An Almost Menacing Aston

The V12 Vanquish

"Almost menacing" is how Ian Callum, Aston Martin Lagonda's design director, describes the look of the V12 Vanquish, now for sale in the United States for a base price of $228,000. In fact, the car practically smirks. The V12 boasts a 12-cylinder, 48-valve aluminum-alloy engine. Its Formula 1-style twin paddle shifter provides almost instantaneous gear changes (it can also operate automatically). The combination allows the two-ton Vanquish to shoot from zero to 60 mph in under four and a half seconds, and to 100 mph in under ten.

Available as a two-door coupe with either two- or four-passenger seating, the Vanquish replaces the Vantage and joins the two-year-old DB7, the most popular model in company history. Only 200 Vanquishes will be hand-built this year in the Newport Pagnell factory, and each requires eight weeks to complete. Orders are now being taken for 2003. For information: 201-818-8351.