Category: Aston Martin

Aston Martin DBX unveiled in South Africa

Aston Martin DBX Front

Aston Martin DBX unveiled in South Africa

Aston Martin DBX revealed in South Africa

Aston Martin South Africa has used the opportunity to reveal its brand new 1,217m² Melrose Arch premises to coincided the reveal of DBX – Aston Martins First SUV. With the support and collative investment from the Daytona group, The New facility serves to highlight the brand’s commitment to the South African Market with the new facility spanning two floors, with a premium lounge feel that exists to simplify and modernise the purchasing experience, boasting a 9-car display and room for both new models and the Aston Approved Timeless programme.

Aston Martin Regional President SA and the UK Philip Eaglesfield said: “As a business, we are working to future proof our business structure and part of that is responding to the growing emphasis on experiential luxury. When we refreshed the Company’s Corporate Identity in 2018, we wanted to ensure that customers could access a relaxed but sophisticated environment. The development in Johannesburg has achieved our brand vision of providing a space to explore and connect with the brand, but remains unique, relevant to the market in South Africa and instantly recognisable in its own right.”

2020 ASTON MARTIN DBX In South Africa

The DBX’s reveal showcased the first interactive experience for the South African market and allowed for a pre-production model “hands-on” experience. Showcasing the new model’s dynamics and uncovered a tantalising Stratus White Pearlescent Paint scheme that in an almost pageantry nature, which exhibits the sheer mass of the DBX and how it comes together beautifully to hide this. an unmistakably Aston Shark-like nose with signature grill heritage is carried through and the lines make the car sleek. The size is very well hidden and the low roofline creates a large SUV coupe feel towards the rear quarter and the line slopes into the ducktail-like Vantage like the rear. In the Flesh, the DBX is a terribly beautiful alternative to the typical premium SUV. It fees a touch smaller than the likes of Cayenne Coupe or Audi’s Q8

The interior is well-appointed with similar ultra-luxury feels shining through. Plush feeling materials, Leather trimmings, and uber comfy seats feel well designed for both support and comfort. Rear space and light are well catered for and there’s clear thought put into the rear given the SUV focus. The Mercedes Benz Collaboration is not limited to the engine with the 10-inch TFT drivers display and the 12.3-inch Touchscreen infotainment lifted from the Germans. A panoramic sunroof is standard and the frameless doors combine with the space to make it feel less confined. Littering’s of exposed naked carbon are everywhere and hint to the sporting heritage that the Aston Martin name holds.

Dynamically DBX is driven by Mercedes AMG derived 4.0 Litre Bi-turbo V8 producing 405kWs and a laughable 800Nm, enough for a Zero- 100 time of 4.5Seconds and a top speed of 291km/h. Despite the 2.2-ton weight, DBX managed a sub 8 second time around the Green Hell.

Aston Martin DBX Pricing in South Africa

Prices start at R3.6 million and orders have begun with the first deliveries due in March of 2020.

New Aston Martin Vantage driven.

Aston Martin Vantage

New Aston Martin Vantage driven.

I must mention that one of my most memorable automotive experiences, involved an Aston Martin. The particular model was the Vantage N430, a car that I had the chance to drive – as a friend had close ties with the local importer in South Africa. Some context is required for me to justify why this vehicle is arguably one of my personal top 5 favourite cars. Firstly, it’s not an easy vehicle to drive. Especially if it’s fitted with the automatic gearbox, which it was. Knowing how to extract a linear experience out of those old school sequential/manual systems is something no millennial would’ve had to do with modern cars. Dual clutch systems have been around since most of us have been driving, so the “lift-off – shift up – get back on” routine is unfamiliar to many of us.

Aston Martin Vantage

This more tedious style of driving a sporty automatic vehicle was the only way of ensuring that the vehicle doesn’t choke on upshift. The N430, equipped with that gearbox felt imperfect, but in a good way. Would I live with the gearbox? No. Parking is a pain and creeping in traffic even more so. Driving in a spirited manner however and getting the shifts right, created a somewhat new sensation, especially with the astonishingly good V8 screaming to the redline. Which brings me to my second point, the engine. What a pleasure. No boost, no whoosh, no lag – just full on unadulterated and normally aspirated lunacy. Cars like the N430 prove that fast doesn’t always mean fun as the N430 can be called quick in today’s standards. A BMW M140i would probably beat it to 100km/h and even further. The guy in the Aston however, will forever be in a state of ecstasy as each revolution brings about a different type of aural pleasure. Lastly, what brings it all together is the chassis. Being a small car, the original Vantage offered nimbleness and rigidity as one of its main attributes. As a result, you have a positive front end and an antsy rear end, creating a giddy feeling, like an excited Jack Russell, eager to play. Taking all those three elements and putting them together, made for a visceral yet human experience for me – forever etching an impression on my mind.

Where to from here?  

It turns out that after speaking to older colleagues, I wasn’t the only one who felt this way about the previous Aston Martin Vantage. Many shared fond memories of the car, compliments and complaints but overall many positive sentiments – putting me at ease as a petrol-head’s mind can easily get infatuated. This experience helped me when the time came for me to drive the new Aston Martin Vantage, a car which has been revealed for some time now in luminous green paint. The sheer aesthetic appeal of this vehicle is enough to get you excited. The car we drove donned the same paintwork as the photos, but in person looked even better. As important as the outside bits are, the most important thing is what makes it tick on the inside? Interestingly, I drove myself to the meeting venue in a Mercedes AMG GTC, a car which the Aston Martin shares the same engine with. That being the case, it was a personal interest of mine to see how similar the engines felt. Before we get into that, let’s talk briefly about the actual inside of the car. Being a car from the early 2000’s, the original Vantage had a quality cabin, but age had caught up with it. Sitting in some of the final iterations of the car emphasized the need for change, as the competition was much further in terms of technologies offered. The new vehicle fixes that. The DB11’s DNA can be seen, with a central infotainment system giving you data, media and other information that can be useful to the driver and passenger. One of the most impressive aspects of the interior cabin was the overall quality of everything. The stitching and materials used, felt in line with the perceived driver of an Aston Martin – someone who doesn’t compromise on style and quality.

Aston Martin Vantage

Lift off:

Firing up the new Vantage is a cause for a smile. Engaging the sport exhausts, is a cause for a grin. Pressing the drive button and setting off was easier than expected, thanks to an eight-speed automatic gearbox – one that is more traffic friendly. In its most normal mode, the Vantage is comfortable. Being a petite vehicle, it doesn’t feel cumbersome in an “everyday” setting. Visibility is adequate, gear shifts are soft and damping is almost GT like. Spending time in the normal setting is not what you do when time is a factor in a car such as this. So off I went into Sport mode and proceeded to wake up the dead as the V8 noise increased dramatically. Sport, Sport + and Track mode of course liven things up by increasing throttle response, firming dampers and adding excitement. Toggling between these three modes allowed me to get to know the car slightly better. The engine is a peach. It screams, it barks on down shifts and the fact that it’s turbocharged means that it’s fast. 0 – 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds fast.

Aston Martin Vantage

Coming back to the Mercedes AMG power-plant, I’m happy to tell you that this car doesn’t feel like an Aston Martin with a Merc engine. The engineers at Aston Martin have tweaked a few things, including the way the engine sounds, so it’s very much “Aston-Martinized”. Having a great engine is one thing, but the chassis is the key and this is where the Vantage shines – as it’s 30% more rigid compared to the old car. What that means is that you’ve got a nimble ride and an eager front end. Even with systems on, one can feel that in the right setting – a skilled driver could easily manage some rear end slides. On the normal road however, the Vantage is a thrill to drive. Is it a worthy successor to the old car? Definitely. The segment it competes in however is very competitive, as Porsche is the staple when it comes to being an everyday sports car. What the Vantage offers however is slightly more exclusivity, but at a price – especially in South Africa. Pricing for this vehicle will be tricky, as the exchange rate varies frequently. At the time of this test drive, the new Vantage would cost a South African similar pricing to that of a GT variant of the 911. By the time the vehicles enter our market, it will be interesting to see where it’s positioned. Being that as it may, the heart wants what it wants. The Aston Martin Vantage does indeed offer a whole lot of “want factor.”


What’s changed with the new Aston Martin Vantage?

Aston Martin Vantage

New Aston Martin Vantage

Aston Martin have been the quieter sports car brand in recent years, with only a few new mainstream models being released. While some may think they have been hiding behind old tyres in their workshop, worrying about the effects of Brexit, they have actually been working on their latest British supercar – the new Aston Martin Vantage.

After many years, the outgoing Aston Martin Vantage still turns heads. That being said, stack it up against it’s latest rivals and it does start to look like that high school teacher you’ve not seen for 10 years – a little bit old. So what’s new?

As you can see from the images, the new Vantage is wildly attractive and features many aerodynamic enhancements to keep it glued to the road. The chassis is a bonded aluminium structure which was first seen on the DB11. The difference here is that 70 percent of the components used are new and are tailored to the Vantage’s dynamics. Terms like “solid mounted rear subframe” have been thrown around but in short, Aston aimed for balance, strength, rigidity and weight efficiency. Great.

The previous V8 Vantage proved to be a recipe worth keeping and that recipe has been passed down to the latest generation with an all-new 4-litre twin-turbo V8 engine. Positioned far back in the engine bay for a better low centre of gravity, the V8 produces 380 kW ( 502bhp) and 685 Nm. This power output and the Vantage’s dry weight of 1530 kg results in a 0-100km/h time of 3.5 seconds. This is a huge difference compared to the outgoing car, Aston Martin however have never seemed to be about obtaining the fastest times. Rather they focus on pure driving experience and noise – we all love noise.

Another new addition is the Electronic Rear Differential (E-Diff) featured on the Vantage. While this may not be of interest to non petrolheads, this E-Diff is linked to the vehicles ESP, and can switch from fully to opened to locked very quickly (milliseconds). Aston say this “makes the car feel much more composed both in terms of its straight-line stability and its cornering performance, providing the driver with increased levels of confidence to explore and enjoy the car’s capabilities to the full.”

The Aston has a good level of standard equipment with features you would also find standard on many modern cars, such as keyless start/stop, tyre pressure monitoring system, parking distance display, park assist and front and rear parking sensors. What you won’t find in some modern cars is the level of luxury and craftsmanship the new Vantage provides, luxurious Alcantara® and leather upholstery is copious and a generous amount of personalisation is offered. The DB11 is a fantastic place to sit and we can’t image the new Vantage would be any different.

International deliveries of the new Aston Martin Vantage are scheduled to commence in the second quarter of 2018, so If you’re interested you should not have to wait much longer we imagine. Expect a price tag of over R2 Million. Register your interest here


More Power, More Downforce: Aston Martin Vulcan AMR PRO




In 2015, the gentlemen from Aston Martin showed us a side we never thought they possessed when they introduced the Vulcan, a vehicle which they described as being “wild, intense and for the track only.” It was a confusing time for all of us but now they have taken that car to what they call ‘extremely breath-taking new extremes’ in the form of the Aston Martin Vulcan AMR PRO, for those who thought that the ‘normal’ 600 kW, lap time destroyer wasn’t enough…

The numbers are just overwhelming, especially considering that this is Aston Martin for crying out loud, the same people who are worried about which cow their leather comes from. The new Aston Martin Vulcan AMR PRO boasts incredible performance – the 7.0-litre V12 has been slightly turned up to 611 kW, but the AMR PRO team has focused more on aerodynamic enhancements to the vehicle.


Starting from the front, the car has louvered panels that have been added above the wheel arches to extract high-pressure air and reduce aerodynamic lift; a pair of dive planes have also been added to each side of the nose to help pin the front end to the track. A huge front splitter has turning vanes fitted to its underside to improve steering response, as well as a new carbon fibre lay-up core form, saving 5 kg. They have pretty much added fuel to the fire with all these improvements – the rear wing was crazy enough on the Vulcan and now it has a double plane rear wing! All these aerodynamic modifications increase downforce from 3150 N.m to a colossal 4000 N.m, not even Aston Martin’s Le Mans racing car, the Vantage GTE, creates that much force. Way to go Aston!


Now it must be noted that Aston Martin has only made 24 Vulcans, all of which have been sold; and the Aston Martin Vulcan AMR PRO upgrades will only be available to the owners of the existing 24 Vulcans. It would be interesting to find out just how many of the 24 Vulcan owners thought to themselves, “this car isn’t enough…” Looking at the stats, it would appear that Aston Martin went all out with the Vulcan and all out with the AMR PRO Upgrade, so the question begs to be asked – how much more can they offer? The car made its official debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this past weekend and for those that are curious as to how much the upgrades will set you back, to tell you the truth, you’re not rich enough.

Aston takes the fight to Tesla with the Aston Martin RapidE

Aston Martin RapidE

Based on the RapidE AMR concept the, 5.9Litre V12 will give way to a new all-electric powertrain. The move is in line with Aston’s new strategic plan for the development of low and zero-emission vehicles. The RapidE will be a limited run model and continue the collaborative works of Aston and Williams Advanced Engineering, the same Williams responsible for the 7 Formula One vehicles their F1 cohorts share. The details regarding the powertrain will follow as production draws nearer, but given the nature of electric propulsion, the power will be instantaneous and pretty likely rather furious to the spine.  Just 155 of these 4- door, 4-seater RapidE’s will be built and production is set to begin in 2019.

Dr Andy Palmer, Aston Martin CEO, shared his thoughts on the RapidE: “Having unveiled the RapidE Concept back in October 2015 we reach another milestone with the confirmation that we are now putting the first all-electric Aston Martin into production. RapidE represents a sustainable future in which Aston Martin’s values of seductive style and supreme performance doesn’t merely co-exist alongside a new zero-emission powertrain, but are enhanced by it. The internal combustion engine has been at the heart of Aston Martin for more than a century and will continue to be for years to come. RapidE will showcase Aston Martin’s vision, desire and capability to successfully embrace radical change, delivering a new breed of car that stays true to our ethos and delights our customers.”     

Williams Advanced Engineering’s Technical Director, Paul McNamara, said: “Williams Advanced Engineering has always endeavoured to work collaboratively with its customers to meet their sustainability challenges and find energy efficient solutions. For today’s car manufacturers, this is particularly important as legislation demands more energy efficient vehicles. This project with Aston Martin will draw on the extensive battery and EV experience we have accumulated and we are extremely pleased to be supporting this prestigious British company with their future electrification strategy.”

Aston Martin RapidE Availability

The Aston Martin RapidE will hit the production lines in 2019. No word on what markets it will be sold in, but that gives us time enough to make sure we have the necessary infrastructure to support fully electric vehicles.

Khanye Ngwenya


If Idris Elba doesn’t want to be James Bond, maybe the Aston Martin DB11 will convince him.

Aston Martin DB11 review in South Africa

We drive the Aston Martin DB11

Besides being one of the coolest people in Hollywood, Idris Elba is also a petrol head. If you don’t believe us, Google it. The fact that he is a car lover gives the makers of James Bond an even better reason to make him the next 007. If I were in the unique position to be considered for that role, I’d have a specific request though, besides being made to look taller – I’d want the lead car to be an Aston Martin DB11. We don’t need to explain why this car would be perfect for the next James Bond movie because Aston’s have long been synonymous with the 007 brand.

Old man gets some work done:

Let’s be honest, the Aston Martin brand was always the car for the “mature”. You know, the expensive cigar smoking, trench coat wearing types that look you up and down as you approach them. With technology and innovation making leaps and bounds, many manufacturers are looking to appeal to a different target audience nowadays. The internet has made many younger people wealthier so a sports car for the refined gentleman won’t appeal to that rich kid who swears by his Adidas sneakers and hoody from college. What that guys wants is something smart and powerful, something the Aston Martin DB11 is.

The new car has learned from its older siblings in terms of style and pizzazz, but its packaged in a different way. The DB9 and Vanquish for instance feel old school with their sonorous naturally aspirated V12 engines. Having driven a Vanquish recently, I can confirm that it’s quite an event-nothing beats the raw nature of the engine. The power delivery is a build up, giving you an exquisite crescendo at the end of the rev range. The only problem with that, is that in everyday traffic, you’ll barely reach that crescendo because of a little thing called traffic.

This is where the Aston Martin DB11 comes in, since it’s turbocharged it has boost very early in the rev range – allowing you to access the power easily. The car is a GT vehicle, meaning that it’s meant to be driven a lot. It’s not meant to be a Sunday car, but for it to be an “everyday car” it needs everyday features. The modes in the DB11 were made specifically for that purpose.

GT mode is the one you’ll use to go to the office,  Sport mode will be used by those who still want to go to the office but very loudly. Sport Plus mode will be used by those who still want go to the office but loudly and less comfortably. In whatever mode the Aston Martin DB11 is in, it’s never terrible though. It’s always good. Underneath it all, the car is basically a Mercedes-AMG GT and the people at Merc know a thing or two about comfort. The surprising thing is that the Aston drives better as an everyday car than the AMG GT. The engine is also nicer. A unique 5.2 litre V12 Twin Turbo is the life of the party and with 447kW/700Nm at your disposal, you won’t get bored easily. This engine makes any other Aston seem slow, but it still has soul.

Driving the DB11 teaches you that you don’t have to drive fast for you to enjoy a car with so much power. With your cell phone paired and the engine in its most docile mode, you often forget you have a weapon under your right foot. The 8 speed automatic gearbox adds to this as it can feel non-existent, but in Sport mode it changes quicker than you’d expect. The seating position also doesn’t make you feel like you’re in a long car, as does the Vanquish. Instead you’re surrounded by luxury and technology and you don’t feel like you’re driving “daddy’s car”. The Aston Martin DB11 has done well then to appeal to younger guys.

Sure it’s not as exciting as a super car but it’s not mean to be. It’s meant to offer everyday thrills nestled in luxury and sophistication. If I was a wealthy 35 year old, the DB11 would be a very tempting car to own. Better yet if I were Idris Elba, I think it would add to the James Bond swagger I would already bring to the role. Imagine the scene, Idris driving up to a lavish hotel, pulling up in the Aston Martin DB11 with a gorgeous girl. As the valet approaches he says, “park the old girl won’t you, but keep it running, I won’t be long…”    


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