Rapide. Vantage. Virage. These are all words that, if you are a fan of cars, will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention and sing God Save the Queen. Though no doubt already in the midst of a patriotic fervour, let’s also throw some more at you: DB9 and DBS.
Phew. That’s enough of that!
Aston Martin Lagonda Limited, or Aston Martin to everybody, have been creating desirable cars since 1913 and as they prepare to enter their centenary year, their commitment to beauty and innovation shows no signs of waning.
The baby of the bunch, the Rapide, has only been around since 2010 but this six litre grand tourer has already gained legions of admirers. Luxury is prevalent throughout the car from the ‘as-standard’ Bang & Olufsen 16 speaker sound system with Bluetooth, mp3 and iPod connectivity to the bi-xenon headlamps and LED tail lamps.
Due to a diminishing market for luxury sedans, the production run for the Rapide is being curbed this year meaning that this one day could become a rare classic.
The current model is based on a concept car known as the V8 Vantage. By the time it was released it had been repackaged as the V12 Vantage which Jeremy Clarkson memorably described as “wonderful, wonderful, wonderful” on an episode of BBC2’s Top Gear.
The Vantage contains the same V12 engine as the DBS (see below) and churns out an impressive 510bhp and a top speed of 190mph. Economy is not a strong point of the Vantage with a combined cycle of around 14mpg but you don’t buy an Aston Martin for economy.
By the time the original Virage was discontinued in the year 2000, only 1,050 had ever been produced making the decision to resurrect the range in 2011 a surprising one. However, while not massively successful in its modern incarnation, the Virage has already sold as many in two years as it did in its original 12 year run.
Complaints about ride comfort have been slightly addressed in the newest model but this car will need to go some way to shake off the tag of being a DBS compromise.
DBS and DB9
The DBS has spent the past few years as the Aston Martin flagship model (and was featured in the 2006 Bond movie Casino Royale) but is due to be replaced by the new Vanquish. The car is luxury and innovation throughout and will be sorely missed.
The DB9 is the bad little brother of the DBS and comes in two flavours: a coupe and a convertible. Both are excellent cars and either would be a fitting tribute to Aston Martin’s 100th year.