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Geneva show: Aston Martin Vanquish reborn

Vanquish to return as Aston Martin’s first mid-engined series-production supercar

Aston Martin logo6 Mar 2019

ASTON Martin has resurrected the Vanquish nameplate for its first-ever mid-engined series-production supercar, heralding the forthcoming coupe with a stunning near-final concept unveiled at the Geneva motor show this week.
 
Its emergence confirms long-running speculation that the British sports-luxury marque would extend its burgeoning mid-engined family from the hypersphere – in Valkyrie and the just-announced sub-Valkyrie coupe dubbed AM-RB 003 – to a more affordable and accessible model that becomes a permanent member of the stable and competes with the likes of Ferrari’s new F8 Tributo and the McLaren 720S.
 
By its own admission, Aston had left the door open for such an impressive revival, slotting in the DBS Superleggera as a successor to the previous (front-engined V12) Vanquish as it began development – several years ago – of an all-new flagship series-production supercar that, when it emerges in 2022 from the Gaydon factory in Warwickshire, will become the fourth member of its mid-engined series after Valkyrie, Valkyrie AMR Pro and AM-RB 003.
 
Codenamed AM9, the new Vanquish will draw heavily from these hypercars in design and engineering, where careful packaging, weight reduction and aerodynamic efficiency are paramount, but will be built on a newly developed bonded aluminium architecture. 
 
The Valkyrie and AM-RB 003 are based on all-carbon-fibre structure and bodywork.
 
Aston’s new twin-turbocharged V6 engine will be employed in the Vanquish, as also announced for the AM-RB 003 but suitably modified for this application. 
 
The 003 hypercar will use electrification to push its power output up to around 800kW. It remains to be seen whether a hybrid set-up is employed in Vanquish, which will need to pack a good 530kW-plus wallop to be competitive against its key rivals.
 
Explaining the differences between the Vanquish Vision Concept, as it is known, and the Valkyrie and AM-RB 003, Aston Martin design director Miles Nurnberger said the Vanquish has “a more seductive and less technical appearance”.
 
“But it’s still extreme in terms of visual gestures,” he said. “For example, it has a very distinctive clamshell front fender, with openings so you can see through onto the tyre. There’s less of the negative space that defines the look of the Aston Martin Valkyrie and AM-RB 003. 
 
“It’s a prettier car, and purposely so, as it’s been designed to thrive in a less extreme performance envelope. But, while being very much at home on the road, it will still be equally capable when chasing lap times on a racetrack. 
 
“As a result, it’s less provocative and more classical in its look. Its beauty comes from a shift in emphasis from the aggressive, function-driven surfaces of Aston Martin Valkyrie and AM-RB 003 to more flowing and sensuous forms, while retaining a resolute athleticism and modernity.
 
“(These are) critical qualities in expressing the distinct character and capabilities of what will be Aston Martin’s first mid-engined series-production supercar.”
 
Chief technical officer Max Szwaj added that the Vanquish concept “is the point when the things we have learned during the Aston Martin Valkyrie and AM-RB 003 programs reach the series-production models”.
 
“Although it takes Aston Martin into new territory, it does so with the benefit of hard-won knowledge, ground-breaking ideas and an uncompromising mindset,” he said.
 
“What you see here should tell you this car will not only compete at the highest level, but it will do so in a manner and style unique to Aston Martin.”
 
The company describes the reborn Vanquish as its “most ambitious model” and one that “provides further evidence of the proudly British brand’s intent to compete in one of the most hotly contested market sectors in the automotive world – one traditionally defined by Italian supercar-makers”.
 
In presenting the concept in Geneva, Aston Martin Lagonda president and group chief executive Andy Palmer said it felt “entirely appropriate” to attach the Vanquish name to such a radically different model because the moniker is still “synonymous with our series-production flagships”.
 
He added that it marks “another pivotal moment in Aston Martin’s history” – and another critical step in delivering its so-called ‘Second Century Plan’ announced three years ago, that will see seven new models delivered by 2023.
 
As well as the bevy of all-new mid-engined models and the DBS Superleggera, these include Aston’s first all-electric model, the Rapide E, due later this year, the all-new Vantage launched here last year and two SUVs – the forthcoming DBX due 2020 and a super-luxury off-roader for the Lagonda brand previewed in Geneva this week by yet another concept from Aston Martin, which is arguably making its presence felt like never before.
 
“Our first series-production rear mid-engined supercar will be a transformational moment for the brand, for it is the car that will propel Aston Martin into a sector of the market traditionally seen as the heartland of luxury sportscars,” Mr Palmer said. 

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