Last month, Aston Martin let off a little firework in Italy at the Villa d'Este show ahead of its centenary celebration next year; a firework in the shape of the ‘Project AM310'.
That, says Aston, was a preview of the next 100 years of the company. Today, Internet, we can reveal the first step on that journey with the resurrection of a legend: meet the new Aston Martin Vanquish.
The company has returned to one of its coolest ever names with the new AM 310 Vanquish, which, consequently, consigns the DBS to the history annals. This new Vanquish will now sit at the top of the Aston tree, and so it should - with the exception of the One-77, it's the most powerful car they will build.
Power comes from a thoroughly reworked version of the venerable all-alloy 6.0-litre V12, positioned 19mm lower than the DBS for improved agility. It features a revised block, a new head, dual variable valve timing, an uprated fuel pump, enlarged throttle bodies, a revised ‘big wing' intake manifold and fully machined combustion chambers.
As such, it now produces 565bhp and 457lb ft of torque - delivered lower down the rev range, says Aston - sent through a six-speed automated manual transmission that results in a 0-62mph time of 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 183mph. That's 8mph less than the outgoing DBS. Ferrari's F12 Berlinetta - the Vanquish's probable sparring partner - comfortably eclipses these stats, but of course, battles like this are won in the heart, not the head. Both these cars' collective worth in the real world won't rest solely on bald facts.
Still, it's no runner-up in the tech stakes; every single panel on the Vanquish is made from carbon fibre, and AM's ‘Vertical Horizontal' (VH) aluminium architecture has been re-engineered to be 25 per cent stiffer than the DBS. The front has also been redesigned (to allow for that engine lowering) and is now 13 per cent lighter than the DBS.
And for the first time on an Aston, there's a proper motorsport-derived Launch Control system too. There's also stability control, torque control and adaptive damping (normal, sport and track), and as is the protocol for such cars these days, it clocked up thousands of hardened testing miles at the Nürburgring before being signed off.
Of course, you'll be wondering about those looks; familiarly Aston but with a hint of One-77. That's the idea: while the One-77 is actually the fastest and most powerful Aston ever built, it's sold out, so Aston wanted to stay faithful to the original V12 Vanquish ("so beloved of AM fans worldwide") while paying respect to the One-77.
It's a similar story inside too, with a One-77-esque centre console, infotainment system and even an identical steering wheel. And compared to the DBS, there's less reason for your limbs to complain inside: legroom is up 37mm, shoulder room broadens out by 25mm, elbow room by 87mm, and knee room extends by 50mm. And you can configure that interior as you wish: it's available as a proper four seater (2+2), or as a strict two seater (2+0). You know which box to tick. And we doubt you'll care much, but Aston has somehow found acres of boot space over the DBS: the new Vanquish gets 368 litres (186 litres for the DBS).
Says Dr Ulrich Bez, Aston CEO: "The Vanquish is the ultimate expression of Aston Martin design ethos, engineering innovation and technical ability. I believe the car unveiled today once again puts this great British brand at the top of its class."
Prices start from £189,995, with first deliveries expected later this year. Welcome back, Vanquish, we've been expecting you...