Bond’s Best Cars: Aston Martin V12 Vanquish

Cars are as essential to the James Bond mythos as are tuxedos, beautiful women, exotic locations and shaken (not stirred) vodka martinis. From Aston Martins to BMWs to Mustangs, Bond knows how to get somewhere in style. But it’s not just the aesthetic that counts when it comes to cars for 007, what’s on the inside counts as well. Over the course of the next few articles we’ll be ranking some of the best cars of the Bond movies, but judging them solely on how well equipped they came courtesy of Q.

The next car in this series is by far one of Bond’s heaviest hitters.

Aston Martin V12 Vanquish

This next car featured in Pierce Brosnan’s final outing as 007, Die Another Day which many consider to be the nadir of the actor’s run in the role. There’s something of a pattern here. Some of Bond’s most notable and powerful cars are the ones he drives in some of the franchise’s worst movies. Coincidence? Almost certainly, albeit a fascinating one.

Dubbed “The Vanish” by Q Division (thanks to its ability to deploy stealth camouflage and disappear to the naked eye), this silver stallion packs by far the most firepower of any of the vehicles Bond has yet driven. There’s the short-range rockets hidden behind the grille, as well as the mid-caliber machine guns right next to them. It also sports two automated, hood-mounted shotgun turrets able to take care of any necessary anti-air duties. Tires with retractable spikes come in quite handy given that most of this film’s major car chase takes place on top of a glacier, and the ejector seat plays a crucial role in allowing Bond to improvise after the car flips over onto its roof.

All of this is encased inside of the sleek and curvaceous body of the 2002 model Vanquish. As its name implies, a throaty, hearty V12 engine is tucked underneath the hood and was capable of producing 450 horsepower and 400 lb-feet of torque. That’s impressive, even if you’ll never need it to evade the pursuit of nefarious henchmen.

Speaking of nefarious henchmen in pursuit. How did this fare when the rubber hit the road? In this case, it’s when the rubber hit the ice as the big chase took place entirely on the surface of a massive glacier in Iceland. Soon after discovering the true identity of the host who invited him to an opulent party at an impressively constructed (but no less impractical) ice palace, Bond must make his escape. You can see the scene below (though the only version available on YouTube is in Spanish).

Thankfully, that’s not much of a problem when you’ve got the Vanish. All of the tools are put to good use and it’s pretty wild seeing Bond and henchman Zao (making his pursuit in a similarly outfitted Jaguar) duke it out with cars on actual icy surfaces. It’s not a very complex scene in terms of choreography, but it’s fun and definitely a step different from every other chase in the franchise just based on location alone.

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