Tag Archives: aston martin

Luxuo David Beckham for Jaguar 2016

How British Car Brands Sell to China

Many British automotive marques are already forging reciprocal links with Chinese firms. Aston Martin is working with LeEco to develop an electric version of its Rapide super sedan and everyone from Jaguar to Bentley is also developing models with longer wheelbases and greater space for rear passengers, uniquely for the Chinese market.

But how do these storied British brands get the biggest and youngest car-buying market to fall in love with them within the next few years, when they’ve had over 60 years to become pin-up fixtures on children’s walls in Europe and the US?

Jaguar has already hired David Beckham as its sportscar ambassador to China, but, as football fans will tell you “There’s only one David Beckham” so it appears the long-term answer is to celebrate all that’s good about British motoring heritage by crafting a festival on a par with the Goodwood Festival of Speed and bringing it to the Chinese mainland.

The British Motorsport Festival (BMF), will open its doors to the public at the Goldenport track, Beijing, on October 1 and promises past, present and future cars from Jaguar, Land Rover, Lotus, McLaren, Morgan and Noble.

But more than simply trying to get car fans excited, the two-day event will be a proper family-inclusive lifestyle experience.

“The British Motorsport Festival is a unique blend of cars, fans and fun for the entire family. Our hope is that the British Motorsport Festival can help brands connect with fans to build lasting relationships,” said Jim James, BMF’s founder.

So the event promises racing, a ladies competition, go-karting and electric car racing for kids plus a vintage car show.

Alongside the festival the UK government is also assisting in setting up an annual motorsports conference, in partnership with Motorsport China, the first of which will be held in Shanghai on November 2. Because as with every country that starts to fall in love with cars, the urge to race tends to follow very quickly. But there are pitfalls that need to be avoided if it’s going to be done in a sustainable, profitable way.

“Motorsport in China is developing rapidly, and the goal of the Conference is to bring experts from the UK and China together to discuss best practices, build deeper relationships and ultimately to develop the industry to a world class level,” said Managing Director of Motorsport China, Steven Lu.

So the conference will bring together experts from every facet of racing from track development to team owners and specialist services companies under one roof.

Road-Going F1 Car: Aston Martin AM-RB 001

“Are we already in 2050?” You might ask this after laying eyes on the AM-RB 001. No, we’re still only halfway through 2016, but we don’t blame you for wondering – the latest project between Aston Martin and Red Bull is a futuristic-looking beast that may soon turn up at a highway near you. Yes, this car is reportedly road-legal.

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Co-designed by 10-time Formula One Championship designer Adrian Newey – who’s currently employed by Red Bull Racing – and Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s chief creative officer, the hypercar is projected to serve up a blistering 1,000 bhp, essentially rendering it a two-seated road rocket. So, as other commentators have noted, this is an F1 car that can legally pass you on the highway, and pass you it will…

This pace is made possible by a brand-new, ultra-compact naturally-aspirated V12 engine, which will power the 1,000kg car with a projected weight-to-power ration of 1:1 (read: one bhp per kilogram), delivering behemoth power that may well propel the car around Silverstone faster than a Formula One car. This magical ratio has only ever been achieved in another car – the Koenigsegg One:1 hypercar. Aston Martin also promises its performance will leave last year’s trinity of McLaren P1, LaFerrari and Porsche 918 in its dust.

A word about the AM-RB 001’s 1,000kg weight. Basically, Newey’s first road-going design is lighter than a Hyundai Elantra, for example, which has a published kerb-weight of up to 1,350kg with just 126 bhp. Take a moment and do the math on the weight-to-power ratio and then realize that the Elantra is of course road-legal. Having these two cars share the same road is like putting Jesse Eisenberg into a UFC ring with Conor McGregor.

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Newey explains: “I want it (the AM-RB 001) to be small and light, with a very responsive powertrain. The aerodynamics don’t necessarily make it more pleasurable to drive, but they do have the effect of making you think you are going much faster than you thought possible. We looked at all sorts of configurations – V6 twin-turbocharged, V8 single turbo – but in the end it had to be a V12 to get the sort of power output we were after.”

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To make the ride less harrowing than it already seems to be, Newey will likely implement active suspension to counterbalance the immense downforce at high speeds. However, Newey insists that his first ever road-legal car will be a comfortable drive. “We’re talking also about the driving experience, not just the statistics. How you are feeling in the car, taking pleasure in driving it, feeling involved in it,” he said.

A track version of the AM-RB 001 will also be made in a limited 25 examples, and will feature modifications such as bigger wings and diffusers, wider tires and a stripped cabin for a drive that is slated to match LMP1 (Le Mans Prototype 1) lap times. However, an estimated 99 to 150 drivers will get their hands on the standard road-legal versions by end 2018; we know we’re keeping our eyes peeled for that inevitable message from Aston Martin that the AM-RB 001 is completely sold out. Oh yes, do note that that AM-RB 001 designation that we keep repeating here is apparently only temporary. By the time we bring you news of the model selling out, it will likely have a new and proper name.

This story is also available in Bahasa Indonesia. Read it here: Aston Martin AM-RB 001, Mobil F1 di Jalan Raya

4 Supercars Dominating Goodwood 2016

The annual Goodwood Festival of Speed in England has always been a great opportunity for various automobile marques to showcase their best creations. This year’s festival is no different, as our previous story on this subject indicates and our selection of highlights proves. We have already witnessed a comeback by sportscar company Alpine with its 11 model display in the festival, but quite a number of notable supercars showed up as well. Ranging from names like Ferrari to Mercedes – these are four of the biggest show-stealing supercars at Goodwood.

Ferrari

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The company dropped a couple of cars never before seen in the UK. Among those, though, the cream of the crop was definitely the Ferrari 458 MM Speciale. This bespoke commission was based on the standard 458 Speciale and boasts of a variety of uniquely reworked features.

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Even more exclusively tailored was the drop-top variant of Aston Martin’s Vantage GT12 coupe – the Vantage GT12 Roadster, done up by the bespoke department of Aston Martin. With its carbon fiber stylings and beefed up performance, it made for quite a ferocious model among the other cars to appear at the festival. In fact, to further maintain its exclusivity, the client who requested the model paid a premium so that no other Aston client could ask for something similar.

Bugatti

Bugatti-Chiron

Although it is yet to be confirmed as the world’s fastest production super sports car by Guinness, the Bugatti Chiron roared into action at Goodwood with its 1500PS and 420km/h top speed. It has already stood out in its rarity, desirability and collectability – with only 500 models scheduled for production, the first 200 are already spoken for.

Mercedes

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Even with the sheer power of the Chiron on display though, it was the Mercedes-AMG GT R that potentially made the deepest impression on the crowd. In the twisting circuits set out by the festival, it proved to be the direct competitor to the Porsche 911 GT3 in terms of thrills, spills and track-friendly performance. The active aerodynamics in the design, coupled with its 4-liter twin-turbo V8 (which outputs 585hp), as well as a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and active rear-wheel steering – made it a pleasure to behold in action. Best of all, its production isn’t restricted, and it’ll go for around $200,000 at the end of the year.

Aston Martin Bespoke Vantage GT12 Revealed

A luxury car company such as Aston Martin is always looking to outdo itself in order to provide customers with the highest degree of exclusivity possible, even creating unique models. Aston Martin elevated its game at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this year, transforming the already limited Vantage GT12 coupe into a special bespoke commission. This whole package was unveiled at Goodwood as the Vantage GT12 Roadster – a drop-top Aston Martin that contains not only a completely reworked performance but a reworked style as well.

Taking such an action as chopping the roof off a car can have serious consequences on overall handling and safety. Thankfully this project was placed in the capable hands of ‘Q by Aston Martin’ – the in-house bespoke customization department. In order to make this drop-top version possible, they reworked the suspension, added magnesium inlet manifolds, a magnesium torque tube plus a titanium exhaust system for better engine breathing and to shed weight.

To give off a sense of visual drama, unique carbon fiber body panels are utilized all over the model. There’s the engine bulge in the hood, the reimagined door skirts at the side, and a rear bumper/diffuser of increased prominence. To keep this exclusive look unique, the owner paid a further premium to ensure Q never recreates this car for anyone else. Yes, this car was made specially for a customer who did not want to share his vision with anyone else.

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“The Vantage GT12 Roadster is a hugely exciting project. Not just because it’s sensational to look at, but because it vividly demonstrates the expanded capabilities of Q by Aston Martin,” said Dr. Andy Palmer, the CEO of Aston Martin. The company, like a number of premium automotive marques, has been elevating its bespoke services in order to remain competitive in the face of other companies with similar services, such as Mansory. Some limited edition cars done up by Q in recent years include the Vulcan, the Aston Martin Lagonda Taraf and the limited edition hyper car, the One-77.

“In just nine months we took a customer’s dream and realized it, with a fully-formed, exactingly engineered and fully road-legal one-off. That is the essence of the Q by Aston Martin service” said David King, Vice President and Chief Special Operations Officer. With this project done, the company puts forward a good case for their capabilities to fit in with the customer’s unique desires. You can expect more and more specially tailored designs to start appearing out on the open road, soon enough.

Art of Living by Aston Martin

A reflection of Aston Martin’s dedication to exclusivity and craftsmanship, Art of Living by Aston Martin is a curated series of experiences, objects and events that the company hopes will integrate into its clients’ lifestyle.

While luxury goods such as silk scarves, luxury watches and Marma London eyewear are part of the deal, the company’s clients will now also enjoy an exclusive Le Mans experience. This includes being flown to and from the event via the convenience of a helicopter ride, getting direct access to Aston Martin’s race team and retiring to a private chateau at the end of it all. To sweeten the deal, the British luxury car manufacturer also has exclusive visits to the Goodwood Revival – a gastronomic tour of California’s best vineyards and behind-the-scenes tours of Paris fashion houses – in the works.

Aston Martin isn’t the first in providing alternative services and goods besides its cars. Land Rover has previously ventured into bespoke holiday tours with Abercrombie & Kent while Porsche’s design studio, Porsche Design, has been offering clients products such as redesigned BlackBerry handsets bookshelves made of sportscar spoilers. Porsche has even launched an exclusive collection of clothes endorsed by current Manchester United manager José Mourinho.

Managing Director of Aston Martin Brands Katia Bassi said: “The Art of Living portfolio of products will be delivered with the same care and quality that would be expected of a bespoke Aston Martin sports car. This programme provides us with the opportunity to engage with our customers on a new level. We want them to share in the Aston Martin lifestyle.”

 

 

 

Did Zagato Just Create the Best Aston Martin?

The world could use more cars like the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Concept. Something that would make looking out of a bus window a lot more enjoyable; something that could almost stop traffic. Well this collaboration between the Gaydon-based automaker Aston Martin and Italian coachbuilder Zagato can literally stop traffic, if traffic could ever catch up to it… (The Verge and Bloomberg are already calling it the most beautiful car of 2016 and it might just have our vote too – Ed)

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Not since the Aston Martin V12 Vantage Zagato in 2013 have the two fabled marques – Aston Martin and Zagato – embarked on a collaboration. Launched in Italy’s prestigious Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, the new grand tourer, in a breath-taking shade of red, shone in all its muscular beauty. The brainchild of Aston Martin’s Marek Reichman and Andrea Zagato, the car is based on – as its name suggests – the Vanquish, only upgraded with several of the Italian coachbuilding company’s design trademarks. And yes, “concept” is part of the name but the car is not just a glint in a designer’s eye.

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Coachbuilders specialize in bodywork and that is what you get here. The entirely carbon fiber body is given a seamless overhaul with massive panels that serve to reduce the number of split lines, complete with a glasshouse that’s shaped like a visor (because, sport). The roof also rocks the ‘double bubble’, a subtle indentation synonymous with Zagato since it was first introduced to its models in the fifties. Its quad exhausts sit nestled amongst the carbon fiber sills that wrap around the body.

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Paying tribute to its equally sexy cousins at Aston Martin, the wing mirrors invoke the One-77, while its side strakes, the DB11. Tail lights that hark to the “bladed” look of the Vulcan’s are also part of the deal.

At the heart of the special edition is a 6.0-liter, naturally-aspirated V12-engine that produces 592bhp, capable of going from 0 – 62kmh in staggering 3.8 seconds. This is an upgrade from the 568hp by the production Vanquish and generates supercar-like acceleration.

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And because everyone knows the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Concept will set you back by an eye-watering figure, the good guys at Aston Martin have included herringbone carbon fiber and luxurious anodized bronze leather to the facia, vents and rotary dials to remind you of it. The interior also sees embossed and embroidered ‘Z’ quilt patterns on seat, doors and headrests so you ride in absolute luxury. Just be sure to have your seatbelt on, for obvious reasons.

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The car is fitted with the Vanquish’s usual features— a spectacular center console controlling all aspects of the interior environment, a Bang & Olufsen sound system, and the AMi III infortainment system; but when your V12 sounds that good, you don’t really need any music.

 

Future Alternatives: What’s Next For Chinese Cars?

With the Beijing Auto Show ongoing this week, some of the important questions being talked about involve solving some huge problems attached to the idea of transport – such as the issue of pollution, or how to fix China’s road congestion. Electric cars and driverless cars may be the next big thing in the Chinese automobile scene but quite a lot of work is needed to get these measures off on the right track.

Electric Measures

Everyone has a general picture of Chinese smog and air pollution as a big problem but fixing it has always been quite rough. China’s government, though, is turning to electric cars as the key to solving the health crisis. Only one percent of the cars owned by the huge populace are actually electric cars, but that accounts for much. The country already took the number one spot for electric models last year with some 247,000 “zero emission” cars sold — quadruple the number in 2014 — according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. To incentivize drivers, the government is giving up to 55,000 yuan subsidies ($8,500) for each car, and electric cars are even exempt from traffic restrictions in China’s congested major cities.

Yet, while electric cars are more popular worldwide, particularly high-end brands like Tesla, the hefty price tags and restricted driving range means it’s still a niche market. Their evolution has been mainly state-subsidised, as in Norway, which has the world’s highest penetration at 17 percent of new sales in 2015. Still, the sizable market in China tantalizes many manufacturers.

Jean-Francois Belorgey, an expert with consultancy EY, predicted that by 2020, up to 750,000 electric cars will be sold in China every year. “China is perhaps the one place in the world where the automobile industry can achieve the economy of scale needed to bring down costs,” he said. In the meantime, the government is aiming for the loftier goal of at least five million rechargeable cars on the roads by 2020.

Both domestic manufacturers and foreign manufacturers are already planning their models and releases. One of these, on the domestic front, is market leader BYD, which also makes the Denza brand in a joint venture with Daimler. France’s Renault plans to release its Fluence ZE in China in 2017, and PSA group will be showing a unique C-Elysee electric sedan at the Beijing show that is due next year. Chinese companies have also provided funding for Western firms’ development projects, including Britain’s Aston Martin and the US’s Faraday Future, which sees itself as a possible competitor to Tesla.

Still, this isn’t the end of the problem. Ben Scott, an expert of electric cars with IHS, noted that it was merely “moving the CO2 from the exhaust pipe to a power plant somewhere” and, although it addresses the issue of “the concentration of particles”, it helps way less for the greenhouse effect. As long as power is still generated in carbon-intensive ways, the problem will still stick.

Drive Less

While many people would argue that the joy of the car comes from the control of the ride, the larger and more pragmatic Chinese populace are less particular about that. According to a survey by Roland Berger consultants in 2015, which found 96 percent of Chinese would consider an autonomous vehicle for almost all everyday driving, compared with 58 percent of Americans and Germans. We’ve heard, seen and perhaps experienced the horror stories of the accidents, often captured on Youtube and propagated on social media, and that probably accounts for the appeal – better safety through autonomous technology.

Still, the road has many flaws, especially because of large questions looming about the technology itself. “If you have someone jumping out in front of an autonomous car, does the car have to choose between killing that person, or swerving and crashing and killing the passenger?” asked Robin Zhu, senior analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein. Quite a paradox worthy of Isaac Asimov himself, if you ask me. Yet, Chinese businesses are ready to jump into the fray, taking the same path as companies like Google, BMW, Volvo, and Toyota.

Last week, ahead of the Beijing Auto Show opening on Monday, two self-driving Changan cars made a mountainous 2,000 kilometre (1,200 mile) journey from Chongqing in the southwest to the capital in the country’s first long-distance autonomous vehicle test. Another Chinese Internet giant, LeECO, is also venturing into autonomous technologies, unveiling Wednesday in Beijing an electric car that can park itself and be summoned to its owner’s location via smartphone. And late last year Baidu tested China’s first locally designed driverless vehicle, a modified BMW, with a 30 kilometre ride through the streets of Beijing.

The ready market is also bringing in interested parties from the outside, with top companies aiming to refine their driverless technologies. Swedish manufacturer Volvo, owned by China’s Geely since 2010, this month announced plans to test drive up to 100 of its vehicles on Chinese roads this year. Changan, a partner of Ford, is set to roll out commercial autonomous vehicles for motorways from 2018, while mass production of driverless city cars is projected to begin in 2025. The ultimate prize, notes the analysts, will be when mass transport firms such as taxi-hailing giant Uber, or its Chinese rival Didi, can deploy huge fleets of robot taxis.

On the logistical side of things, analysts are less optimistic. Production costs were still too high to make a robot taxi fleet viable, BCG’s Mosquet said. “There are still many questions to be resolved” before fully autonomous vehicles can be put into public use, said Jeremy Carlson, a senior analyst for HIS, pointing to an inadequate infrastructure and “chaotic traffic situations” on roads shared with cyclists and pedestrians.

In the push towards the future, though, it may be hard to stop moving. The only way to face the various hard-hitting issues within the country is an open mind, and a will for innovation.

Beijing Auto Show Blows Hot and Cold

The global car industry is going through a roller coaster ride right now, with sales peaking in many markets yet many of the biggest players find themselves embroiled in scandals. As the Beijing Auto Show opens April 24, the industry faces both more sobering news and exuberant breakthroughs. According to consulting firm McKinsey, auto sales growth is projected to grow in China by just five percent annually over the next five years. China is the world’s number one auto market so if things pan out as McKinsey say they will, there will be much pain to go around.

The bright spot though is hinted at in the image we used above. That is the new concept car from LeSee, the automotive division of Chinese tech firm LeEco, and it is packed with impressive high tech offerings, including a one-piece glass roof, from windscreen to rear window. The BBC says it makes a Tesla Model S look “downright ordinary.” Before we go back to the doom and gloom, the other bit of interesting news here is that LeEco is the major investor backing Faraday Future, the US-based start-up we reported on here.

“After years of double-digit growth, China’s auto market is slowing down. A cooling economy is one of the primary factors in the deceleration of what remains the world’s largest market for automobiles,” McKinsey said.

Domestic and international carmakers face increasingly cutthroat competition for consumers whose preferences have become “more practical”, it said.

The anti-corruption campaign under President Xi Jinping has reduced the appeal of luxury cars, it added, and “significant numbers” of consumers believe they can meet their transport needs by leasing, co-owning, or renting vehicles.

“There’s no sign of momentum,” said Michael Dunne, CEO and strategist at Dunne Automotive in Hong Kong. Competition is growing and “the China profit machine is slowing”, he said.

Competition for market share has become more intense as Chinese carmakers have improved their offerings, particularly in the surging SUV segment, where sales leaped by over 50 percent in the first quarter of 2016 as consumers opted for bigger cars on the country’s hair-raising roads.

Namrita Chow, principal China analyst at IHS automotive, said that international manufacturers can no longer “overlook the Chinese brands, saying, oh they don’t have what it takes to be a competitor. Those days are gone.”

Indeed, LeEco is a prime example of what Chinese firms are bringing to the table, or promising to at any rate. LeEco and Aston Martin announced a partnership February that will allow the British automaker to build its own fully electric ride, likely based on the Rapide saloon.

If nothing else, this illustrates that fears of a slowdown are offset to some extent by opportunities created by the rapidly changing industry, analysts said.

GM China president Matt Tsien said earlier this year that the global giant “expects the automotive industry to change more over the next five to 10 years than in the past 50 years”.

General Motors’ president Dan Ammann pointed to “the inevitable march toward autonomous vehicles” as an opportunity, saying: “We think self-driving cars have the ability to significantly make roads safer”.

More than half of over 3,500 consumers surveyed by McKinsey wanted to upgrade their cars and report co-author Paul Gao told AFP: “The growth is still solid. Five percent out of a big base still makes China a very attractive market.”

 

This story was written in-house, based on an AFP report and various news reports, including the BBC report cited. The image featured is from the AFP.

Go Hard: Aston Martin Vantage GT8

British luxury carmaker Aston Martin has unveiled the new Vantage GT8, a limited-edition £165,000 ($234,000) version of the vanilla Vantage that the company claims is as close to a road-going racing car as the law allows.

Just 150 examples are being built and the first deliveries won’t start until the end of the year. But those with the money and the patience will get a GT car infused with a host of features and systems developed through Aston Martin’s endurance racing program.

The Vantage GT8 is 100kg lighter than the existing Vantage and its 4.7-liter naturally aspirated V8 has been tuned to deliver 440bhp. Crucially for purists, that power can be delivered to the rear wheels via a proper manual gearbox, if the owner so desires. Otherwise, there’s a paddle-shift automatic transmission in the options list.

Director of Special Projects and Motorsport, David King said: “We long held the desire to create a road car that truly reflects our racing activity at Le Mans. With the Vantage GT8, we’ve finally been able to achieve that.”

Though based on the standard two-seat GT car, no one will be in any doubt that the GT8 is something special. Festooned with carbon fiber aerodynamic aids it has an extended front splitter, fixed rear wing and protruding sills finished in a choice of luminous contrasting colors.

But that’s just the start, depending on how often a potential owner intends to take the car to the track. Glass interior switches can be swapped for plastic, the roof can be specified in carbon fiber and the side and rear windows swapped for polycarbonate to save even more weight and therefore unleash even more performance.

“Road cars are our business, but racing is the beating heart of Aston Martin,” said company CEO Dr Andy Palmer. “Beautifully engineered and set-up to be equally at home on a fabulous road or a demanding race track, the Vantage GT8 is a driver’s car in the truest sense of the word.”

AM37: New Aston Martin Powerboat

The Salone del Mobile at the Milan Design Week welcomed Aston Martin as the brand unveiled the AM37. No, it was not a new luxury GT. Instead, the British luxury car manufacturer has decided to take a dive and turn its attention to boats.

The AM37 isn’t just any boat, it is a powerboat that showcases the best of Aston Martin’s design and approach to aesthetics and comfort. The powerboat has been in the making for over five years, as part of Aston Martin’s collaboration with Quintessence Yachts. More than just a pretty face, the boat will not be used to generate publicity. One lucky bidder will be able to purchase the AM37 later this year once it goes on sale.

“It is true that a beautiful, simple shape is critical to a product’s success but it must also have drama, which is provided by surface language, proportions, and through the choice of exciting materials,” said Aston Martin Chief Creative Officer, Marek Reichman. “The new powerboat represents the ideal combination of luxurious and technical materials, generating a powerful yet understated finished product.”

As for why the AM37 is making its debut at the Salone del Mobile, we honestly have no clue but Reichman’s emphasis on design language offers the best clue.

Aston Martin Vantage V12 S Goes Manual

The Aston Martin Vantage V12 S, still the fastest production Aston Martin, is a variation on the Vantage model meant to titillate the desires of the purists via the inclusion of a proper manual transmission for real driving fun. While it is going back to an older more mechanical age there, the Vantage is also going to have all the latest infotainment and navigation goodies that owners of other automotive exotica take for granted, complete with live traffic alerts and support for Apple’s Car Play.

Anyway, these changes imply that Aston Martin is actually listening to what collectors want, and they want to make a car that pulls the heartstrings of the consumer straight, away from other concerns about finance and whatnot. “The true purist will always hanker for the tactility and connection offered by a manual transmission, so it has been a real pleasure to offer just that in our fastest and most focused model,” said Director of Product Development, Ian Minards.

Even the transmission in the Vantage is a seven-speed box complete with a ‘dog leg’ first gear to allow for the fastest changes between the other gears. Best of all, the manual box is a ‘no cost’ option. It also doesn’t cost anything in terms of performance; regardless of transmission choice, the car boasts the same top speed — 205mph and a 3.9 seconds 0-100km/h time.

The Gaydon firm still injected a bit of tech in the transmission though with something called the AMSHIFT. While the popularity of paddle-shift systems in exotic cars means heel-toe gear changing is a dying art, the AMSHIFT will blip the throttle on the down change and allow the accelerator to stay flat to the floor on the upchange — in other words, the two cool things that paddle changing offers.

“Technology drives us forward, but we understand the importance of tradition,” said Minards. “At a time when manual transmissions have almost entirely disappeared in high performance cars, this makes the manual V12 Vantage S a very special car indeed”. You have to give props to Aston Martin, for being able to provide the immersive feedback that drivers enjoy despite the forward thrust towards automation.

Unique Aston Martin DB10 Sold for $3.4m

Picture yourself sitting in the driver’s seat of the exceedingly rare Aston Martin DB10, humming the theme music of James Bond as you conquer a corner in style. As it happens, the car shared screen time with James Bond as he navigated the adrenaline-filled plot in Spectre. Rare as the DB10 is (only 10 were made), you can only dream of driving it but, for one determined collector, dreams came true. At a thrilling auction at Christie’s in London, the only DB10 made available for public sale fetched a stunning £2,434,500 ($3,476,466). This is almost £1 million above the high end of the estimate, as we reported here. The auction saw the car go under the hammer with 10 other lots, which together made up a curated collection called “James Bond Spectre –The Live Auction”.Aston-Martin-Db-10-1

This piece of automotive history is a celebration of the five-decade relationship that Aston Martin has enjoyed with Bond. The car also hints at what we can expect from the brand in future. Of the 10 cars that were handcrafted at the brand’s Gaydon headquarters, eight were modified for the filming of the movie. The other two were kept in pristine condition, which allowed for Christie’s to put one up for auction.Aston-Martin-DB-10

All proceeds of the sale were donated to the international humanitarian aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières, otherwise known as Doctors without Borders, which provides medical care and support to victims of armed conflict, epidemics and disasters. Aside from the DB10, a further 14 lots are available in the online sale that runs till February 23 to celebrate the release of the 24th Bond film on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD.

Force Awakens at Detroit: Henrik Fisker Supercar

While legal wrangling almost kept the covers on the Henrik Fisker-designed VLF Automotive Force 1 supercar, what has emerged at the North American International Auto Show 2016 is actually a limited edition vehicle that is ready to go into production. Thanks to legal wrangling and claims of copyright infringement that have been plaguing the model since its first teaser sketches were published late last year, it looked as if the concept car might never see the light of day. Read on and you will discover that this is more than a mere concept at this point.

First of all, some background is needed on this saga. While not many will recognize the name Henrik Fisker, pretty much everyone knows Aston Martin. The legal action in question was from Aston Martin, Fisker’s former employers, who claimed the car looked too much like its DB10. Fisker promptly counter-sued and thus continued a love-hate relationship the two parties have been engaged in of late — recent Fisker concepts based on current Aston Martin models have been successfully stopped from going into production for similar reasons.

However now the car has made its debut, any potential likeness with an Aston Martin is difficult to glean; in fact, it looks as if it should have been supercar companies seeking legal counsel, because the car is more than just a concept, it is going into limited production – 50 initial examples – with a $268,500 asking price.

For that sum, owners will get a car designed by the man responsible for penning the lines of the Aston Martin DB9 and BMW Z8 and one backed by former GM boss Bob Lutz and racing driver Ben Keating. The shell is carbon fiber to cut as much weight as possible and the engine under that aggressive hood is reminiscent of a Dodge Viper — an 8.4-liter V10 with no turbos or superchargers attached (other reports confirm that is a Dodge V10 powerplant). That means a 0-100km/h time of 3 seconds and a standing quarter mile time of 10.97 seconds.

Under the carbon fiber paneling is a cutting-edge chassis and computer-controlled suspension setup that promises fine handling as well as blistering but predictable straight-line speed. But perhaps best of all for supercar purists, is that this car comes with a six-speed manual transmission as standard. Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren and Porsche have all now ditched the stick-shift in favor of paddles and in doing so have robbed keen drives of greater involvement.

However, not everyone who could potentially fall for the Force 1 is a purist so an automatic option will also be available – complete with the now obligatory steering-column-mounted paddles.

Aston Martin Window Display at Harrod’s

When we heard about this tribute to Aston Martin at Harrod’s, we had to cover it. Our readers have shown a persistent affection for the brand (this is one of our all-time most-popular stories) and what they love, they get more of. Basically, the AFP is reporting that three Aston Martin cars will take over the Harrods storefront window in London as part of a month-long celebration of the British-made automobile.

Aston Martins have been synonymous with James Bond films for the last 50 years. The DB10 being shown at Harrods was built specifically for the latest Bond film Spectre. Also on display is the new Austin Martin model DB9 GT (below). Arguably the most famous of Aston Martins, the DB5, can be seen at the luxury department store in the Knightsbridge area, as well. This model was released in 1963 and set a standard for Aston Martins to follow with its improvement in performance.

Aston Martin DB9 GT Bond Edition

As an aside, we published a photo essay pitting the DB5 against the Vanquish right here. Ok, back to the story on hand.

Aston Martin specialists will be at Harrod’s throughout an accompanying exhibition to provide visitors with insight into the cars and their product range. If we were able to make it to this exhibition, you know how we would be harassing… The window display and the exhibition will run until January 28.

DB5 vs Vanquish

DB5 vs Vanquish. By Andy Wee

Grant Macdonald Launches Aston Martin Martini Set

British silversmith Grant Macdonald recently launched the Aston Martin Martini Set, right on the heels of the latest James Bond flick, Spectre. The limited edition set debuted along with a collectible sterling silver 1:30 model of the iconic DB5 at an event called Timeless 100 – Timeless 100 also refers to the both the martini set and the scale model, as seen on the Grant Macdonald site. This collection tickled our fancy because we happened to have published an exclusive photo essay pairing the classic Aston Martin DB5 and the Vanquish in Shanghai, which you can see here. Our thanks again to Yacht Style for sharing the essay with us.

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Returning to the scale model and the martini set, both are limited to 100 pieces each, with the martini set lined in 24k gold (a twist on the old silver lining phrase). The martini set includes two martini glasses, two olive picks and a cocktail shaker. Veterans of the watch scene and car enthusiasts alike will recognize the intricate crosshatching pattern on the stems of the glasses and on the shaker as a reference to the carbon fiber used by Aston Martin for their contemporary cars. Well, the martini set does not share the lightweight characteristics of carbon fiber though as we are told it contains a total of 1kg of silver…

DB5 colour

It reportedly takes 30 hours to handcraft each martini set and 50 hours for each of the scale replicas, which are mounted on a wood and glass platform. London-based Grant Macdonald has been an Art of Living partner to Aston Martin since 2011. In fact, the Timeless 100 collection is also a deliberate reference to the 100th anniversary of Aston Martin, which was in 2013.

Martini Lo

COcktail SHaker alone LR

Aston Martin Vanquish vs Aston Martin DB5

Shanghai, where old meets new every day, is the perfect foil for an encounter between the Aston Martin Vanquish and the Aston Martin DB5; nose to nose in elegant harmony, composed by photographer Andy Wee for our friends at Yacht Style. Also, the latest Bond film, Spectre, is out now so that gives us another reason to revisit the DB5… Aston Martin’s silver DB5, the iconic bond car,  made its first appearance in Goldfinger in 1964, and began a relationship that has lasted 50 years. With a six-liter V12 engine, the Aston Martin Vanquish has the acceleration of a Grand Prix racing car. The Aston Martin DB5 is super light, and is paired with a state-of-the-art engine that still impresses five decades later.

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Story Credits

Photography by Andy Wee

Aston Martin DB10

Behind the scenes with James Bond and Aston Martin

Daniel Craig shares his thoughts on the new Aston Martin DB10 in the latest “Spectre” teaser video.

The new clip, released Thursday, gives both Bond and Aston fans their biggest hint yet at what to expect from the car when it appears in the 24th official Bond film later this month.

Regarding the DB10, built specifically for the film, Craig describes the car as feeling right and looking like a proper Bond car.

The special effects and stunt department also confirm that this will be the first Aston Martin since Craig took up the mantle of the world’s favorite fictional British secret agent to come gadget laden.

In an interview with the British press over the weekend, “Spectre” stunt coordinator Gary Powell confirmed that he and his team had destroyed £24 million worth of cars in creating the film’s action scenes including seven of the 10 specially built Aston Martins.

“Spectre” will hit British cinema screens on October 26 and will be released globally in November.

Aston Martin DB10

Aston Martin DB11 logo

Aston Martin DB11 announced for 2016 unveiling

Aston Martin DB11 logo

The next  will be presented in 2016 and it will be called the DB11, according to the British manufacturer.

Along with the announcement comes a logo for the DB11.

Though numerically it succeeds the DB10 coupé, custom-made for James Bond film “Spectre,” the DB11 looks a little further back for its inspiration.

Aston Martin DB10

Aston Martin namechecked the iconic DB5 and DB9 in its statement to the press, while CEO Dr Andy Palmer casting it as the next step in the ongoing enterprise for the car marque, which was founded in 1913.

“Not only is it a sign of our intention to continue the long line of iconic sports cars that bear the ‘DB’ moniker — the very bloodline of our brand — but it also shows the world our ambitious plan in action,” he said.

“The coming years will see Aston Martin transform not only its entire range of models but also its scale and global presence, and the new DB11 will be central to that success.”

Aston Martin DB9 GT Bond Edition

Aston Martin launching limited DB9 GT Bond Edition

Aston Martin DB9 GT Bond Edition

 has is celebrating the release of Spectre movie with the launch of the limited DB9 GT Bond Edition, limited to 150 examples.

Using the 6.0-liter, V12-engined grand tourer — the most powerful DB9 to date — as its starting point, the special edition adds Spectre Silver paint, sterling silver Aston Martin badges on the front and rear, and “007 Bond Edition” exterior badging.

Aston Martin DB9 GT Bond Edition back

Inside, it features numbered sill plaques with the 007 logo, gun barrel embroidery and a Bond Edition start-up screen on the infotainment system.

A suite of Bond-themed accessories complete the package, including an Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m James Bond Limited Edition watch with a unique Aston Martin strap.

Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M James Bond

The new DB9 GT Bond Edition is now available to order around the world priced at £165,000 (€223,872).

2014 Aston Martin Rapide S

Aston Martin to launch all electric, 800hp supercar

2014 Aston Martin Rapide S

In two years, British sportscar manufacturer Aston Martin will launch an all-electric car that’s equipped with an 800-horsepower engine. It’s a suped-up version of the four-door Rapide, according to Automotive News.

Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said at Sunday’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance that the company plans to launch an all-electric version of the DBX crossover by the decade’s end.

He confirmed the project of the all electric Rapide after having said in April that the company was considering the idea.