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A new 8-speed auto makes Aston Martin’s latest Vanquish its fastest model ever

Can you believe the Aston Martin Vanquish has been around for almost fifteen years? It seems like just yesterday that Pierce Brosnan was whipping his Q-equipped ‘Vanish’ around a melting ice castle in Die Another Day, dropping chandeliers on fools and saving Halle Berry.

In those fifteen years, Aston Martin’s lauded grand tourer has changed a lot, but the British automaker is still committed to keeping the old dog fresh.

The ‘15 Model Year’ version of the Vanquish is coming soon, and it’s getting enhancements that could make even James Bond’s R&D wizard jealous.

At the forefront of the new additions is an eight-speed, Touchtronic automatic gearbox that will debut in the Vanquish and upcoming Rapide S later this year. Aston says it’s the first time a transmission of this type has been fitted to a transaxle layout, and it will help both cars shave significant time off their sprints to 60 mph.

The Vanquish’s time is dropping from an already impressive 4.1 seconds to a seriously fast 3.6; the four-door Rapide now tackles that feat in 4.2 ticks (.5 down from before).

Because of the Touchtronic’s revised final drive, both cars are now capable of top speeds over 200 mph. In fact, the Vanquish is now officially the quickest production car Aston Martin has ever made.

The gearbox can’t get all the credit, though.

A new engine management system by Bosch gives would-be Bonds more control over engine output, and reduced exhaust back pressure allows the British V12 to breathe more freely. The process only frees up a few ponies, but fuel economy has been improved noticeably: the Vanquish shows a 7 percent increase and the Rapide boasts a 13 percent gain.

Both cars are bound to be more responsive in the corners as well: the Vanquish gets new dampers that improve stiffness by 15 percent up front and 35 percent out back, while the Rapide gets larger brakes under the bow.

In classic Aston fashion, the styling isn’t changing much. A new, lighter ten-spoke wheel is along for the ride, though, as are some new colors, including the blue-black Dark Knight and the bodacious Fandango Pink.

A bright pink Aston, eh? Well, never say never.

(Images courtesy of Aston Martin)

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