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Here's Why the Aston Martin Vanquish S Costs $350,000

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author photo by Doug DeMuro October 2017

I recently had the chance to get behind the wheel of the new 2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S, which is the flagship of the Aston Martin model line. You know it's the flagship because of the price tag: The one I drove had a sticker price of $350,000. Three hundred and fifty thousand dollars. This probably seems like an enormous amount of money, but people will pay it, and today I'm going to tell you why.

First, I should note that I had the chance to drive the Vanquish S at Aston Martin of Washington, D.C., which (as you might expect) is the Aston Martin dealer near Washington, D.C. They have this thing sitting in the showroom, and that's where it rightfully belongs, because the Vanquish S is absolutely beautiful.

I mean it. Absolutely. Beautiful. The one I drove was a "Volante," which is Aston Martin-speak for "convertible," and the styling was basically perfect in every way. Every line is exactly right, the whole car is gorgeous, there are no stupid details and, honestly, it looks better than every other Aston Martin model -- even though, oddly enough, they all look pretty similar. Somehow this one just has better lines and a more muscular shape … it's amazing.

But style alone can't convince someone to write a check for $350,000, and so that's where performance comes in. The new Vanquish S Volante -- I keep saying "new" because the "S" model is new even though the Vanquish itself has been out for a few years -- has a 5.9-liter V12 with 580 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque, which is a lot, just in case you didn't know. It also uses a very fast-shifting automatic transmission, which is a huge improvement over the Aston Martin automatics of yore. The result is zero to 60 in something like 3.6 seconds, which is especially impressive for a vehicle that's ultimately more "luxury" than "performance"; a car that's not designed to mimic Ferrari or Lamborghini performance -- and yet does anyway, sort of as a byproduct of simply existing with the kind of engine and transmission Aston Martins now have.

But let me go back to that "luxury" thing for a second. This car is loaded with cool stuff, like an Aston Martin umbrella, and gorgeous exterior lights, and a beautiful paint color, and handsome wheels, and blah blah blah, but the coolest part of all is the interior stitching. Aston Martin calls it "fliograph quilting," and it's all over the interior -- the front seats, the rear seats, the door panels, even the headliner on coupe models. It's not at all symmetrical, but it looks like a spider web -- and it's just about the coolest interior stitching I've ever seen. It costs something like $3,700 extra, but I dare say it might actually be worth it.

On the road, the Vanquish S Volante does feel every bit as fast as described, though it's worth noting it isn't exactly an exotic supercar -- even if it does have the performance numbers and price tag of one. The Vanquish weighs in at nearly 3,900 pounds, maybe even more in convertible form, and it drives like it; handling is sporty, sure, and the car remains relatively planted to the ground even in hard turning, but this isn't a midengine exotic car, and it's not as frenetic. You won't really be rewarded by throwing this thing into corners. Instead, your primary reward comes from gently entering turns, maybe applying some serious throttle on the way out and listening to the glorious noise, but not pushing it too hard. This is a car you can push, but why would you? You've got six other cars back at home for that.

The other reward when you have a Vanquish S Volante comes from parking it and simply looking at it. The DB11's styling is a bit more polarizing than the larger Vanquish, as it's riskier and more modern, but the Vanquish just oozes beauty. No matter where I took it, and no matter how busy I clearly looked, people couldn't resist coming up to me and telling me how beautiful they thought my car was. Then they couldn't believe it when I told them what it cost.

But some people out there will believe it, because some people out there will buy one of these. Only a handful of people, sure, but a few indeed -- and they'll cruise around in their rolling work of art, sitting on their filograph quilting, and the rest of us will watch from afar, hoping someday we'll be able to buy one, used, at a heavily discounted price, with an unlimited mileage, bumper-to-bumper warranty.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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Here's Why the Aston Martin Vanquish S Costs $350,000 - Autotrader