"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.