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Auto blogMon, 08 Sep 2014 14:15:00 EST
Aston Martin has a very interesting future ahead of it. While the British brand appeared to be struggling with aging tech for a while, fresh investment from Daimler may have shown a light toward the future with the brand getting engines and electronics from them. Also, former Renault-Nissan top exec Andy Palmer has jumped ship from the French/Japanese automaker to become CEO of the much smaller sports car company. Interestingly, though, new reports from unnamed Nissan sources have indicated that Palmer has been pushing to work with AM for years.
Three unnamed company insiders told Reuters that Palmer made attempts to convince Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in 2012 and 2013 to invest in Aston Martin, but his proposals were shot down both times for unspecified reasons, according to Automotive News. "We looked carefully at the proposal but we passed on it," said one of the sources.
You can easily see why Palmer was eying Aston Martin even back in 2012. It's no secret that the British sports car mavens were in need of extra funding, well before the Daimler investment. Building vehicles these days is only getting more expensive with stronger safety and emissions requirements. Just look at the brand's desperate hope to get a side-impact crash exemption to keep selling its models in the US as an example.
Can the Tesla Model S electric motor's 443 pound-feet of torque from zero rpm and equivalent of 416 horsepower trump the Aston Martin Rapide S V12's 457 lb-ft from 5500 rpm and 550 hp? Autocar attempts to answer that question by drag racing them - which only leads us to ask more questions. Which is the fastest around a race track? Is the Tesla's relatively low top speed of 130 miles per hour (the Rapide S can reach 190 mph) forgivable in light of its astounding torque? Does that even matter?
We hope Autocar's Steve Sutcliffe will pit the Tesla and the Aston Martin against each other again in the near future to answer those questions, and pick once and for all which one is the preferred luxury sedan. But until then he entertains us in the video below by raving about the Model S's attributes, pitching it into medium-speed sweepers and getting it a bit sideways with nothing but road and tire noise permeating the cabin - something people in the UK can experience for themselves once right-hand-drive cars go on sale there this spring.
A pair of head-turning high performance cars are catching some attention off a different kind, in the form of safety recalls. Aston Martin and Lotus have issued recalls for the V12 Vantage Coupe and Evora, respectively.
Aston Martin's affects 169 examples of the 2009-2012 V12 Vantage Coupe. It concerns the tire-pressure monitoring system, and is less a malfunction than it is a compliance issue. The TPMS does not alert the driver until the front tire is more than 25 percent below the recommended cold tire pressure. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 138 states that the alarm must sound when tire pressure is "equal to or less than either the pressure 25 percent below" the recommended cold inflation pressure. To address the issue, Aston Martin will notify owners and reprogram the software, free of charge.
As for Lotus, 80 supercharged Evoras have been recalled, all built between February and September, 2011. The problem involves an engine-mounted oil feed pipe, which could rupture, causing loss of engine oil or a possible fire if the oil sprays onto a hot engine.