How much difference can a transmission make? Aston Martin just upgraded the Vanquish and the Rapide S for the 2015 model year with ZF's Touchtronic III eight-speed automatic gearbox, making everything about them faster.
The arrival of this new eight-speed proves that the V8 Vantage N430 is probably the last Aston to have a manual gearbox, but the future still looks bright thanks to all the added speed. That solves everything.
ZF's eight-speed auto is pretty clever. Those of you interested on the engineering side will be happy to know that this is the first time that it has been incorporated into a transaxle layout, but what's more important is that it's lighter, faster, cuts emissions by about 10 percent while adding a few horsepower as well thanks to a reduction in exhaust gas back pressure as a result of ratio adjustment.
So, the 6.0 V12 produces 568 hp in the Vanquish and 552 hp in the Rapide S, with peak torque at 464 pound feet at 5,500 rpm in both cars. Still, it's changing gears in 130 milliseconds that makes both Astons quite a lot faster.
The 0-62 mph time of the Vanquish was cut to 3.8 seconds from 4.1 while the four-door Aston does it in 4.4 seconds compared to this year's 4.7 figure. That, and a top speed of 200+ mph.
Aston Martin also promises sharper steering and throttle response thanks to the latest management system from Bosch. The suspension got upgraded as well with the Vanquish being 15% stiffer at the front and 35% stiffer at the rear. The Rapide S got larger front brakes while both cars come with a retuned brake booster and amended rear suspension bushes that are 20% stiffer than before.
New ten-spoke forged alloys complete the package that save about 15 pounds of unsprung weight.
Diavalo Red paint will be available, a color previously limited to the awesome V12 Zagato.
Inside, things can get crazier with the introduction of the blue-black Dark Knight and Fandango Pink. The Rapide S can also have Duotone leather seat finish in Sahara Tan and Vibrant Red, while new headlining options mix quilting with the leathers or Alcantara.
To sum it up, great just got better with Aston Martin getting a bit of modern gizmo, but to be honest, they could just as well sell me a horse carriage as long as it come with this, the Aston V12:
AMG power will certainly be nice in upcoming Aston Martins for sure, but a 6.0 V12 is a 6.0 V12.