Aston Martin Vanquish
The most sophisticated and technologically advanced new model ever to be designed, developed and built by Aston Martin will be on display at the 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show in September.With a maximum speed in excess of 300 km/h (190 mph) and a 6.0 litre V12 engine developing 460 horsepower the totally new Aston Martin Vanquish is now on sale. It is being built at Newport Pagnell and becomes Aston Martin’s new premier, top of the range, flagship model.
Available as either a two or two plus two seat coupe the Aston Martin Vanquish will accelerate to 60 mph in under 4.5 seconds (0-100 km/h in under 5.0 seconds) and 160 km/h (100 mph) in under 10 seconds. Through the application of advanced design techniques and materials it is lighter, stiffer and stronger and offers superior performance to that of the V8 engined Vantage model which it replaces.
In conjunction with the electronic drive-by-wire throttle system which is fitted to the second generation 460 horsepower 6.0 litre V12 Aston Martin engine, finger tip controlled Formula 1 style paddles enable almost imperceptible gear changes to be completed in under 250 milliseconds – less than the blink of an eye.
Advanced electronics also permit the close ratio six speed manual transmission to be programmed to operate automatically with the added facility of a special programme tailored to winter driving conditions.
With close co-operation and technical assistance from the Ford Research & Vehicle Technology Group and Ford Research laboratories the new Aston Martin Vanquish represents the largest ever investment by Aston Martin in advanced technology and it pioneers a series of world firsts in its design and construction. The main body structure utilises carbon fibre, extruded aluminium and composite materials bonded together to form a central monocoque safety cell with additional deformable composite structure energy absorbent zones at both front and rear. It provides high standards of efficiency, structural integrity, torsional rigidity and occupant crash protection.
The V12 Vanquish is being offered for sale throughout the world with more than 70% of the annual production of 300 cars scheduled for customers outside the UK. Advance orders from customers in the USA will account for more than 30% of all sales during the second half of 2001.
A Design Classic
International award winning designer Ian Callum’s elegant, classic body design which reflects the pedigree, heritage and tradition of Aston Martin is both bold and dynamic with finely detailed features for the interior and the exterior.
With the capacity to continue to turn heads the design of the V12 Vanquish is already established as a modern classic. Perfectly proportioned from every aspect, Ian Callum’s design confirms the promise of outstanding “Supercar” performance and the impeccable pedigree of the Aston Martin Vanquish as the new flagship of Aston Martin. Every carefully detailed feature provides graphic evidence of the painstaking craftsmanship and quality which is invested in its construction.
The distinctive radiator grille and lower air intake which have become the hallmarks of a modern Aston Martin are flanked by the equally bold and distinctive auxiliary driving lamps and front direction turn indicators. Both the front wings and bonnet panels incorporate a series of finely detailed compound curves which sweep back to the steeply raked windscreen pillars and low curving roof line.
Deeply sculptured sill and door panels accentuate Ian Callum’s classic design for this most modern of Aston Martins while the prominent rear wheel arches with the short tail section and rear spoiler incorporated in the boot lid complement the classic overall proportions of the V12 Vanquish.
All the exterior body panels are constructed from aluminium with each individual panel hand tailored to the central structure to ensure a perfect panel fit.
The Aston Martin Vanquish is available as either a two or two plus two seat coupe with each and every model hand-built, finished and equipped to the exact and individual requirements of its customer. The new V12 Vanquish benefits from the most comprehensive and exhaustive test programme ever to be undertaken by Aston Martin with 50 prototypes covering more than 1.6 million kilometres (1.0 million miles). Components and systems were subjected to a series of exhaustive trials on test rigs in Ford Research and Development Centres in Britain, mainland Europe and the United States. In order to assess the integrity and durability of the bonded body structure an environmental wind tunnel was employed to subject a Vanquish body to extremes of temperature ranging from minus 40°C to plus 81°C.
In addition to high speed endurance and accelerated durability trials for vehicles and components completed at Ford and component manufacturers proving grounds in Australia, the USA, Canada and Europe, Lotus Engineering were contracted to assist with the development of this totally new car from Aston Martin.
At the concept stage the new V12 Vanquish was previewed at a series of international motor shows in North America and Europe during the first half of 1998.
Such was the response to Project Vantage that immediately following its public unveiling at the North American International Auto Show in January 1998 the decision was taken to proceed with production.
“The wealth and abundance of expertise and technology which is now available to Aston Martin is reflected throughout this new model,” said Dr Ulrich Bez, Chief Executive of Aston Martin. “However it is technology which is appropriate to an Aston Martin and complementary to the unique individual skills and expertise of our craftsmen. It is all technology which is targetted and tailored to provide positive benefits to all our customers.
“During the past three years we have invested more than £2.0 million in the total refurbishment and re-equipment of our Newport Pagnell manufacturing facilities.
“However we will continue to build each car individually so that we can continue to satisfy the most exacting requirements of each customer. In order to maintain and improve on the standards of quality and service which we provide to our customers it will still require eight weeks to complete a Aston Martin Vanquish,” said Ulrich Bez.
The Body Structure
The main body structure of the new V12 Vanquish including the floor and the front and rear bulkheads is formed from extruded aluminium sections bonded and riveted around the central transmission tunnel which is constructed entirely from carbon fibre.
Single piece composite inner body side sections with carbon fibre windscreen pillars are also bonded to the central structure to create a high strength safety cell.
The precise, computer controlled, manufacturing processes which have been developed in Cupertino with Ford Research Laboratories and Nottingham University for the construction of the composite sections and the carbon fibre windscreen pillars are unique to the production of this latest Aston Martin.
Immediately ahead of the driver and passenger compartment a steel, aluminium and carbon fibre subframe carries the engine, transmission and front suspension and is bolted directly to the front bulkhead. There is a further deformable composite structure which employs the distinctive Aston Martin mesh air intake grille as a stressed member located ahead of the engine and front suspension to provide additional crash protection and accommodate the engine, transmission and air conditioning radiators and intercoolers. A completely flat surface has been developed for the underbody enabling air to be channelled into a Venturi section at the rear to assist high speed aerodynamics.
At the rear the composite floor, parcel shelf and side rails of the luggage compartment are also designed to provide additional deformable crash protection together with the extruded aluminium side impact beams located in the doors.
All of the exterior panels, including the roof, bonnet, boot lid, front and rear wings and doors are produced from “super-plastic-formed” and pressed aluminium. However each individual panel is tailored and bonded to the central structure by hand to ensure a perfect fit and finish.
There is a limitless range of body colours and a limitless choice of Connolly hide upholstery for the air-conditioned interior. Each body receives eight coats of paint with eight Connolly hides and 12m² of Wilton carpet being used to complete the furnishing of the interior.
Further development of Aston Martin’s low emissions all alloy twin overhead camshaft 48 valve 6.0 litre V12 engine with new design inlet manifolds, camshafts, valve gear, crankshaft and exhaust system has generated a 10% increase in power.
With the catalysts located immediately adjacent to the exhaust manifold they achieve optimum operating efficiency within 30 seconds to further reduce emissions. To ensure that heat from the engine and exhaust system is insulated from the body structure the entire exhaust system and the front bulkhead is clad in a heat resistant material first developed within the aerospace industry and a unique engine oil to water heat exchanger accelerates and assists operating efficiency.
The six speed close ratio manual transmission which is installed in the new Aston Martin Vanquish is linked to the electronic drive-by-wire throttle and controlled through twin paddles mounted on the steering column. Developed in conjunction with Magnetti-Marelli and Ford RVT the advanced paddle shift gear change incorporates electronics matched to hydraulics to facilitate instantaneous gear changes. Sophisticated electronics also permit the manual transmission to operate automatically with the additional facility of a programme for winter driving conditions which automatically reduces the power and torque of the engine.
Brakes, Suspension and Steering
Anti-lock ventilated and drilled 355mm (front) and 330mm (rear) diameter Brembo disc brakes are fitted to the aluminium alloy road wheels together with variable ratio power steering and independent front and rear suspension systems which incorporate forged aluminium wishbones and cast aluminium front suspension uprights. The rear axle is equipped with a limited slip differential in tandem with electronic traction control which senses potential wheel slippage and automatically reduces engine power and if necessary applies the rear brake system. The Yokohama 255/40 ZR 19 front and 285/40 ZR 19 rear tyres, which have been designed exclusively for the V12 Vanquish and carry the AML initials, are mounted on 19” diameter wheels with 228 mm (9”) width rims at the front and 254 mm (10”) width rims at the rear. Individual tyre pressures and temperatures are monitored through an automatic electronic sensing system.
Owners of the new Aston Martin Vanquish are invited to Newport Pagnell in advance of production to select the body colour and Connolly hide upholstery scheme and either the two or two plus two seat configuration.
A deep centre console unit separates the driver and front passenger seats and incorporates a red engine starter button, the sound system and the climate control system. The white faced major instruments and message centre which can relay information in eleven different languages have been designed in conjunction with Visteon. They are grouped in a binnacle directly in front of the driver with the gear change paddles mounted on the steering column.
The overall interior design is a subtle blend of traditional, classic and modern materials with Connolly hide upholstery matched to contemporary metal interior fittings and finishes. Both the windscreen wipers and lighting system can be programmed to operate automatically. Satellite navigation is also available together with many other features which can be installed to satisfy individual requirements of customers.
The Visteon electronic control system which is integrated into the design of the new Aston Martin Vanquish is the most sophisticated yet to be installed in any model from Aston Martin and has the capacity to process 2.0 million commands per second. It facilitates continuous dialogue between the engine, the transmission and the braking system and communicates information in just 8 milliseconds. It monitors and records the mechanical performance of the entire vehicle and provides a high security anti-theft system. “This will be the most dynamic, technically advanced and sophisticated new model ever to be introduced by Aston Martin,” said Ulrich Bez Chief Executive of Aston Martin. “It will provide exhilarating performance with impeccable handling and is a true driver’s car. We believe the new Aston Martin Vanquish will have the ability to continually exceed the expectations of its owner.”