featuring 007 and Aston Martin. Although partial to the DB5, Bond’s also been in the cockpit of the brand’s DBS; the V8 Vantage (both the Volante convertible and Coupe variations); the Vanquish; and, most recently, the DB10, which will appear in Spectre, the newest, in-production film in the James Bond franchise.

The DB10s are bespoke models; 10 have been specially made for Mr. Bond and will never be produced by the company; look for these wheels November 6, when the latest film installment lands in theaters. There are plenty of other sleekly gorgeous Aston Martin sports cars that you can pull into your own garage, though.

We tested four of the British marque’s best for 2015, ranging from the entry level V8 Vantage GT ($99,900 MSRP) to a top-of-the-line beauty, the V12 Vanquish Volante convertible ($301,295 MSRP). In between, the muscular V12 Vantage S Roadster convertible ($196,495 MSRP) and the V12 Rapide S sedan ($203,295 MSRP).

Traditionalists will love the sporty V8 Vantage GT with its 6-speed manual transmission, tight clutch and all, while 21st-century purists may prefer the 7-speed Sportshift II automated manual transmission, which offers the same quick-shift control, with no need to push a floor clutch. Either way, the two-seater Vantage GT is a gas to drive, roaring down straightaways and taking sharp curves with nary a slip.

Easing into the two-seater V12 Vantage S Roadster convertible and hitting the start button is a car lover’s dream moment, as the 565 bhp, 6.0-liter engine roars to life, then settles into a quiet hum. This pinnacle of powerful goes from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds; in a blink, find yourself traveling at well over 100 mph on the freeway, without feeling it for a moment. You will, however, hear it, as the engine, built with racecar technology, gives off a strong growl, especially when driven in Sport or Track mode.

The V12 Rapide S is something of a family sports car, with four doors and four seats and even the option of putting in a twin-screen rear-seat DVD entertainment system. But don’t be fooled, this swift 8-speed ride can hit 200 mph or higher.

The ultimate Aston Martin is the luxurious two-door V12 Vanquish Volante convertible, with its gorgeously appointed leather seats, spacious interior (offering added comfort for taller drivers), stunning extruded-aluminum and carbon-fiber exterior, and an overall elegant look. When driving, it’s hard to not swoon over the car’s precision handling, outrageous acceleration (0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, the quickest accelerating series production vehicle in Aston Martin’s 101-year history), and lightening-quick gear changes.

If the price one must pay to feel like James Bond is owning an Aston Martin, then we’d say it’s more than worth it.

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