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Aston Martin Vanquish Centenary Edition

By raccars Published

10 second verdict: Exclusive collector’s edition of the finest Aston Martin currently on sale.

Price: £210,000
Gearbox: Six-speed Touchtronic 2
0-60mph: 4.1secs
Top speed: 183mph
Fuel economy: 19.6mpg
CO2: 335g/km
On sale: Now
Insurance Group: 50

Three UK Aston Martin Vanquish facts

The Centenary Edition gets sterling silver Aston Martin badges front and rear – stamped in Birmingham’s Jewelry Quarter
Aston Martin launched a Volante soft-top version of the Vanquish in 2013
The graduated paint takes one person 18 hours to complete

What is it?

The Aston Martin Vanquish is the pinnacle of the firm’s range. The all-new car was launched in 2012, the firm’s 99th year: 2013 is its 100th year and so, fittingly, there’s now a Centenary Edition model – which RAC Cars has tested.

The Vanquish is already a beautiful car. The body, fully constructed from carbon fibre, is a delight to look at; its powerful curves and graceful sculpting is the perfect example of modern Aston Martin design. The Centenary Edition takes things further.

Exclusive features for the Aston Martin Vanquish Centenary Edition include a hand-finished graduated paint finish, solid sterling silver wing badges (yes, real silver!), soft black leather seats from the One-77 and more solid sterling silver plaques. With just 100 to be built (each individually numbered), it’s a guaranteed collector’s car.

Aston Martin also offers Centenary Edition versions of the V8 Vantage, DB9 and Rapide, but it’s the Vanquish Centenary Edition that’s most alluring. It’s also a great car to drive…

Performance

The Aston Martin Vanquish uses the most powerful engine Aston Martin has ever made. Producing 573hp, the 6.0-litre V12 accelerates to 62mph from rest in 4.1 seconds (aided by Aston’s first-ever launch control function) and is capable of 183mph. It drives a six-speed automatic gearbox with steering wheel paddleshifts.

It sounds absolutely fantastic as soon as you press the real glass key into the dashboard. The blaring rumble from the exhausts is sensational (particularly in sport mode) and the mechanical hum from the big ultra-smooth V12 is like nothing else. It’s a real event of an engine that you’ll never tire of listening to.

It’s satisfyingly fast, too. Not Porsche-rapid in response, but the extra pulling power of this latest engine gives creamy shove in response to the throttle that, if you really let it rev, is thrillingly fast. Being such a large engine, the response at high revs is immediate too, adding to the effect. It’s a fine performance GT car.

Ride and handling

Aston Martin fits high-tech adaptive damping to the Vanquish. This sophisticated suspension gives it the handling ability to match its ample performance.

The rear-drive Aston handles with real class. The steering is well weighted and very precise, while the chassis is balanced and very immediate. It’s a large car but is still easy to place on tight roads thanks to the precision of the setup. This gives you confidence to exploit the power and revs of the big V12 up front.

The suspension has three modes, regular and a firmer, more sporting setup (plus a track-focused setting): the default setup is poised and fluid, yet still sporting, while the firm setup gives added sharpness and control, but could be too stiff and jiggly across some British B-roads.

Standard on the Vanquish Centenary Edition are full carbon fibre brakes, which both work brilliantly and give great pedal feel too. Pity the handbrake, a fly-off device mounted to the right of the driver’s seat, is not as sophisticated.

Inside story

The beautifully finished interior of the Aston Martin Vanquish Centenary Edition is an absolute pleasure to sit in. Impeccably hand-built to the highest order, it’s a visual treat and a feast of sensations and tactility. It’s impossible not to be seduced by it.

The incredibly soft leather seats from the One-77 are some of the best in the business and help you adopt a purposeful, perfect driving position. This is a car you could sit in for hours.

You may need to, in order to work out some of the buttons on the dash, or the intricacies of the sat nav system. It’s a lovely dash but not the easiest to use, despite the clever smartphone-style touch-sensitive controls introduced in the Vanquish. In places, it is dated, but the finish helps you forgive a lot.

Marketplace

The Aston Martin Vanquish Centenary Edition competes in an exalted area of the new car marketplace. Rivals are just as likely to be a luxury boat or expensive jewelry as another car.

This limited-to-100 edition is particularly exclusive, and likely to be bought by serial Aston Martin collectors. So, while it costs £210,000, this is unlikely to be an issue – and while Ferrari offers the F12 Berlinetta and McLaren retails the 12C, they’re unlikely to be considered alongside this.

Verdict

The Aston Martin Vanquish Centenary Edition is an exclusive car with exclusive talents. Fast, talented and able, it is also beautiful to look at and divine to sit in.

This limited edition model carries details that add guaranteed collectability, not least that amazing paint finish. It’s a fine way for the firm to mark its centenary and is guaranteed to be a real collector’s item in years to come.

Five great used Aston Martins

Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Prices from £35,000
The baby of the Aston Martin range, but it still packs a 4.2-litre V8 – later extended to 4.7 litres. The firm’s Porsche 911 rival and, today, an absolute bargain. Buy one from a franchised dealer from £35,000.

Aston Martin DB9
Prices from £40,000
The Aston Martin DB9 was launched before the V8 Vantage: this was the car that bought the firm’s modern styling themes into the mainstream. It’s long been a popular model and, with a 6.0-litre V12 supplying ample performance, it’s easy to see why.

Aston Martin DB9 Volante
Prices from £50,000
The Volante is the open-top version of the Aston Martin DB9. An elegant soft-top, for many it’s the preferable variant and the epitome of modern Aston Martin motoring.

Aston Martin DBS
Prices from £80,000
The Aston Martin DBS was launched to the world as the James Bond car in 2006. A very elegant and upmarket GT car, it’s the pinnacle of the DB9 line and its bold carbon fibre lines are sure to make it a future collectable.

Aston Martin Rapide
Prices from £95,000
The four-door, four-seat Aston Martin, and the firm’s first genuine four-up express since the 1970s Lagonda. Very elegant and suave, it remains desirable because of its rear doors, not in spite of them.

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