Words by Willie G.
“Oh Jesus, what did this fool do?” It’s what immediately ran through my head as the fawn- eyed valet waved me over. “Sir, I can’t start your car, or disengage the emergency brake.” Sir, haha – I’m no young buck, but it gets me every time. On second thought though, I was piloting an Aston Martin Vanquish. Never mind. Sir was dreadfully appropriate I suppose.
On that note, let’s kick this one off with a tutorial. Just in case you – like myself – happen to fall into the scenario where you have a chance to whip one of these hand-built British damsels, you need to look the part from the get-go. For starts, Aston Martin’s current definition of a key is a weighty hunk of metal and etched glass, with absolutely no manner of attachment to a chain or the likes. Any knowledge of current automotive design trends will have you – like my rookie valet – in search of the push button ignition. But in a twist that seems right out of Q’s MI6 bag of tricks, you’re actually holding the key and the push start at the same damn time. Press it into the dash while braking, and just try to keep that stiff upper lip while its 5.9-liter V-12 growls itself awake; it’s a pleasant dissonance that would even have Grumpy Cat cheesin’ like the Chester Cheetah of yore. Oh, and the handbrake? It’s down there on your left. Button in, all the way up, then all the way down; almost like one good, solid fist-pump, not like you’ve actually ever done one, right?
Now in motion, let’s touch on that glowing red ‘S’ in your lower periphery vision. If you’re not exactly confident behind the wheel of a base $282,000 ride, it’s best to switch that fella off right away. As with any rear-wheel-drive supercar, an ill-timed pedal push could quickly send you into a spin – or guardrail – but the torque demons of the Vanquish are almost effortlessly provoked. Pair that with the fact that every last body panel of the car is carbon fiber, and you may quickly reconsider any juvenile urge to get hyphy and go dumb. But on the flip side, Aston’s electronic babysitters are almost too much for any reasonable driver to bother with. Instantly upon depression of the wheel-mounted Sport mode, the menacing exhaust note and overly aggressive engine are beat into submission, while the car becomes a mere shell of itself – albeit a stunning one. Everyday acts like passing a gravel- spewing freight truck may actually have you labeling it slow. Fact of the matter is the Vanquish ain’t a car to drive around slow in. It’s beyond trying to get yourself noticed (though you will look like a million bucks from any angle). It’s an all-out race car that’s been prepped just enough for street driving.
Style-wise, while it may seem like a copout, there’s really not much to say that the Vanquish doesn’t itself proclaim. From a direct profile, you’ll see hints of Jaguar’s XK but the similarities to it – or anything else on the road – end there. Sitting inside is in essence the man-sized version of a humidor; a snug but comfortable confine that’ll keep you firm and fresh, whatever your surroundings may be. Just keep in mind that if you do at some point step out, you may yourself have to dish out a few pointers to the inexperienced. Tip ‘em anyway – they’re trying.