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The Aston Martin Vanquish is a $300,000 angry piece of art that you can't stop looking at

Vanquish 55Hollis Johnson

There are cars, and then there are Aston Martins. The boutique British sports car maker doesn’t build transportation; it is a purveyor of automotive art. And though they may not all be a striking as the Vulcan hypercar or as classically beautiful as the Aston Martin DB5, Aston Martins have always been stylish, powerful, and attention-grabbing. So much so that Aston is the car of choice for the world’s most famous fictional super spy. No, we’re not talking about Jason Bourne or Austin Powers.

At the top of the Aston Martin hierarchy is their flagship grand tourer — the Vanquish. The multimillion-dollar Vulcan is a limited-edition, track-only offering to 23 customers and the Lagonda Taraf is, well, a Lagonda. The Vanquish is a car we’ve had our eye on for some time. Last year, we named the Aston one of the most beautiful news cars money can buy.

Recently, Business Insider had the opportunity to check out a 2016 Vanquish for a few days. Aston Martin delivered the silver super GT to our New York office one afternoon. And from the moment we laid eyes on the Vanquish it was hard to turn away.

Photos by Hollis Johnson unless otherwise credited.

The Vanquish is the latest model to serve as Aston Martin's flagship offering.

Hollis Johnson

The carbon-fibre-intensive super GT has big shoes to fill.

Hollis Johnson

It succeeds the DBS and ...

Aston Martin

Sadly, Bond's DB10 from 'Spectre' won't make it to production.

Aston Martin

The Vanquish sits a top a lineup consisting of the Vantage ...

Aston Martin

... the Rapide and ...

Aston Martin

... the outgoing DB9.

Hollis Johnson

... draws heavily from another one of Reichman's designs -- the million-dollar Aston Martin One-77 hypercar.

Aston Martin

However, the Vanquish is latest and perhaps the final interpretation of the design language which originated in ...

Hollis Johnson

... 1993 with the DB7 by former Aston designer Ian Callum.

Wikimedia Commons

That design theme continued under Reichman's predecessor Henrik Fisker, with cars such as the DB9.

Aston Martin

And If this is the final hurrah for this design theme, it will be a true shame because it presents a truly gorgeous silhouette.

Hollis Johnson

For Vanquish duty, the Aston look has been made leaner and meaner.

Hollis Johnson

The front end is punctuated by the the traditional Aston grille and a low-slung carbon-fibre splitter.

Hollis Johnson

The side profile of the Vanquish is defined by sculpted wheel arches and aggressive rear haunches.

Hollis Johnson

The rear end of the Aston features a sleek fastback design and a partially integrated spoiler.

Hollis Johnson

The angular tail lights and much the rear-end design are lifted from the One-77.

Hollis Johnson

In fact, the body of the Vanquish is crafted entirely out of aerospace-grade carbon fibre. According to Aston, the car is 25% lighter than the DBS it replaced.

Hollis Johnson

The grey Vanquish delivered to Business Insider is an updated version of car that debuted in 2013.

Hollis Johnson

The biggest change is the addition of a new 8-speed ZF automatic transmission, which replaces an overmatched 6-speed unit. According to Aston, the new 8-speed can change gears in just 130 milliseconds.

Hollis Johnson

Lift up the Aston's long carbon-fibre hood and ...

Hollis Johnson

... you'll find something very familiar. Aston's venerable 6.0-litre, V-12 engine. In this case, the mighty powerplant produces 568 horsepower.

Hollis Johnson

Unlike its fellow English GTs, the Rolls-Royce Wraith and ...

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

... Bentley Continental GT ...

Bentley

... the Vanquish's V-12 creates its power without the aid of turbochargers.

Hollis Johnson

However, it should be noted that Aston Martin will move to a 5.2-litre, twin-turbocharged V-12 for its next-generation GT cars.

Hollis Johnson

As for Aston's current big-boy V-12, the engine doesn't exactly represent the cutting edge of powertrain technology. There's no kinetic-energy recovery, nor does it have hybrid electric torque assist or cylinder deactivation. But it doesn't matter. There's no replacement for displacement, and this old-school V-12 does its job like a boss.

Hollis Johnson

As a result, Aston claims the Vanquish hits 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and achieves a top speed of 201 mph, while achieving an average of 22 mpg of fuel economy. In any case, it's virtually impossible to legally explore the limits of its performance on public roads.

Hollis Johnson

Stopping power is courtesy of a set of massive carbon-ceramic brakes.

Hollis Johnson

The Vanquish is stunning to drive. Step on the gas and the V-12 roars to life. The dual exhausts bellow as the motor pulls the car the through the gears like the an angry bull. In fact, the booming growl emitted by the V-12 makes you want to drop a couple of gears to make it growl louder.

Hollis Johnson

In the corners the Vanquish remains planted and conveys a sense of great confidence. The car is incredibly well balanced and features 51:49 front-rear weight distribution.

Hollis Johnson

I'm not saying it's confident like Usain Bolt at a weekend track meet, but the Aston holds its own in any situation a driver will likely encounter.

Hollis Johnson

Although it may have the sharpness of the a track-bred supercar, like the McLaren 650S or ...

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

... the monastery-like isolation of the pure cruiser such as the Rolls-Royce Wraith ...

Rolls-Royce

... the Aston Martin does a more than admirable job in melding the best of both worlds into a single, seductive package.

Hollis Johnson

Driving the Vanquish isn't something you do to get from point A to point B. It's something you do to feed your soul.

Hollis Johnson

Step inside the Vanquish and ...

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... you'll find a luxurious, leather-lined cabin.

Hollis Johnson

Complete with Aston Martin embroidered and quilted leather seats.

Hollis Johnson

You don't sink into them, but they're still very comfortable, and they encourage the driver to adopt a business-like posture. Driving, after all, is serious business.

Hollis Johnson

The Aston's steering wheel features controls to activate the car's sport mode and its adaptable damping-suspension system.

Hollis Johnson

The instruments are exquisite and crafted to resemble a high-end timepiece. However, the embedded monochromatic digital readouts look dated.

Hollis Johnson

To start the car, insert Aston Martin's unique glass key, which the company calls an 'Emotional Control Unit' ...

Hollis Johnson

... into the corresponding slot on the center console. Also, the Vanquish continues the company's trend of using center-console-mounted push-button gear selectors instead a shift lever.

Hollis Johnson

The Vanquish's infotainment system is centered around a relatively undersized 6.5-inch, pop-up screen that's elegantly mounted to top of the center stack.

Hollis Johnson

The infotainment and HVAC systems are accessed using a large control knob and haptic feedback glass buttons. The 'LC' one in the lower left corner? It activates the launch control, in case you can't handle barking the tires when you step on it from a standing start.

Hollis Johnson

I enjoyed the 1,000-watt, 13-speaker Bang & Olufsen stereo's superb sound quality -- though it was overshadowed by the beautiful noises emitted by the car itself. So it spent most of time on mute.

Hollis Johnson

The updated infotainment-and-navigation system is still far from industry-leading, and its graphics remain dated. However, it's usable and offers the basic functionality that should satisfy the large number of less-tech-savvy buyers.

Hollis Johnson

Obviously, if you're judging the Vanquish based on its infotainment system, you've missed the point of this car.

Hollis Johnson

As for rear seats, there are two. As for how many adults the rear seats can comfortably accommodate, that would be zero.

Hollis Johnson

The 2016 Aston Martin Vanquish starts at $288,950; our test car came to just over $300,000 with options. If you value world-beating style and impressive, updated performance -- and aren't demanding the very latest technology -- the Vanquish could be the car for you.

Hollis Johnson

Check out the Aston Martin Vanquish in action in the video below:

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