Aston Martin executives get philosophical when they describe the development process of the new Vanquish and its underpinnings. The British manufacturer's new top-of-the-line model is still based on the VH architecture that debuted with the DB9 in 2003. But VH is not a platform, Aston suits explain: It is a method and a way of continuous improvement. VH stands for “vertical horizontal”—“vertical” meaning shared construction and “horizontal” meaning shared components, i.e. across several models. With each significant new vehicle introduction, VH enters a new generation; now the architecture is now entering gen four, it is explained.
The new Vanquish replaces the DBS, which replaced the first-generation Vanquish. That car was launched in 2001 as the brand's top-of-the-line model—a rare and expensive car hand-assembled in Aston Martin's old Newport Pagnell production site. Resurrecting the Vanquish nameplate emphasizes the new car's status at the top of the brand's lineup, while distancing it from the DBS, which was too close to the DB9 not only in name, but also in execution.
The Vanquish does actually mark a significant evolution of the VH architecture in a few ways. For starters, most of its body panels are constructed from carbon fiber; they are hung on an upgraded version of Aston's bonded-aluminum monocoque. Aston claims the new platform is 25 percent torsionally stiffer than the DBS’s. The front-end structure is lower and also lighter, thanks to the use of hollow-cast aluminum. Overall weight has been reduced by 120 pounds or so; based on DBS models we’ve weighed, that will put the Vanquish at around 3800 pounds. The Vanquish has a stated 50/50 weight distribution; the steering is of the conventional, hydraulically boosted type. Carbon-ceramic brakes are standard, as is a three-mode (Normal, Sport, Track) driver-selectable suspension. Twenty-inch wheels are standard, and are fitted with 255/35 front and 305/30 rear Pirelli P Zero rubber. Vehicle dynamics benefit from mounting the V-12 engine lower than before, which was required to comply with pedestrian-protection regulations.
Thanks to: Car and Driver