Aston Martin auto news

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Aston Martin crafts one-off equestrian-themed DB9 Volante

07/31/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Aston Martin, Luxury

Aston Martin DB9 Volante Equestrian Edition

Ask most people what kind of cars Aston Martin makes and they'll probably tell you it makes sports cars. But it doesn't. No, Aston Martin actually makes luxury GTs that focus at least as much on fine craftsmanship as they do on outright performance. In other words, any Aston Martin - from the 'entry level' V8 Vantage to the flagship Vanquish - packs an unrivaled attention to detail. But for those looking for that extra measure of exclusivity and intricacy, there's Q by Aston Martin. And this is its latest project.

Similar to the Ferrari Tailor Made program, Lamborghini Ad Personam, Porsche Exclusive or Rolls-Royce Bespoke, Q by Aston Martin is dedicated to meeting the specific needs of individual customers who want their luxury GT crafted just so.

We've seen several specially crafted and eye-catching Q projects at auto shows around the world, created to showcase what the division can do. This one was commissioned by a dealership in Los Gatos, CA. Starting with a DB9 Volante, the Q division gave it an equestrian theme with saddle tan leather with diamond-quilted ivory Alcantara trim, light burlwood veneer, specially-embroidered horse-head logos and saddle-style luggage fitted to the rear console. The exterior is finished in Ashen Blonde metallic with ten-spoke diamond-turned wheels in satin champagne and Howlite stone-inlaid logos.

This one-off DB9 will be auctioned off at the Menlo Charity Horse Show, held August 5-10 at the Menlo Circus Club in Atherton, CA, with proceeds to benefit the Vista Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired.

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Weekly Recap: New bosses try to jump-start Cadillac and Lincoln

07/26/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Hirings/Firings, Aston Martin, Cadillac, Dodge, Ford, GM, Infiniti, Lincoln, Nissan, Luxury, Read This

Cadillac and Lincoln

Both of America's domestic luxury brands seem to be stuck in neutral.

It's ironic that Cadillac and Lincoln got new bosses within days of each other this month. It's also a commentary on the fact both of America's domestic luxury brands seem to be stuck in neutral.

Cadillac has received barrels of good ink in recent years, thanks to its sporty, fun-to-drive cars with gaudy horsepower figures and eye-catching designs. The problem is sales have been uneven, and this year they've fallen 1.9 percent to 82,117 vehicles.

Enter Johan de Nysschen. You know him from such roles as the head of Audi in the United States and more recently, as the global boss of Infiniti. Both brands have somewhat underdog status compared with segment leaders Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus, and de Nysschen was lauded for his work at his previous stops, overseeing sales and product successes.

Cadillac went out and got a "name" with a proven track record. The 54-year-old South African brings strong leadership and industry credibility to a brand that needs both. He'll be tested right away, as 554,328 Cadillac CTS and SRX models were recalled in June in the United States for ignition switch problems. More recalls involving Cadillacs and other General Motors vehicles for a welding problem was also announced in July.

He's taking over for Bob Ferguson, who had been dividing his time between Cadillac and handling GM recall response on Capital Hill. Ferguson moved to a full-time role as GM's top public policy and government relations executive in July.

Meanwhile, Ford tapped a relatively obscure engineer, Kumar Galhotra, to lead Lincoln. He's replacing an industry star, Jim Farley, who's giving up the reins at Lincoln to focus on his other job - overseeing Ford's global marketing efforts.

Galhotra doesn't have as much name recognition as Farley or de Nysschen, but that means nothing. Lincoln needs momentum, and the only way Galhotra will ultimately be measured is through increasing sales and strengthening the product portfolio.

Continue reading Weekly Recap: New bosses try to jump-start Cadillac and Lincoln

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What you missed on 7.25.14

07/26/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, Sports/GTs, Government/Legal, Aston Martin, Ford, Mercedes Benz, Luxury

Daily U-Turn

Aston Martin Lagonda super sedan teased

Fans of England's most famous sports car builder have something for which to cheer today, as Aston Martin has revealed two new images of its upcoming Lagonda performance sedan. The luxurious new Aston will be built in "strictly limited series production," with customers arriving by invitation only, and likely only from Middle East regions. Technical details and pricing (if you have to ask...) are still a ways off.

Former Ford engineer investigated by FBI

Ford has been working with the FBI to investigate espionage charges leveled at a recently terminated engineer at the company. In what Ford is calling "a joint investigation" the FBI had warrants to seize listening devices that were allegedly employed by the terminated engineer. For her part, the employee maintains that she has done no wrong, and that any and all listening devices were used without malicious intent.

Mercedes details turbo 4.0L V8 for AMG GT

The days of "no replacement for displacement" continue to fade from memory, as companies like Mercedes-Benz continue to build new, small, turbocharged powerhouses like this 4.0-liter V8. Set to make its home in the upcoming AMG GT sports car, the Mercedes mill is said to produce a robust 510 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, thanks to twin turbochargers and a 7,200-rpm redline. We can almost hear it now...

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Aston Martin Lagonda super sedan officially teased

07/25/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, Sports/GTs, Aston Martin, Middle East, Luxury

Lagonda sedan

Ask anyone who's anyone about Aston Martin and they'll tell you about exclusive and highly desirable two-door luxury GTs - the kind James Bond would drive - but it would be all too easy to forget about the other side of the equation. The company's full name is, after all, Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd., but while the latter name is seldom used, it's about to make a rare comeback.

The British automaker has just confirmed "strictly limited series production" of a new Lagonda saloon, previewed by the two teaser images you see here. The super sedan will be built in the same facility that previously produced the One-77 supercar at the Aston Martin factory in Gaydon and will be available in strictly limited quantities by invitation to select customers exclusively in the Middle East.

Lagona sedanAston Martin has revealed precious few technical details of the new project, but the design clearly pays tribute to the iconically wedge-shaped 1976 Aston Martin Lagonda sedan designed by William Towns, with elements from the recent Zagato-designed Centennial editions evident as well. It will be based on Aston's ubiquitous VH platform that underpins just about everything it currently makes, and given the proliferation of the company's long-serving 6.0-liter V12 engine, we figure it's safe to say that'll provide the motivation as well, with at least the same 565-horsepower output as the Vanquish and the new V12 Vantage S Roadster, if not more.

The announcement, of course, hardly comes as a surprise. Just a few months ago we spotted a disguised prototype for this very vehicle undergoing testing, and Aston has been toying with the idea of a Lagonda revival since the debut of the rather controversial Lagonda crossover concept at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show to mixed reviews. There was since talk of partnering with Mercedes-Benz to revive the Lagonda line along with Maybach, but that ultimately fell through - although the two are still collaborating in other areas, including the provision of a new line of engines and other technologies.

Lagonda was originally founded independently in 1906, was acquired by legendary Aston chief David Brown in 1947 and has popped on and off the radar screen ever since. It remains unclear whether the new sedan will revive the Lagonda handle as a nameplate or as a separate brand, but you can delve into the press release below to read what Aston has confirmed thus far.

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Has Aston Martin abandoned plans for a Lagonda SUV?

07/19/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, Sedans/Saloons, Sports/GTs, SUVs, Aston Martin, Rumormill, Luxury

Aston Martin Lagonda SUV

Aston Martin Lagonda SedanAston Martin may possibly (hopefully?) axe plans for a Lagonda-badged SUV, according to a new report from the blokes at Piston Heads. If this is true, it'd serve as proof that the auto gods are good, and want us to be happy.

The report is based on statements made by Director of Design Marek Reichman.

"We still have plans for the brand. There might be some surprises in the marque's re-establishment into the market place, but as a very unique coachbuilt experience. And that's probably what's most befitting of the brand," Reichman told PH when asked about the Lagonda SUV, which debuted way back in 2009.

"That was a different time [when the Lagonda debuted]," Reichman continued. "It was [Dr. Ulrich Bez's] time. And now we're in a very, very different time, with a different plan and with a different projection of what that brand should become."

Considering the spy shots we've already seen (inset), PH's conclusion that the Lagonda brand would be reborn as an ultra-exclusive sedan doesn't seem far off. As for the rumors that AM would look to Mercedes-Benz for its SUV architecture, well, it's not looking so good any more.

What do you think? Should Aston Martin launch a sedan above the Rapide? What would you expect in terms of price and performance? Let us know in Comments.

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Aston Martin reveals new V12 Vantage S Roadster as its fastest droptop to date

07/16/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Sports/GTs, Aston Martin, Luxury

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S Roadster

You have to hand it to Aston Martin. Its entry-level V8 Vantage may be nearly a decade old, but the British automaker never tires of rolling out ever more powerful versions. Where the original packed a 4.3-liter V8 derived from a Jaguar design and producing 380 horsepower, this latest version packs 565 hp to become the company's quickest and fastest roadster to date, not to mention its most powerful.

Following the debut of the V12 Vantage S coupe, the new V12 Vantage S Roadster packs the most powerful iteration of Aston's ubiquitous 6.0-liter V12 engine to date. Equipped with CNC-machined combustion chambers and hollow camshafts, unburdened of 44 pounds of excess weight and mated to Gaydon's latest Graziano-developed Sportshift III seven-speed sequential gearbox, that engine is capable of propelling the open-top rocket to 60 in 3.9 seconds en route to a top speed of 201 miles per hour. That's considerably quicker than the flagship Vanquish Volante, which runs to 60 in 4.1 seconds and tops out at 183 mph, painting the V12 Vantage S Roadster as Aston's most performance-focused droptop to date.

It's also got a flatter and fatter torque curve than the previous V12 Vantage Roadster, three-stage adaptive damping, three-stage stability control and two-stage ABS, carbon-ceramic disc brakes and a lightweight exhaust derived from the pipes on the One-77. Like what you see? There are more details to digest in the press release below, including a full range of customization options from the Q by Aston Martin catalog.

Continue reading Aston Martin reveals new V12 Vantage S Roadster as its fastest droptop to date

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Kahn and Evanta team up for hot-rod Defender, custom Barchetta

07/10/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Aftermarket, Convertibles, Sports/GTs, SUVs, Aston Martin, Land Rover, UK

Ant-Kahn Evanta Barchetta

If you're familiar with the work of Afzal Kahn, it's probably for his tuned Range Rovers. And if you live in London, you may have seen his Bugatti Veyron with the F1 license plate. But the British tuner and self-styled "automotive fashion designer" is now embarking on a far more ambitious project.

Kahn is teaming up with Ant Anstead of Evanta fame - responsible for rebodying Aston Martin DB7s to look like DB4 GTs and that full-scale DBR1/2 model kit - on a new outfit called Ant-Kahn. Far more than a tuning endeavor, Ant-Kahm is setting about creating truly unique (and uniquely British) automobiles.

Their first project is called the Flying Huntsman, a long-nose Land Rover Defender that we imagine will emerge as something like a British take on the 1998 Jeepster concept crossed with something Icon might concoct. It'll pack a 6.2-liter GM LS3 V8 producing 550 horsepower, mated to a push-button six-speed automatic transmission, mounted close to the bulkhead with over 15 inches of extra bodywork and set to be unveiled within the coming months.

Their second collaboration is set to yield the Evanta Barchetta previewed by rendering above. "Inspired by the design language of 1950s motorsport," the Barchetta pays homage to classic British and Italian roadsters. It's being built around a tubular frame with handcrafted composite Kevlar bodywork and powered by that same LS3 tuned to 450 hp but in a much lighter form than the Flying Hunstman. Only 20 examples will be made after its debut at the Goodwood Revival come September.

An Aston Martin project codenamed WB12 is also in the works, painting a picture of an ambitious startup backed by two experienced operators whose projects we're looking forward to seeing come to fruition.

Continue reading Kahn and Evanta team up for hot-rod Defender, custom Barchetta

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2015 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT

07/09/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Sports/GTs, Aston Martin, Driving, Luxury

2015 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT

Only one thing is going through my mind as I blast down the Autobahn at 170 miles per hour: If someone were to give me $100,000 today, I'd go buy a new Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT tomorrow.

I know there are a dozen other choices out there - cars that are more powerful, quicker around a road circuit and much less expensive, but you can keep your Corvette, your 911, your F-Type, your GT-R and your top-spec pony cars. My money would go towards this entry-level Brit with the metallic green paint and bright-yellow race-inspired accents.

Aston Martin has always crafted alluring - and expensive - automobiles. Yet this is the first time one of its offerings has come close to making sense to both the enthusiast's heart and to his or her accountant. It may sound absurd, but considering the GT's engineering, design, pedigree and hand-crafted execution, its $99,900 sticker price (plus $2,825 destination) makes it an absolute bargain.

To experience the new V8 Vantage GT, a model sold as the N430 in other markets, the British automaker invited me to attend this year's grueling Nürburgring 24-hour race. Before I watched its race-prepared siblings lap the famed circuit for a full day (all four Vantage models that entered finished), I was handed the keys to my very own example - in Alloro green exterior paint with yellow club sport graphics - configured with a welcomed six-speed manual gearbox.

Continue reading 2015 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT

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Here's Aston Martin's DP-100 racer for Gran Turismo in all its virtual glory [w/video]

06/27/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, Coupes, Sports/GTs, Videos, Aston Martin, Toys, Design/Style

Aston Martin DP100 Vision Gran Turismo Concept

After a little bit of teasing, Aston Martin is finally unveiling its Design Prototype 100 Vision Gran Turismo Concept at the Goodwood Festival of Speed that makes it into Gran Turismo 6 in July. With the DP-100, the company's designers have gotten a chance to shrug off the shackles of realism and create the first-ever Aston Martin "road car" with the engine mounted behind the driver.

Designed and engineered over the course of six months by the Aston Martin Design team, the crew started from a clean sheet of paper and were allowed to design whatever they liked with no concerns about production feasibility. At the front, there's the brand's classic grille shape, but otherwise the concept is completely original. The shape of the DP-100 is beautifully simple, looking like a collection of intersecting arches in profile.

Of course, in Gran Turismo 6, gamers are going to want to race the car more than look at it. The DP-100 employs Aston Martin's famous V12 engine coupled with two turbochargers to produce 800 horsepower. Active aerodynamic aids keep it planted during cornering, as well.

Aston Martin previously hinted that it might show off a physical version of the concept at this year's Goodwood Festival. Although, we haven't seen it yet, the concept would fit perfectly next to Nissan's own Vision Gran Turismo design at the celebration of all things automotive. Scroll down to watch a video of the DP-100's designers talking about the car and read the official release.

Continue reading Here's Aston Martin's DP-100 racer for Gran Turismo in all its virtual glory [w/video]

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Aston Martin confirms DP-100 for Gran Turismo 6 and Goodwood debut

06/27/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, Videos, Aston Martin, Misc. Auto Shows, Toys

Gran Turismo 6 is set to come to life this weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. That's where Mercedes-AMG will run its Vision Gran Turismo and Nissan will show a full-size mockup of its Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo. Now Aston Martin has announced it's getting in on the action as well with its Design Prototype 100.

Aston has released a video two teaser images to give us a hint at what it's working on, but will reveal the finished product in the Supercar Paddock at Goodwood tomorrow, although we don't know if that will be in the form of a scale model, a full-size show car, a series of design sketches or a virtual rendition existing only in the game. From the look of the two images, though, it appears that we're dealing with an LMP-style racer with Aston's ubiquitous V12 mounted in the middle of a carbon-fiber chassis.

What we do know for certain is that, when it's released for download next month, it will be the latest (but certainly not the last) in a long line of concepts designed specifically for driving on the PlayStation 3.

Continue reading Aston Martin confirms DP-100 for Gran Turismo 6 and Goodwood debut

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