There is one sort of automotive review that is the most difficult to write. It doesn’t deal with a disappointing car. In those cases, you look to list its pros and cons and let the reader evaluate the rest. You make it clear it’s not exactly your cup of motor oil, while acknowledging someone else might find value in it.
A review of an average, generally sufficient car is also not difficult. As long as the relevant details and stats — horsepower, MPG, etc. — are present and accounted for, you state the facts and highlight the tips. If the reader detects a lack of passion for the ride, that’s a statement in and of itself.
The toughest car to review is the dream-fueling, nearly perfect machine. There are only so many superlatives a man can type. If you continue to pile them on top of each other, you start to sound sycophantic. Readers wonder if you’re in the tank for the automaker.
That’s what we’re facing with the current model Aston Martin Vanquish. It looks beautiful. Its exhaust makes a siren sound unique in creation. It’s comfortable. It’s powerful. It’s stuffed with technology. You can fit a large suitcase full of the knickers it knocks off the ladies in the boot. The car challenges any scribe to invent enough ways to say “sublime.”
When asked by a friend what the V12 Vanquish is like to drive, I surprised myself with how quickly I answered: “She’s like driving music.” I don’t mean you might enjoy the experience as much you like your favorite behind the wheel tunes. The metaphor is as precise as I can manage. The experience feels like you’re in command of a symphony, gliding along amidst the stave, infused with the car’s perfect engine notes and the sensation of riding hundreds of precisely harnessed horses.
The 573 equines in question come from a gasoline-powered V12. The six-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel independent suspension can be tightened up for maximum effort with Sport settings, transitioning this grand tourer to a track machine. As for fuel efficiency numbers when you’re driving an Aston Martin, who cares? It’s an Aston. Get on with it.
Technically, the Vanquish is a four-seater coupe. Let’s not kid ourselves, however. I imagine that back seat is in there for some insurance regulation or automotive class specifications reasons. With two proper adults in the front seat, Barbie and Ken wouldn’t have room for martial relations back there.
If there’s anything painful about the Vanquish, it would be the price that sets it outside the reach of the 99% crowd. Starting around $287,000, a review like this is as close to experiencing this Aston Martin as most folks get. That’s unfortunate, but a reality of modern life.
Just as Andy Warhol once said everyone would be famous for 15 minutes in the future, it would be nice if everybody could drive an Aston Martin Vanquish for 15 minutes in their lives. Maybe I’d be out of a job describing the machine, but men and women everywhere would understand what it means to drive a symphony.