ASTON MARTIN - ABOUT LAST NIGHT
Aston Martin - About last night - Luxury Travel Magazine
About Last Night
|By: Sam Tinson, Issue 41 – Summer 2010|
|(Aston Martin Review)|
|MOTORING WRITER SAM TINSON FELL IN LOVE WITH THE LATEST HAND-BUILT ASTON MARTIN WHEN HE TOOK HER FOR A TEST DRIVE TO THE PALAZZO VERSACE ON QUEENSLAND’S GOLD COAST. SADLY FOR HIM, IT WAS A ONE NIGHT STAND.|
|It takes a pretty special car to make any sort of impression at Palazzo Versace. Rocking up at the Gold Coast’s most stylish holiday destination in any old luxury motor just won’t cut the caviar. BMWs and Mercs are two a dozen here. The bellboy probably drives a Porsche. Even the presence of a Rolls Royce Phantom on the forecourt garners no more attention than the arrival of the morning bread van. I know because there was one there when I arrived and no-one was paying the slightest interest to it.|
That’s because they were all looking at the Aston Martin V12 Vantage I was driving. Not just looking; gawping. Designer shades were removed. Expensively tanned jaws hit the floor. Not one, not two, but three blackclad Versace minions ghosted up to the car’s perfectly formed flanks offering to open, fetch or carry whatever they could. As far as making an impression goes, my work here was done.
Those in the know (for that read anyone who’s driven it) are already calling the V12 Vantage the greatest Aston Martin ever made. It is certainly the fastest, reaching 100km/h from standstill in a shade over four seconds. But the legendary British firm has made some exceptional cars in its 95-year history. What is it about this one – which after all is basically the brand’s biggest engine shoehorned into it’s smallest, lightest car – that’s so special? Well for a start Aston is only building a thousand, which instantly puts the V12 Vantage into the sell-your-children-to-getone category of desirable cars. And yes, it’s very quick. The hand-built 6.0-litre, 510bhp engine is a tricked out version of that which powers the brand’s flagship DBS model, and a glorious thing it is too. It delivers a frankly obscene amount of torque (570Nm), so no matter where the rev counter’s hovering there is always an awesome amount of power at your disposal. And it stops just as well as it goes, thanks to the huge carbon ceramic disc brakes that come as standard.
Throwing the Vantage around the twisty mountain roads of the Gold Coast hinterland is a humbling experience. The heart-in-the-mouth speed and assurance with which the car dispatches every bend (accompanied by a velvet-clad howl that is part jet-fighter, part demented wolfhound) is made all the more exhilarating by the feeling that no matter how hard you push it, the Vantage always has more to give.
But for all its fire and brimstone this is still an Aston Martin, and therefore at heart a very refined beast. In traffic the mountain lion becomes a pussy cat, albeit one with a very menacing purr. All that torque makes for impeccable manners at low speeds (you can comfortably throb along in fourth if you’re too lazy to shift down) and with the ride height just 15mm lower than the standard V8 Vantage there’s no danger of grounding on speed bumps. The cockpit is classic Aston; ergonomically perfect and a sensual treat (especially when optioned with alcantara trimmed sports seats and steering wheel). And there’s space out back for not one but two sets of golf clubs, or enough luggage for a long and luxurious weekend away.
This practical side, this generosity of spirit, is what ultimately makes the V12 Vantage so alluring. Being fast, desirable and drop-dead gorgeous is a supercar’s job, it’s why we love them. But this Aston Martin goes above and beyond that remit. It’s a supercar that actually loves you back.
Sadly in my case the love affair was all too brief. As I relinquish the Aston’s polished crystal ignition key to its rightful owner, the pianist in the grand renaissance-styled lobby of the Palazzo Versace tinkles out a melancholic tune. For a second I’m lost in the poignancy of the moment. But then the piano is drowned out by a hearty race-bred yowl as twelve cylinders fire up and my beloved redlines off the forecourt like a thing possessed. Greatest Aston Martin ever? Who am I to argue?