V12 Vanquish S
V12 Vanquish S

V12 Vanquish S

(2004 - 2007)

At the Paris Salon, September 2004, the long awaited 'super' V12 Vanquish was first shown to an expectant public. Some may have said that the image of the V12 Vanquish may have suffered slightly in the shadow of the universally acclaimed DB9. So the V12 Vanquish S was intended to add significant distance between the two competing models. The exterior changes were really quite subtle; a splitter at the front to improve aerodynamic stability, a more rounded and open grille for better cooling and a redesigned boot lid to give better downforce. The quoted drag co-efficient was thus improved slightly from 0.33 to 0.32.

V12 Vanquish S

Not so subtle was the claim that AM made for the V12 Vanquish S – a top speed in excess of 200mph, which at the time have made it the fastest road going Aston Martin ever, a crown only recently lost to the One-77 and V12 Vantage S. To achieve the magical 200, the V12 engine, still displacing 5.9 litres (AM love to call it 6 litres) was enhanced with new cylinder heads featuring fully machined inlet ports and combustion chambers to improve airflow, revised engine mapping and new fuel injectors. The result of the reworking  moved the output to 520 bhp (up from 460) with a very useful 425 lb ft of torque (up from 400).

The suspension, brakes and steering were exactly the same as has already previewed on the Sport Dynamic Package announced a little under a year previously. You may think that the wheels are the same as the 2001MY V12 Vanquish – not so – if you count the spokes, you will see that the S wheel has 11, one less than the standard car. AM claimed the 0-60mph dash could be achieved in 4.8 seconds – which is 0.3 seconds slower than they initially claimed for the standard car. This is to be expected by the change in the final drive ratio, raised from 3.69:1 to 4.30:1, needed to achieve the headline grabbing 200mph claimed top speed.

As with the standard car, the S could have been ordered as either a 2 seater (2+0) with a shelf for luggage or a 2+2 with rear seats only suitable for small children.

The V12 Vanquish S interior has some differences from the original car. The central backlit etched glass starter button had already been taken from the DB9 but the big change came with the whole centre console covered in leather instead of being painted. For the 2006MY V12 Vanquish S, the interior received a DB9 inspired make-over to the centre console. The a new 6.5 inch full colour satellite navigation system screen took prominence moving the starter button and gear selection switches down. These last of the line cars are sometimes referred to as ‘big screen’ although I must point out also that the sat-nav wasn’t fitted on some overseas markets where the mapping data did not at the time exist. The climate control knobs were similar to those in the DB9 and the in car entertainment system was now a 900W Alpine system (but Aston Martin branded) that has replaced the previous Linn system. Oddly the clock moved so far down the console this it must be hardly visible to the driver. The cupholder was revised and the car had a Bluetooth phone system. The 2006 V12 Vanquish was I believe unchanged on the exterior except for the adoption of a bee-sting radio antenna at the back of the roof similar to that seen on the smaller V8 Vantage.

Features of the V12 Vanquish S

How to spot a V12 Vanquish S

Although discontinued in 2007, the US got their last V12 Vanquish S, chassis 502254 a year before in June 2006. Federal law required automatic deactivation of the passenger airbag with a child in the seat and it just wasn’t worth the effort for AM to re-engineer this feature with only a years worth of production left in the model.

Delivery of the first V12 Vanquish S appeared to have occurred very shortly after the Paris Salon launch announcement as I saw my first  customer ‘S’ in early October 2004. The price at launch for the S was only slightly more than the original car – up from £163,000 to £174,000.

By the end of production in July 2007, the total production of the ‘S’ had reached 1086 examples including the desirable  Ultimate Edition. It was to be the last ever car to be built at the Tickford Works in Newport Pagnell and as such, will always be considered one of the greatest Aston Martins of all time.

Aston Martin V12 Vanquish S