Spectre is nearly upon us, the next episode in the James Bond series bringing with it a conceptual peek at the future of Aston Martin courtesy of the DB10. As for how much Bond's new ride predicts the DB11 that will be offered to civilians, "elements" is the most concrete word we've heard to describe the bridge from one to the other, and that doesn't tell us much. Still in the dark about where Aston Martin is going, we recently got the opportunity to remember where it's been. Some friends of Autoblog at Regency Car Rental in LA told us we could borrow their 2005 Aston Martin Vanquish S, so we spent the day hunting nefarious types on twisty Malibu roads, then cruising the Valley looking for a tuner shop that could install a minigun. The Vanquish played a role in the 2002 film Die Another Day, back when Pierce Brosnan made a living as the roguish, rakish MI6 asset. The film rekindled the union between the agent and Aston Martin after a three-movie interlude in which Bond drove BMWs, including, oh-so-briefly, a Z3. Returning with a bang – make that thousands of large- and small-caliber bangs – Q Branch fitted the hero car with rockets, guns that could shoot incoming projectiles, machine guns, an ejector seat, and invisibility camouflage. On the chicest streets in the sleekest LA neighborhoods the Vanquish S still passes the look-at-me test. The Vanquish S we picked up from Regency didn't have any of that, but as indicated by that S at the end it did have more power and performance than the standard Vanquish in the movie. Horsepower from the 5.9-liter V12 went from 460 to 520 in the S, and this model also got stiffer springs, new suspension geometry, quicker steering, and 19-inch lightweight wheels. Exterior modifications were a wider, more curved grille, a front splitter (not present on this car), and a larger rear spoiler. On the most chic streets in the sleekest LA neighborhoods the Vanquish S still passes the look-at-me test – everywhere we went, men and women paid attention to our arrival. As for us, we're split on its looks right down the middle of the car. We've been fans of the front since the day of the reveal, especially the front fascia and headlights, but we're still not sold on the rear, starting from where the vertical line in the door where the sheetmetal expands into those trademark haunches. We didn't encounter anyone else with such reservations. We answered questions about it all day, the admiration this ten-year-old coupe elicits best exemplified by the guy in a Fiat 500 who stopped his car in traffic to make inquiries. Another note of respect: we found that slower traffic in the left lane will always get out of your way. It's hard not to notice the Vanquish S for another reason: its volume. Before the days of the crystal Emotion Control Unit, the fire-up sequence began with a traditional key …
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|MPG||11 City / 17 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd auto-shift man w/OD|
|Power||520 @ 7000 rpm|
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