Aston Martin. Even the name sounds classy. It’s synonymous with prestige, power, effortless style and top-end luxury. Founded way back in 1913 by Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin the name we cherish today followed a year later after a successful outing at the Aston Hill Climb in Buckinghamshire. And what a heritage this iconic marque has behind the badge. Starting off in true style on the Grand Prix circuit it wasn’t for another three decades that the lauded David Brown era began and the classic DB model was born.
The DB2 went into production in 1952 and was quickly followed by the DB2/4 and DB4. But it was in 1963 that the game-changer roared into action – the DB5.
Frequently billed as the most beautiful car in the world it was this car that forever married the marque to the greatest British agent of all time, James Bond. And MI6 could have picked up a standard model – rocket launchers not included – for just £4,175. There was a straight six engine under the bonnet delivery 282 bhp, some 280 lbs ft of torque and a five-speed gearbox.
It could still give many modern cars a real run for their money with a top speed of 142 mph and a 0-60 time of 7.1 seconds.
Aston Martin V12 Vantage
Roll forward five decades and the numbers are somewhat different – as well as the price tag! In 2013, Aston Martin produced it’s fastest ever regular production car, the absolutely stunning Aston Martin V12 Vantage S. Anyone with deep pockets can buy one for £140,495 and for that kind of money the punch is a real knockout. Transmission is a seven-speed manual in rear-wheel drive, while the 6.0 litres V12 engine gives a top speed of 205 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds.
It’s a stripped back version of the Aston Martin V12 Vantage before it, but with a heap of technical advances and a gutteral engine growl that gives you plenty of warning that this beast bites. There’s a staggering 565bhp and, at peak, 457lb ft of torque. Just as well it also comes with some of the best carbon ceramic brakes in the business.
Mind you. The title of most hardcore Aston Martin ever falls to the Aston Martin Vulcan. It was so tough it wasn’t street legal. In order to own one you had to go on a special driving programme first just to make sure you could handle the 7.0 litres V12 engine. A supercar among supercars with its £2.2 million price tag. It soon sold out.
But if you had to choose just one limited edition incredible car from Aston Martin, one that’s road legal and you stand a smidge of a chance of buying, then it has to be the spellbinding Aston Martin V12 Zagato. It has a hand-crafted aluminium skin with a touch of carbon fibre. After starting out as a track car in 2011, the road legal version arrived the following year.
New it would set you back £330,000 – today, thanks to the limited run of 150 cars, you could easily double your money if you were lucky enough to have one at home and were willing to part with it.
Not that you would with a top speed of 190mph, 0-60mph in 4.1 seconds and 510bhp from the 6 litres engine. It’s a classic Aston Martin from all angles and you may need some specialist help to track one down.
But who wouldn’t be happy with any Aston Martin parked on their drive? It doesn’t have to be the megabucks Aston Martin V12 Zagato. Many of the other Aston Martin models have smaller V8 engines, such as the instantly recognisable Aston Martin DB11.
The New Aston Martin DB11 has both V8 and V12 options and look almost identical – the V12 has four vents on the bonnet, compared with the V8’s two. They both share the same chassis and suspension, the same steel disc brakes and 20-inch, 10-spoke diamond wheels.
There’s also the same eight-speed automatic gearbox, sculpted front and chiselled torso. The 5.2 litres DB11 V12 delivers a heart-stopping 600 horsepower, compared to the twin-turbocharged 4.0 litres DB11 V8’s equally exhilarating 503. Not a huge difference and the 0-60 times are also pretty close with the V12 engine covering the ground in 3.9 seconds, just 0.1 seconds faster than the V8.
Top speeds are also within a hair’s breadth of each other at 200 mph and 187 mph respectively. But losing four cylinders has made the V8 lighter and some drivers argue a little more nimble than it’s big V12 brother. New, the V8 starts at £144,900 while the V12 comes in at £157,900. This is definitely a supercar of the future which you could be driving today.
Written by Lucy Hawkins
Dick Lovett Group