Tag Archives: aston martin

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.

Kahn Design Vengeance sketch

Kahn teases Aston-based Vengeance supercar

Kahn Design Vengeance sketch

Kahn Design has revealed the first official design sketches of their new coach-built model, the Kahn Vengeance WB12.

The Vengeance is based on the Aston Martin DB9 and will keep its existing underpinnings and engine.

However, its exterior is a completely bespoke reimagining.

In an official statement, company founder Afzal Kahn likens the car’s outline to that of a sabre-toothed tiger on the prowl and says that the sportscar, expected to go into very limited production towards the end of the year, is the realization of a life-long ambition.

“I’ve worked in the industry my whole career, and I want to leave a legacy which I can be proud of. The design has gone through several iterations over the years and I’ve taken my time in selecting the right partners to prototype and manufacture the car, ensuring it represents the pinnacle of quality and perfection.”

Henrik Fisker Thunderbolt

Aston Martin Thunderbolt Concept by Henrik Fisker

Henrik Fisker Thunderbolt

Henrik Fisker revealed a new design study based on the Aston Martin Vanquish coupe at the 2015 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

The new car is called the “Thunderbolt”, and officially it’s still a concept though a limited production run could – and likely will be initiated

The exterior, which favors angles over curves, is almost entirely carbon fiber — except the curved roof, which is tinted glass.

Henrik Fisker Thunderbolt interior

The front and rear headlamps are also bespoke, as is the rear wraparound windshield. Look hard enough and the Vanquish is still there, but so too are all of Fisker’s famous design approaches.

“I wanted to create an elegant beautiful GT sports coupe, with pure emotional sculpture, that would stay timeless,” said Fisker.

The front grille is much larger and more pronounced, as is the brightwork and the car does look elegant yet slightly menacing, sitting some 15mm lower to the ground than a normal Vanquish and on 21-inch alloy wheels.

Henrik Fisker Thunderbolt side

Inside, the leather trim is courtesy of premium Italian furniture makers, Natuzzi; there’s a special skeleton Chronograph clock in the center console built by Swiss watch maker Maurice Lacroix, and it is the first car in the world to feature a curved, free-standing touchscreen.

The 11.6-inch display is a prototype designed to be viewable without glare at any angle, developed by Panasonic in collaboration with Fisker.

Henrik Fisker Thunderbolt curved display

Fisker has no official plans to put the Thunderbolt into production, although he said this week that a positive response to the concept could see a limited number built for customers.


Aston Martin DBX

Official: Aston Martin DBX Concept

Aston Martin DBX

Aston Martin is making a huge statement of future intent with its new DBX concept, which it unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday.

The first car ever to come out of the company’s facilities to boast all-wheel drive and electric power, Aston Martin claims that the car is intended to redefine the concept of the luxury GT car.

Aston Martin DBX SUV

This is a huge change of direction from the company who until today favored 6-liter, 12 cylinder engines for powering its sportscars, supercars and luxury GTs. But, as well as a nod to more sustainable personal mobility, the new concept also recognizes the importance of the styling and practicality that a crossover provides.

With the notable exceptions of Ferrari and McLaren, all of Aston Martin’s other serious competitors — from BMW to Bentley and from Porsche to Lamborghini — have or are developing larger SUV-inspired cars.

Aston Martin DBX interior

The DBX offers the same elevated driving position, large wheels, ground clearance and bulging wheel arches and increased luggage space, but is still unmistakably an Aston Martin coupe.

Since gaining its independence from Ford, Aston Martin has struggled to compete with its closest rivals on any level other than attention to detail, exterior design and craftsmanship.

Aston Martin DBX side

Its once glorious engines are now showing their age against the latest turbocharged V8s being used by McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz, and some of the company’s in-car technologies pre-date the iPhone.

However, thanks to a partnership with Mercedes-Benz, the company will now have access to cutting-edge V8 engines and a host of other toys.

The unveiling of the DBX shows that the deal is already helping the company to start thinking outside the box again.

Aston Martin Vulcan

Aston Martin launches the Vulcan

Aston Martin Vulcan

After weeks of teasing, Aston Martin has officially unwrapped the Vulcan.

A track-only supercar, the all-carbon fiber car is powered by a 7-liter naturally aspirated – i.e., no superchargers or turbochargers – V12 engine.

Aston Martin Vulcan

As for what all of that will mean for the 24 clients who will take delivery of one, Aston is keeping much of the performance data a secret for now. All that it has confirmed is that maximum output will be over 800bhp.

Aston Martin Vulcan side

Of the new car, which will be making its first officially public appearance at the Geneva motor show on March 3, CEO, Dr Andy Palmer, said: “Aston Martin Vulcan is, by its very nature, a rare and thrilling supercar.”

AstonMartin Vulcan interior

Each owner will get the opportunity to add bespoke trim and exterior details to his or her Vulcan and then will also undergo rigorous training on the track and in racing simulators to improve their track-driving.

Aston Martin Vulcan side

A “Vulcan race program” will get underway in 2016, which will see events staged at some of the world’s most famous race tracks. Or, in short, pretty much the same deal offered to buyers of the FXX K and the P1 GTR.

Aston Martin Vulcan back

Dr Palmer describes it as a “unique ownership programme,” and one that “sets a whole new standard in the ultra-high luxury supercar class.”

Aston Martin On Ice

“Aston Martin On Ice” Returns to Colorado

If you’re looking for a snow-fueled adrenaline rush this winter, why bother with heli-skiing when you can take to the piste in a supercar instead?

As well as being much warmer, faster and safer — Aston Martins have climate control, V12 engines and a plethora of airbags — the three-day Aston Martin On Ice event is much more exclusive.

The event, which will be hosted in the town of Crested Butte in the Colorado Rocky Mountains on February 20, will take place on a set of specially carved and honed tracks across a 10-acre area that has taken 250 man-hours to construct.

Aston Martin On Ice

Lucky participants will be able to take their pick from the company’s current line-up of models and put them through breaking and cornering exercises, a slalom and of course a skid pan as well as a full race circuit.

Drivers will receive expert tuition and once their car control is up to scratch will be able to hit a mile-long frozen road course.

For more information and a chance to register for the event, head to the Aston Martin US website.

Aston Martin DB10

James Bond’s new Aston Martin unveiled

Aston Martin DB10

 has unveiled the DB10 during the 24th James Bond movie announcement yesterday at Pinewood Studios in London.

The DB10 will star in the new movie called Spectre, a reference to the global terrorist organization from Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels.

Following the unexpected reveal, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer, announced that the car isn’t a concept.

It was built specifically built for the film, and the company worked closely with director Sam Mendes to deliver what it calls the ultimate car for the world’s most famous spy.


However, for Bond-loving existing Aston Martin drivers there is good news, the DB10 will be going into extremely limited production.

Just 10 bespoke models are planned, which will make it the rarest car in the company’s history to carry a DB badge.

Although specific details, such as engine size and performance figures are still unconfirmed, the DB10 is clearly based on the existing two-door, two-seat Vantage super coupé so expect a V12 engine and a top speed of over 200mph, and a host of envious glances.

gold Aston Martin DB5

Unique Gold Aston Martin DB5 to be Auctioned

gold Aston Martin DB5

A one-off gold-plated third scale replica of James Bond’s iconic Aston Martin DB5 will go under the hammer later this month in an online auction to benefit the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

The event is created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Goldfinger, the first bond film to feature the iconic DB5.

The car was built by Propshop, the company that provided scale models of the DB5 for special effects scenes in the most recent Bond Film, “Skyfall.”

The one-off gold model with 24-carat gold plated detailing comes complete with radio controlled machine guns, bullet-proof shield and revolving number plate – just like Bond’s DB5.

gold Aston Martin DB5 interior

Bidding commenced on Monday and will continue until September 17, the 50th anniversary of the world premiere of “Goldfinger.”

The car is expected to fetch between £40,000-£60,000 and is one of a host of specially commissioned Bond-themed items in the sale.

Omega Goldfinger Seamaster Aqua Terra wristwatch

Also included in the sale will be a unique Goldfinger Seamaster Aqua Terra wristwatch created by Omega to celebrate the anniversary of the film.

Jaeger LeCoultre AMVOX2 Transponder watch

Unlock Your Aston Martin Car With Your Luxury Watch

Jaeger LeCoultre AMVOX2 Transponder watch

Jaeger-LeCoultre unveils their latest AMVOX2 Transponder watch in association with the legendary British sports car manufacturer Aston Martin.

The timepiece is an update of the initial collaboration with the carmaker on the AMVOX chronographs, which first appeared in 2006.

For the new 2014 version, the AMVOX2 Transponder, Jaeger-LeCoultre has added a remote lock/unlock function that allows an Aston Martin owner to unlock his or her car from a distance by pressing the sapphire crystal of the watch, and also lets you turn on the headlights to find it in the dark.

The process works using a micro-transmitter built into the double case-back of the AMVOX2, with the antenna built into the watchface between 8 and 4 o’clock.

While previous iterations only worked with the DBS, DB9 or Rapide models, the new watch is compatible with all of Aston Martin’s current range of cars.

The watch movement comes in a titanium case with a leather strap featuring a satin-brushed steel folding clasp. The AMVOX2 Transponder, priced at US$29,500, boasts a 65-hour power reserve and and 5-bar water resistance.

Aston Martin Q Lounge Concept

Aston Martin introduces its Q personalization program at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show to provide tailor-fit cars for the most discerning customers.

Q by Aston Martin

Q by Aston Martin is giving buyers the opportunity to customize their car inside and out with different paints, trims, leather and veneers.

The nomenclature of the program has been inspired by its longtime silverscreen partner James Bond whose ‘Q’ is a quartermaster which customizes his vehicles with different features and gadgets.

Q by Aston-Martin leather paints

Those attending the Geneva motor show can stop by the Aston display and see two of the more recent projects to come from Q by Aston Martin, a V12 Vantage S and the Vanquish Volante.

The Vanquish Volante sports a carbon fiber tonneau cover, finished off with a deep gloss. The interior features seats cloaked in white leather with Aston’s Aurora Blue leather detailing and a walnut veneer covering the center stack.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S by Q

The Vantage rocks a bold white and orange color scheme, accented by pops of vibrant teal leather in the interior, which covers the seats.

Virage Volante interior

Although still in concept form, the Q Lounge could become the blueprint for how the service is presented, with bespoke customization rooms coming to a number of Aston Martin dealerships around the world in the near future.

Q by Aston-Martin leather

Coincidentally, Lamborghini is also debuting a very similar service at the Geneva Motor Show with its Ad Personam design studio.

2015 Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430 back

Aston Martin reveals new special editions

Aston Martin will be taking the wraps off exclusive versions of its V8 Vantage and DB9 models that up the style, performance and use of carbon fiber.

2015 Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430

Aston Martin describes the V8 Vantage N430 as a “bold addition” to the existing range, and for once that’s not an overstatement.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430

Inspired by the company’s track cars, the use of bright contrasting paint to accentuate the car’s grille and A-pillars make it look like it’s wearing lipstick, a bold look indeed.

2015 Aston Martin V8 Vantage N430 back

The N430 offers 436PS on tap from a tweaked V8 engine and a 0-100km/h time of 4.6 seconds and is 20kg lighter than the standard model, thanks in part to the carbon fiber and Kevlar racing seats and magnesium gear paddle shifts that come as standard. The cabin also gets carbon fiber inserts and a Piano Black fascia finish to complete the look.

2014 Aston Martin DB9 Carbon Black

The DB9 Carbon edition (available in Carbon Black or Carbon White) does use carbon fiber in some of its panels to save weight and therefore improve performance, but the use of the lightweight material is governed as much by style as it is by increasing top speeds.

And on the White edition in particular, the carbon elements contrast well with the car’s Stratus White paint finish.

2014 Aston Martin DB9 Carbon White

Inside, the DB9 Carbon is awash with black leather — to match the black instrument panel and carbon fiber trim — which can be accented with another contrasting color while a door sill plaque notes the car’s rarity.

2014 Aston Martin DB9 Carbon Black interior

Aston Martin has announced that neither car will be offered to North American customers when they go on sale later this year.

DB Convertible Junior

Car dealer sells mini Aston Martins for kids

Nicholas Mee & Co is building miniature, fully functioning Aston Martins for the next generation of wannabe secret agents.

DB Convertible Junior

Called the DB Junior, the car is only missing is an ejector seat and retracting front-mounted machine guns. Built for children aged 10 and upwards, a base model will cost £16,500 (about $27,000) before any bespoke features.

Nicholas Mee & Co, an Aston Martin Heritage Dealer, says that the car has been developed to be big enough for a ‘big kid’ to drive and that many bespoking requests so far have been for interior trim and exterior finishes that match a customer’s existing modern or classic Aston.

Nevertheless, the standard car is a ‘real’ car, in as much as it is powered not by pedals, but by a 110cc, four-stroke petrol engine with key-operated electric start and a three-speed automatic gearbox.

And it will stop as well as it runs thanks to Brembo disc brakes. What’s more, the lights and indicators are all fully functioning and the car will hit a top speed of 46mph (75km/h). The top speed can be limited downward upon request.

DB Convertible Junior Nicholas Mee

Nicholas Mee & Co specializes in sourcing rare, unusual and classic Aston Martins for its clients, many of whom are serious collectors.

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante Neiman Marcus Edition

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante Neiman Marcus

The open-top supercar, customized by Aston Martin’s in-house Q service, was inspired by Prince Charles’s classic 1969 DB6 Volante, a car that became world famous when Prince William and Kate Middleton took it for a spin during their royal wedding.

Although the standard Aston Martin Vanquish Volante has already made its European debut, this strictly limited version will be the first example to arrive on US shores and will be the first model offered for sale on the US market.

This bespoke edition — strictly limited to 10 examples — is finished in a shade of blue that Aston calls Seychelles that was painstakingly color-matched to that of Prince Charles’s classic DB6.

It also has subtle flashes of wealth, such as badges that appear to be chromed but are actually silver on the hood and tailgate and special 20″ alloy wheels finished in what the company calls ‘liquid silver’.

Inside, the seats are finished in Obsidian Black leather and the standard Vanquish steering wheel has been replaced for the one that features in the Aston Martin One-77 hypercar.

Other notable features include a rather old fashioned walnut veneered fascia which contrasts against the ultramodern satin chrome instrumentation. Completing the look is a four-piece set of matching bespoke luggage.

Under the hood, however, it’s business as usual. The 6-liter V12 remains untouched, meaning that the car is still capable of going from 0-60mph (100km/h) in a little over 4 seconds and onto a top speed, roof up or down, of 183mph (295km/h).

The car will be unveiled to the press on November 20 and Aston Martin fans will get their first chance to see it in the flesh on November 22 when the LA Auto Show officially opens to the public.

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante Neiman Marcus Interior

Aston Martin to relaunch Lagonda brand

2009 Aston Martin Lagonda Concept

Lagonda, the sportscar company bought by Aston Martin some 66 years ago, is to get a new lease of life as its parent company looks to boost sales and break into other premium car markets.

Speaking to Drive, Aston Martin’s CEO, Dr. Ulrich Bez, said: “I am confident in the future we will see a Lagonda on the road,” but indicated that the first new cars to carry Lagonda branding probably won’t be making an appearance for at least five years.

Aston Martin has been toying with the idea for some time and in 2009 showcased a Lagonda concept SUV at the Geneva Motor Show (pictured above). However, that was when the company was still under Ford’s ownership and had unfettered access to the US automaker’s parts bins and R&D facilities.

Since regaining its independence, Aston Martin has struggled in the face of increasing competition from Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, McLaren and Mercedes and its most recent accounts show that while the rest of the motoring industry is in rude health, it actually made a loss over the past 12 months.

Aston needs to reinvigorate its line-up and it needs to innovate if it is to continue to compete with the best of the rest, and a partnership with Mercedes Benz AMG, is a very big step in the right direction. Breaking into the growing luxury SUV market seems to be another key step to profitability.

1985 Aston Martin Lagonda

Let’s hope for Aston Martin’s sake that the resulting car is nothing like the last Lagonda-branded vehicle the company built.

The Aston Martin Lagonda, which launched in 1974 (immediately after coming out of bankruptcy) was throughout its 16-year lifespan the world’s most expensive production car. As well as being one of the most costly cars ever built, it was also one of the most technologically advanced, using TV screens rather than dashboard dials and a computerized engine management system.

As such it was incredibly unreliable and thanks to the complexities of the construction process took up to three years to reach each perspective owner.

In all, just 645 were produced and during that time the car won a host of unwanted accolades including an appearance on the Time magazine list of “The 50 Worst Cars of All Time.”

Aston Martin Lagonda interior

aston martin logo

Aston Martin announces AMG partnership

aston martin logo

With an announcement that is bound to send shivers down the spines of the British car company’s loyal client base while increasing the pressure on its Italian and German supercar competition, Aston Martin has revealed that its next-generation vehicles will be powered by AMG engines.

If all supercar contests were based simply on looks, rather than top speed, acceleration and cutting-edge technological features, Aston Martin would win. The somewhat eccentric British car maker more than any other seems to understand the strength and beauty of a sweeping line and how to use just the right amount of chrome to create a look that is both imposing and attractive.

Unfortunately, in recent years the company has been slowly falling behind the competition when it comes to what’s under the hood and inside the cabin. Its Cosworth engines pale in comparison to the latest Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and Mercedes powerplants. This inability to keep up is due to the fact that the company is no longer under the stewardship of Ford and so no longer has access to the US company’s research and development, technical partnerships or deep pockets.

For those that don’t know, AMG is a German engineering company that hand-builds engines with ridiculous performance. Moreover, it also likes to take existing cars and give them the AMG treatment. Fast cars become supercars and supercars become hypercars, such is its magic touch.

AMG currently builds engines for Pagani but it is the company’s incredible work with Mercedes-Benz that has cemented its reputation and that in 2005 led to Mercedes buying the firm outright. As a result, all of Mercedes’ world-beating vehicles have AMG at their heart and very soon, Astons will also be beating to the same rhythm.

Still, in a typically reserved British manner, Aston Martin Product Development Director Ian Minards said of the agreement: “The opportunity to include content from Mercedes-AMG GmbH in our next generation sports cars is, clearly, good news.” Indeed.

550 Aston Martins

Aston Martin’s birthday celebrations in pictures

Aston Martin Kensington Gardens

The British luxury car manufacturer marks its centenary in inimitable style and with the biggest gathering of Aston Martins in history — some 550 vehicles past, present and future with a combined value of some £1 billion (US$1.5 billion).

Kensington Gardens Aston Martin

Kensington Gardens

As befits a car company associated with British (fictional) secret service agents, aristocracy and nobility, Aston Martin chose the sumptuous surroundings of London’s Kensington Gardens for the week-long UK leg of its global centenary celebrations.

550 Aston Martins

550 Aston Martins

In total a record-breaking 550 Aston Martins were on display with a total insurance value of over £1 billion.

The Bond factor

The Bond factor

The event attracted over 50,000 visitors and featured a number of individual themed exhibitions and features, including a heavy focus on the brand’s association with James Bond.

Aston Martin A3

The A3

Every significant Aston Martin road car ever produced was represented from ‘A3′, the oldest surviving car…

Vanquish Volante Kensington Gardens

Vanquish Volante

…to the Vanquish Volante, Vanquish Centenary Edition and V12 Vantage S.

CC100 Kensington Gardens


The CC100 Speedster Concept, which made its debut at this May’s 24 Hours of Nürburgring race was also on show alongside a number of Aston Martin’s most historic race cars.

DB9 Spyder Zagato Centennial

The DB9 Spyder Zagato Centennial and the DBS Coupe Zagato Centennial

One huge surprise was the inclusion of two special Zagato-designed cars – the DB9 Spyder Zagato Centennial and the DBS Coupe Zagato Centennial, which until this event had only appeared as artist’s renderings and rumors.

Kensington Gardens AstonMartin

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante

Aston Martin reveals new Vanquish Volante

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante

Aston Martin unveiled, this week, their upcoming 2014 Vanquish Volante convertible model, which it touts as the “pinnacle” of their sports car line-up.

The $300,000 convertible version of the flagship Vanquish can go from 0-62mph (100km/h) in 4.1 seconds and on a top speed of 183mph (295km/h) and, thanks to its 6.0-litre V12 engine, power is always on tap at any speed and acceleration is prompt at any point from idle to redline.

2014 aston martin vanquish volante

A super GT car rather than an out-and-out supercar, the Volante is designed for long, entertaining and exciting continental roadtrips rather than for setting new lap records at the local circuit.

Hence a six-speed automatic, rather than manual transmission – but that doesn’t mean that the car can’t hold its own against its competition!

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante blue

As with many flagship Astons, however, the emphasis of the Vanquish Volante is as much on comfort as it is on out-and-out performance, and cabin space is such that rear-seat passengers will be able to avoid discomfort on longer journeys.

Luggage space is also rather generous for a car of this nature making it great for long weekends away or even for everyday use. This has been achieved by separating the roof’s storage compartment from the trunk space.

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante interior

A number of convertibles, particularly those with metal rather than cloth retracting roofs, tend to lie flat in the trunk when retracted, taking up space that could have otherwise been used for suitcases and other loads.

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante start button

Inside it’s business as usual: cut-glass buttons with haptic feedback that vibrate to touch, a swooping center console and large-screen touch-sensitive infotainment display.

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante photo

Aston Martin has also introduced new trim designs for the Volante but with its Q branch bespoke arm up and running, the sky’s the limit as to what clients can specify in terms of wood veneers, leather and other internal and external features.

Aston Martin Vanquish Volante back

Q branch and the options book notwithstanding, the standard car will cost £199,995 in the UK, €264,995 in continental Europe, $297,995 in the US and $323,974 in Dubai.

The order book is open now and the first deliveries are expected towards the end of 2013.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S pic

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S

The new range-topping Aston Martin V12 Vantage S draws on the company’s race car technology to create an extreme, track-focused supercar.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S

The car, which Aston Martin claims plays second fiddle only to its One-77 hypercar in terms of performance, is capable of hitting 205mph (330kph) and is the first vehicle from the British company to feature its new seven-speed Sportshift transaxle and gearbox, derived from its racing car technology.

Developed for performance in any driving conditions, the V12 Vantage S offers drivers over 500bhp (573PS) of power and plenty of torque across the rev band from idling to red line, so that power and acceleration are always there, no matter at what speed the car is traveling or in which gear.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S photo

Also helping the Vantage S to deliver when needed is the new gearbox — essentially a hydraulically assisted automated manual transmission — which ensures the smallest possible gap between gear changes and therefore loss of torque.

And while this will no doubt make the car incredible on the track or in straight-line drag races, a paddle-shift gearbox will never replicate the delicacy and control that a manual gearbox and a clutch give the driver.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S pic

It doesn’t matter how fast a car can go if it can’t be parked at the end of a hard day’s racing. Reverse parking without a clutch pedal is not for the faint-hearted, especially when the car being parked costs over $200,000.

But this is clearly a car focused on speed. Much of the aluminum bright work usually associated with Aston Martins — such as on the air intake grilles — has been replaced withcarbon fiber, while inside, the now familiar dashboard layout has a new addition — selector switches for engaging the car’s active damping system to tailor performance for Normal, Sport, and Track conditions

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S interior

For example, switching to Sport mode opens the exhaust, increases the speed and timing of gear changes, firms the suspension and backs off the sensitivity of the power steering. All of which makes the V12 Vantage S one of the most hardcore road cars the company has ever developed.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S top

Aston is yet to confirm pricing, but expect the V12 Vantage S to retail for €175,000 before optional extras when Aston Martin starts taking orders.

Luxury cars going increasingly customized

Bespoke Home of Rolls Royce motor collection

New statistics reveal that the demand for personalization in the ultra luxury car segment is not only a growing trend but is one being driven by Middle Eastern clients.

According to Rolls-Royce, in q1 2013, nearly every one of its flagship Phantoms were commissioned with bespoke personalization, while 75% of its smaller Ghost luxury saloons also left the production line with some form of client personalisation.

The company’ figures, which stretch back to 2005, show that even seven years ago, 50% of all clients were in search of something more than ‘stock’ luxury — 75% of cars destined for the Middle East were personalized, as were 55% of European and 50% of vehicles destined for Asia.

However, in North America, a region that has made customization — of every type of car from family run-around to limousine — mainstream, a mere 30% of orders were for customized Phantoms.

Fast forward to today and the US is only behind the Middle East in terms of personalization — 95% of Phantoms headed for the US are customized, compared with 100% of those destined for the Middle East and 93% of those sold in Europe.

This growing demand is such that Rolls-Royce has had to expand The Home of Rolls-Royce, its bespoke personalization arm, doubling the number of designers, craftsmen and engineers it employs.

But this trend is not confined to Rolls-Royce. Aston Martin and McLaren have also witnessed growing demand for bespoke features.

Aston Martin officially opened its Q by Aston Martin bespoke personalisation service in April, allowing discerning clients to specify both interior and exterior features, but its dedicated designers are happy to help a customer design any luxury item, be it a yacht or even a house — Aston Martin claims that its designers have already worked in collaboration with a client’s architect for that very purpose.

McLaren showcased what it calls its Special Operations division, which is charged with the delivery of bespoke projects, at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August 2011.

Twenty-one months later, 25% of McLaren cars leaving the production do so following bespoke customisation and roughly 50% are for North American clients.

“The levels of McLaren Special Operations content on the 12C and 12C Spider has been steadily increasing throughout the year, with a diverse range of upgrades requested from owners looking to put a unique twist on their McLaren,” says Paul Mackenzie, Programme Director at McLaren Automotive.

To celebrate the growing demand for personalization, Rolls-Royce has handed design duties over to its bespoke department for a special range of Phantom and Ghost models that will launch later this year.

Each model produced will feature a special celebration motif in hand-crafted marquetry, plus a special embroidered pattern adorning armrests and console lids that require 112,533 individual stitches and that, even with a precision embroidery machine, take over an hour to complete.

Meanwhile McLaren is expanding the reach of its Special Operations unit too, so that clients who specified their supercars before the company started offering the service, can re-specify their cars.

Rolls Royce motor cars bespoke design