The Aston Martin V12 Vanquish is a grand tourer that was introduced in 2001 as a successor to the aging Virage range. Featuring a maximum speed in excess of 190 mph and a 6.0-liter V12 engine developing more than 450 horsepower, the vehicle was unveiled at the 2001 Geneva Motor Show and was produced from 2001 to 2005. The V12 Vanquish was replaced by the DBS in 2007, with the Vanquish name being revived in 2012 for the successor to the DBS.
The V12 Vanquish rose to fame after being featured as the official James Bond car in Die Another Day, the twentieth James Bond film. In the film, the Vanquish has the usual Bond film embellishments, including adaptive camouflage which rendered the vehicle virtually invisible. It subsequently appeared in the 2002 video game Nightfire (can be driven in the console version only), as well as 2004's Everything or Nothing.
The V12 Vanquish was available as either a 2+2 or 2 seat coupe. The distinctive radiator grille and lower air intake are flanked by driving lamps and turn indicators. Both the front wings and hood panels incorporate a series of finely detailed compound curves which sweep back to intersect dramatically with the main cabin form. The rear fenders also flare out from the bodyside, extending back to a wide rear deck that supports the upper cabin, reminiscent of the DB5. The main body structure of the V12 Vanquish including the floor and the front and rear bulkheads are formed from extruded aluminum sections bonded and riveted around the central transmission tunnel which is constructed entirely from carbon fiber. Single piece composite inner body side sections with carbon fibre windscreen pillars are also bonded to the central structure to create a high strength safety cell. The Vanquish is powered by a 5.9 L (5935 cc) 48-valve 60° V12 engine, which produces 343 kW (460 hp) and 542 N·m (400 ft·lbf) of torque. It is controlled by a fly-by-wire throttle and a 6-speed 'paddle shift' or semi-automatic transmission and will accelerate to 60 mph in under 4.5 seconds and 100 mph in under 10 seconds.
The Vanquish has drawn criticism for a number of weaknesses in its design. In particular, some interior materials have been cited as unfit for a car of this price and prestige. Much of the aluminum trim is actually plastic and several of the instruments are visibly related to items from less exotic Ford Motor Company products. Additional concerns of owners and testers included the weight and apparent cooling system deficiencies of the car. Weighing well over two tons with driver and fuel, the car's sporting aspirations were drawn into question by its excess weight and a cooling system that reportedly failed to support sustained track activity in warm weather.
James Bond's Vanquish
Die Another Day
In the film Die Another Day, after having his license to kill reinstated by M, Bond is equipped with his new car - the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish (playfully nicknamed the "Vanish"). The car was equipped with all the usual Bond refinements including its most notorious feature: a cloaking device, which allowed it to become practically invisible at the push of a button. The car would go on to be heavily featured in the movie, especially during the Iceland segments, where the car is involved in an elaborate chase sequence with a Jaguar XKR driven by the villain's henchman Zao.
Whilst the standard car came with rear wheel drive and a massive 5.9-litre V12, the Vanquish used for filming was equipped with four-wheel drive and a Ford-sourced 300bhp V8 in order to increase traction on the ice.
Following the release of Die Another Day, the V12 Vanquish would appear in the 2002 video-game Nightfire. The game was released in two very different versions for the PC and console platforms; with driving elements not present in the PC variant. In the console version of Nightfire, players got a chance to race through the streets of Paris, through Austrian villages and plunge into the depths of the South Pacific. Influenced heavily by Electronic Arts' previous 007 games, Agent Under Fire, the vehicle was equipped with a range of new features including a rocket booster, EMP pulse, smokescreen generator and a sub-aquatic mode reminiscent of the Lotus Esprit S1 from the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me.
Everything or Nothing
Also in the 2003 video-game Everything or Nothing, 007 would use the V12 Vanquish. In this game, the players would drive it in the streets of New Orleans, equipped with missiles, machine guns, an electromagnet, and an acid slick.
Die Another Day
|Shotguns — Concealed under the hood air vents are two target-seeking shotguns capable of automatically tracking and shooting hostile objects.|
|Machine guns — Concealed directly behind the Aston's distinctive radiator grille are two forward-firing heavy machine guns.|
|Rockets — Also behind the front radiator grille, flanked on either side by a pair of machine guns, is the onboard rocket launcher. It comes armed with four forward-firing rockets.|
|Remote control — As with the BMW Z8 and 750iL, the V12 Vanquish was equipped with a remote control mechanism controlled from Bond's keyring. It can be used to both start and beckon the car.|
|Passenger ejector seat — Marking its first active appearance since 1964's Goldfinger, the Vanquish's ejector seat is used to flip the vehicle onto its wheels again, after a missile knocks it upside down.|
|Retractable tire spikes— As with the Aston Martin V8 Vantage , the Vanquish is equipped with retractable tire spikes for providing additional traction in sub-zero conditions.|
|Adaptive camoflage — The V12 is also equipped with a sophisticated cloaking device. Tiny cameras project what they see onto a light-emitting polymer skin on the opposite side, rendering the car effectively invisbile to the naked eye.|
|Reinforced chassis — The Vanquish's chassis has been reinforced to withstand impact damage from most conventional firearms. The windshield and rear windscreen are also bullet-proof.|
|Radial Thermal imaging — Concealed in the center console is an LCD display which shows output from the Aston's thermal imaging sensors. Bond uses the equipment to navigate through the melting ice palace to rescue Jinx.|
According to the switches in the car's control console the Vanquish is also equipped with a mortar, lasers and grenades. None of which are actually used in the film.
|Machine guns — As with its Die Another Day variant, the Nightfire Vanquish is armed with two forward-firing heavy machine guns, hidden directly behind the Aston's distinctive radiator grille.|
|Missiles — Concealed below the hood air vents are a pair of guided missile launchers. The vehicle comes armed with a total magazine of 30 forward-firing missiles.|
|Smoke screen — In addition to other counter-measures, a smoke screen can be vented from an emitter concealed behind the rear number plate, which flips upwards and retracts into the body of the car.|
|Submersible mode — Similar to the Lotus Esprit S1, the Nightfire Vanquish has the ability to transform into a two-man submersible. Transforming components include wheel arches that turn into fins and four propellers which emerge from the lower rear of the vehicle.|
|Torpedoes — In submersible mode, the car could fire small, highly explosive guided torpedoes from a launcher located between the car's radiator grille. Two torpedoes can be fired at a time, with a total of 30 torpedoes stored on-board.|
|Remote torpedoes — While submerged, the Vanquish was equipped with with two remote-controlled torpedo launchers on either side of the vehicle and are concealed behind the side vents. A total of 15 missiles are equipped.|
- Pierce Brosnan actually owned a 2002 Aston Martin V12 Vanquish until it was destroyed in a house fire in February 2015.
- The V12 Vanquish is the first Aston Martin to appear in the series since the DB5 in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), and is the first new Aston since The Living Daylights (1987). It also sealed the deal for Aston Martin and EON productions, as the two companies started an exclusive partnership for the James Bond Franchise, therefore every Bond car since Die Another Day is an Aston Martin.
- Though the cloaking technology was deemed "far-fetched" at the time. In the 2012 Top Gear special "50 Years Of Bond Cars", presenter Richard Hammond drove a Ford Transit van to try and test this theory. Using plasma TV's and cameras mounted on each side (similar to what is stated in the film), he demonstrated that the technology is at least plausible, albeit a bit impractical. He also pointed out several real-world implications an "invisible" car might face, like the legal issues regarding the safety of other road users around the car.