Aston Martin is no stranger to premium sports car enthusiasts, but its models have long had the stigma of being a tad behind the eight-ball in terms of raw performance. Not that Astons are particularly slow, but many of the British automaker’s models fall short of their rivals. Apparently, Aston Martin is addressing this stigma and blowing it out of the water with huge performance boosts for the 2015 Vanquish and Rapide S.
These performance updates come courtesy of a new-for-2015 Touchtronic III eight-speed automatic transmission integrated into a transaxle setup for the first time, a change in the final drive ratio and slight power increases. Aston Martin claims that the 2015 Vanquish will produce 568 horsepower and the Rapid S will produce 552 ponies, which account for three-horsepower and two-horsepower increases, respectively. Both cars also see their torque jump to 465 pound-feet, which is an eight-pound-feet increase over the 2014 models.
The added power, lighter gearbox and 130-millisecond shifts all add up to significantly quicker sprint times. Both the Vanquish and Rapide S experience half-second drops in their 0-to-60-mph sprint times, which puts the 2015 models at 3.6 seconds and 4.2 seconds to 60 mph, respectively. A half second may not seem like much on paper, but in a sprint to highway speed it is an eternity.
The revised final drive ratio helps decrease emissions by about 10 percent, putting the Vanquish at 298 grams per km and the Rapide S at 300 grams per km. This new ratio also results in a seven-percent and 13-percent gain in combined fuel economy for the Vanquish and Rapide S, respectively. Given Aston Martin’s estimates are confirmed by the EPA, these gains would put the Vanquish at 16 mpg combined and the Rapide S at 17 mpg combined; not bad numbers from a 5.9-liter V-12. The decreased emissions and increased fuel economy are both great, but the best part of this new drive ratio is that both models will eclipse 200 mph.
The updates continue to the 2015 Vanquish’s suspension, which will feature 15-percent stiffer front dampers and 35-percent stiffer rear dampers. The Rapide S gets a larger set of brakes for 2015, and both cars receive revised brake boosters, revised torque tubes for quieter operation, new steering ECUs for better response and 20-percent stiffer rear suspension bushings.
It looks to me that Aston Martin is ready to shed the “posh sports car” label and show off its true performance abilities. Look for the 2015 Vanquish and Rapide S to debut in the third quarter of 2014.