Hello, then, new Vanquish S. What you see before you is the last naturally aspirated V12 from Aston, the last car built on the existing aluminium architecture, the last Aston to use the flyaway rally-style handbrake… a series of lasts, packaged in what still looks like an extremely handsome, contemporary super GT.
While the front has those familiar, huge Vanquish headlights, new aerodynamics from chief engineer Matt Becker mean there is a very low front splitter while the tight-lipped rear with its funky LED tail lights gets a spoiler and quad exhausts poking through exposed carbon fibre. The S version looks markedly more aggressive than the “bog-standard” Vanquish, and chief designer Marek Reichman has done a great job of contemporising a shape that has been around since 2001. The uprated V12 now gets 595bhp at 7,000rpm, which means this front-engined two-plus-two really forms the border between GT and supercar territories.
Slot the huge crystal key fob into the central slot (Aston has thankfully ditched the “Emotional Control Unit” nomenclature) and the engine fires into life under that low, wide bonnet. This is not a car for shy, retiring folk – it makes an enormous noise both during acceleration and deceleration. Push the Sport button on the steering wheel with its odd flattened sides, and the noise is even more urgent, with loud roars between the whippet-quick gearchanges from the revised ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox.