By Mike Espindle
I drove the new Aston Martin flagship last a few months ago on a track outside of New Orleans. And now, the company has released a fleet unit for me to “live in” for the next few days.
After picking up the Vanquish outside the Elite Traveler HQ in Manhattan I whipped it onto the highway heading for my residence in the Hudson River Valley, home to some of the best and most beautiful test roads in the country. And this 5.9-liter V12 powered grand tourer did not disappoint. Highway handling was immaculate. Even letting the car’s automatic mode take over, there was ample oomph to whiz by the inevitable mini-vans that clog my daily commute. If I needed to up the ante, steering wheel-selectable sport mode and auto-shock-dampening functions shrink-wrap the handling dynamics of the car down to something like a one-man, highly maneuverable bobsled. I didn’t time myself, but I don’t think I’ve gotten home any quicker.
Speaking of time, I always like to pair my extreme driving adventures with an appropriate wrist instrument, and the racing inspiration of this Linde Werdelin SpidoSpeed chrono ( a limited edition from one of the reigning masters of adventure watchmaking) is obvious. The techy skeletonized case is extra-lightweight–almost undetectable on the wrist–and the bold black/orange color scheme is eminently legible in nearly any road lighting condition. I’ll be putting the slick chronograph function to use later in my trip, for sure. The subdials are gauged for 30 minutes and 12 hours respectively, perfect for racing/rallying applications.
This report will be continued in an upcoming issue, but let me say a few words about the car’s interior. Mine sports a rich, deep red leather cockpit that is at once comfortable yet optimized for racing. Carbon fiber is included in the car all over the place, outside and in, but the shade is so dark and so perfectly blended with the overall design vibe, it doesn’t scream at you–which is a plus. Too much carbon can make a car seem gimmicky or faddish. The Vanquish interior is as timeless and classic as any product out of Gaydon, or Newport Pagnell (the ancestral home of the brand), for that matter. An easy-to-use sleek center control stack makes way for deep, leather-lined console storage areas that are more residential than automotive, like bureau-top leather cufflink and watch trays. And the premium Bang & Olufsen sound system? I’ll let you know when I get off the next patch of road on my itinerary.