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Aston Martin Designed to be Driven

    It was mid way through a fairly lackluster week when we got a call from a friend at Naples Luxury Imports. This particular dealer carries the Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin, Maserati, Jaguar, Land Rover and Porsche lines. So, when he calls, good things are going to happen.


    “The guys from Aston Martin are in town with some really cool cars. Want to drive a few?”


     Now, the unedited, unfiltered, off the cuff response would be…“Duh”However, we try to be a bit more refined.“Hell, yes” was all we could come up with. So much for refinement.


     “What models are available to drive?” I asked.


     “I think we can get you set up in a V12 Vantage S and a Vanquish."


     Oh, twist my arm…


     We arrived at the dealership to partake in the driving event. It was an invite only event held by Naples Luxury Imports in conjunction with Aston Martin. Their most elite customers were there. And then there was us… We had a quick meet and greet with the Aston Martin representatives. They were an amicable group of fellows who had a jaw dropping knowledge of the marque they represented. Their enthusiasm toward the Aston Martin product line was second to none. I simply could not wait to get behind the wheel of one of their cars. What was the greatest things about the anticipation? The Aston Martin line is absolutely staggering with respect to performance, looks and luxury with each and every model. Just throw me the keys to any one them and it’s going to be an experience to write home about.


     First on the list just happened to be the 2015 model year V12 Vantage S. Ahhh…the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S… pretty much a race car you can put a license plate on. It looks intimidating and track ready. It has a stance that screams performance and plenty of it. Oh, and did I mention it’s comfortable? Shockingly comfortable, actually. The car looks small and nimble from the outside. Being nearly 6’2 and 225lbs, I had trepidation about comfortably fitting in the Vantage. My comfort concerns were quickly alleviated upon sitting in the well supported front seat. Ergonomics were spot on. The luxury appointments were British hand crafted refinement at its best.


     Oh, but that engine before me… I was quickly wishing I was at Daytona, Sebring or Homestead. This is a race car. Sure, it’s ridiculously luxurious. Its comfortable. It’s everything you’d want in a hand built, luxurious super car. But it’s also edgy. It growls at you. It almost whispers in your ear when you start it, “Drive me fast”. Upon acceleration, that whisper escalates to a roar! This Aston Martin sounds amazingly good. And it should as the exhaust is based on the One-77’s. That’s some good lineage right there.The Vantage S looks great. Sounds even better. It’s a wonderfully luxurious inside, yet the ergonomics are track inspired. What about performance?As I depressed the accelerator and left the dealership, the performance numbers hit me like a Vegas style billboard. 565 horsepower, 205mph top speed, 3.7 seconds 0 to 60. Is there an Aston Martin out there that accelerates faster? Nope… I had to see what this car would do from a stand still. The result? Let’s put it this way… I may or may not have had one of our local finest shake his finger at me from his cruiser in a “no, no, no” fashion. Again, this allegedly may have happened… I’ll neither confirm nor deny this allegation. Once again, let’s put it this way… If said police officer were to have made such an action toward me, it was for a damn good reason. This Aston Martin is fast. I mean really fast. You’re thrown back in your seat. The engine screams. Tunnel vision occurs. And all you really want is about 7 minutes on the Nürburgring to see what this car can do. Driving through Naples, Florida in season is just a tease! Though, accelerating off a corner, I was able to break the rear loose (the traction control keeps you in check while offering the driver and certain amount of, shall we say, “feel”) a bit and that brought a smile to my face.Though our time in the V12 Vantage S was limited, it was not without enjoyment. A track day is an absolute must to truly enjoy this car to it’s fullest.


     On to the Vanquish… The Aston Martin Vanquish Volante.This car is something I’d like to call top down, Grand Touring driving perfection. I admit, I sat in this car with a bit of bias. The Vanquish has always been one of my favorite automobiles and the latest incarnation takes it to a whole new level in the stratosphere of driving luxury and performance.Want a race car? Hop in the V12 Vantage S.Want a refined, luxury driven convertible that you can take to the country club as well as drive at warp speed…the Vanquish Volante is your Aston Martin. I did mention to the Aston Martin rep that, in order to be truly happy, you’ll need a Vanquish Volante for drives along the ocean and the Vantage S for track days. Heck, throw in the Rapide for picking the kids up from school. But that’s something you’ll need to go over with your sales consultant at the dealership. And most likely your financial advisor…


I digress…The Vanquish Volante has a very different feel than the Vantage S. When it needs to be subtle (as subtle as a drop head Aston Martin can be) it can be. Negotiating through busy seasonal traffic in Naples, Florida was an absolute breeze. The transmission shifted flawlessly and smooth. The exhaust tone was not overbearing with the top down but gave the occasional crackle to let you know there was plenty of power there if you need it. And power there is.565 horsepower183, mph top speed, 0 to 60 in 4.1 seconds. Very impressive for this 4 passenger, luxury, Grand Touring convertible! With all of its refinement and luxurious finish, I almost felt badly about flooring the car. Almost. The “vroooooooooooom” of the exhaust is a symphony to the ears with the car’s top down.All of the power you could ever want or need from a car this gorgeous was underneath your right foot. This car is fast. This car is smooth. This car is the Aston Martin Vanquish Volante. And there is nothing else like it out there. I highly recommend you go to your closest Aston Martin dealer and see their lines of automobiles for yourself.



Here are some specs from Aston Martin on the two cars we drove.


Aston Martin V12 Vantage S

  • SAM28 All-Alloy, Quad Overhead Camshaft 48 valve V12

  • 565 Horsepower at 6,750 RPM

  • 457 lb ft Torque at 5,750 RPM

  • 0 to 60 3.7 seconds

  • 205 mph top speed

  • Sportshift lll, Seven Speed Automated Manual Transmission With Electronic Shift By Wire Control System

  • Limited Slip Differential

  • Extruded Bonded Aluminum VH Body Structure Aluminum, Magnesium Alloy, Composite and Steel BodyCarbon Fibre Front Splitter and Rear Diffuser


Aston Martin Vanquish Volante

  • 48 Valve V12

  • 565 Horsepower at 6,750 RPM

  • 457 lb ft Torque at 5,500 RPM

  • 0 to 60 4.1 seconds

  • 183 mph top speed

  • Six Speed Touchtronic 2 Automatic/Sequential Manual Gearbox

  • Limited Slip Differential

  • Aluminum, Magnesium Alloy and Carbon Fibre Composite BodyBest



Places to Drive these Aston Martins in our area of Florida:


  • Hop in the Vanquish Volante, put the top down and take a drive down 5th Avenue in Naples. While you're there, park by the corner of 5th Ave and 6th Street and have a Panini at the 5th Avenue Coffee Company & 6th Street Diner.


  • Grab the keys to the V12 Vantage S and take a spirited ride out Immokalee toward Ave Maria. You’ll find plenty of open road to stretch the legs of this race inspired Aston Martin. You may even find a few twisty turns as well!


  • Take the Vanquish for a Sunday morning drive up to Fort Myers, over the Sanibel Causeway and out to Captiva Island. The view with the top down will be simply gorgeous. Stop at the Mucky Duck at the end of Andy Rosse Lane for lunch on the beach.


  • Get the V12 Vantage out of the garage and attend one of the many world class automobile races the state of Florida hold each year; the 24 Hours of Daytona or the 12 Hours of Sebring are must sees. The drivers will be envious when they see what you’re driving!


  • Arrive in style at the many monthly enthusiast events along the west coast. High end dealerships such as Naples Luxury Imports and Naples Motorsports hold Saturday events. Your Vanquish will be a show stopper at any of these get togethers!


  • Throw the dice and decide between the V12 Vantage S or the Vanquish Volante for an epic drive to Key West. Take 41 across the alligator infested everglades, head south and take the Overseas Highway all the way down the Keys. Rest, relax and have a drink at Sloppy Joe’s when you arrive.

© 2014 à la Moto Magazine

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