The Lead Story
Lap of luxury
by MIKE OCHONMA
June 9, 2013 | 2:24 pm| | | Start Conversation
The world of wheels gets really interesting every day. BusinessDay Wheels owes our readers an obligation to offer them the latest in the motoring world as could be seen in this week’s edition where we have featured the new Aston Martin Vanquish DB9 that comes with doses of luxury inside out. It is a unique four wheels rarely sighted on Nigerian roads.
Memories of this speed machine keep coming to mind each time I recall the driving experience of a privileged owner of Aston Vanquish during one of my test-drive assignments in Liverpool, the United Kingdom. In standard form, the Vanquish comes in a 2+0 seating arrangement, meaning a couple of parcel-shelf-like spaces are found behind the front seats.
Sinking down into the cabin of the Vanquish is a true luxury experience. Fine leather coats most surfaces, the buttons are crafted from glass, and alloy and carbon are in abundance. In case you don’t know, the engineers behind the Aston say it takes over 70 hours to handcraft the interior, which accounts for seven hides of leather, and will require nearly one million separate stitches if a customer specifies the hourglass quilting effect on their seats.
Inside, occupants’ attention is drawn to the new centre stack, which is derived from the One-77. The familiar slot for the glass key, and the gear selector buttons, sited at the top, carry over, but the rest is new. The fascia is formed from one piece of aluminium; the touch-sensitive glass switches for the minor controls provide haptic feedback which gives you small vibrations as you activate them; a new infotainment system is controlled by a joystick.
The customary Aston instrument panel features dials sweeping in opposite directions, adding to the visual drama, but the small digital displays are too hard to read. The Sport and damper control buttons are now on the steering wheel, making them easier to find when the pace is upped; and the shift paddles themselves are a bit special, as they are made of magnesium.
To make the driving experience just right every time you get behind the wheel, Aston Martin has included a setting lock, so the car remembers how you like it to feel and go without the need for you to go through a load of tedious button poking or knob rotating every time you start it up.
As your familiarity with this Aston increases, there’s always the dangling carrot of the Track mode to keep you on your toes. Press and hold the damper setting button and the chassis is reprogrammed for extra stiffness, making it feel even more alive, more dart-like.
Newly designed seats provide the comfort and support needed in a serious GT car, and fittingly, they are handsome. They come with an array of movements, all powered, and occupants are in a position to appreciate the optional seat ventilation.
There is much more space in the interior, which is now wider and offers greater legroom, and the design of the centre armrest is much improved. The result is a luxury car that is so useable that one could imagine driving it every day, lack of storage notwithstanding. Again, there is no glove box, but this is a trifling matter in the scheme of things.
In terms of its uniqueness, luxury, and in particular its design and attention to detail, it is worthy. While the drive is engaging, it is not quite a holy experience, and the hardware technology is dated against the competition.
Test drivers will be impressed with the Vanquish because it is loaded with great things and surprisingly effective too, and while still it still remains a special car, it is designed and targeted at the upwardly mobile youthful population with class.
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