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The Vanquish’s entire body is carbon-fibre. (Aston-Martin)
The Vanquish’s entire body is carbon-fibre. (Aston-Martin)

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Aston Martin Vanquishes the DBS Add to ...

Exotic luxury sports car maker Aston Martin revealed a new flagship this week, reviving the Vanquish name as the brand’s top performance machine, which will replace the DBS.

With a heavily revised version of the same 5.9-litre V-12 found in the rest of Aston Martin’s lineup, the new Vanquish engine produces 565 hp and 457 lb-ft of torque, up from 510 hp and 420 lb-ft in the current DBS. The result is good for a 0-100 km/h time of 4.1 seconds, the company says, and – helped along with one of the first applications of launch control in an Aston Martin – with an official top speed of 295 km/h.

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Officially called the AM 310 Vanquish, Aston Martin previewed the car in late May at the Villa d’Este Concours in Italy, showing what was called the AM 310 “concept” without releasing any information on it. Essentially, it appears now to have been the production version of the new Vanquish, highlighted by the distinctive carbon-fibre front splitter and lower body treatment all around, with different wheels.

Those carbon-fibre pieces are not just add-ons to denote this sports car’s extreme performance focus. The entire body is made of carbon fibre, Aston Martin says, with more extensive use of the lightweight but super-strong material in the car’s generation-four VH platform.

The Vanquish will be shown in North America in August in and around activities at the Pebble Beach Concours in California, with deliveries starting in the first quarter of 2013. No Canadian pricing yet, but will start at $279,995 (U.S.) in the United States.

That’s still well behind Aston’s $2-million One-77 hyper-exotic machine, which is sold out. The limited-edition Aston Martin V12 Zagato, done in association with the Italian Zagato design house, is now the priciest Aston available, at about 500 large, but the new Vanquish trumps the Zagato’s 510 hp in the all-important power department, and likely weighs less, too.

The Vanquish will come standard with two seats, with a small rear seat for two available. The company still insists on calling the front-mounted 5,935-cc engine a 6.0-litre, but the V-12 powers a six-speed Touchtronic automatic with carbon fibre paddle shifters, the transmission’s mechanicals located at the rear to help distribute its weight evenly.

Design-wise, it maintains the elegant overall shape that Astons have become known for, but becomes more aggressive overall. The carbon-fibre splitter in particular makes for a much meaner face.

Elantra five-door and coupe to start at less than $20,000

When the 2013 Elantra five-door GT and two-door coupe go on sale in a few weeks, both of the new body styles will start at just less than $20,000, Hyundai Canada announced this week.

The GT hatchback will start at $19,149, while the sleek two-door’s base MSRP is $19,949. Both will arrive with mid-level equipment as standard, as opposed to the base Elantra sedan that starts notably lower – at $15,949 for 2013 – but comes with 15-inch steel wheels, manual doors and without air conditioning or even a stereo. The sedan is built at Hyundai’s new plant in Alabama, while the coupe and GT five-door are from Ulsan, South Korea.

The GT hatchback will battle similar popular compacts such as the Ford Focus and Mazda3, and will help Hyundai to push Honda’s Civic for its long-time sales crown in Canada.

The GT will offer new technology for the Elantra, and all of Hyundai in fact, in the form of a driver selectable steering system (DSSM). The DSSM system lets the driver choose between a Comfort mode for in-town parking ease, and a Sport mode for quicker steering response and more high-speed stability, with the default Normal mode between the two.

The Elantra Coupe won’t offer DSSM to start, but a sportier coupe SE model will come with stiffer suspension tuning and lower profile P215/45R17 tires. The SE with the automatic will be the coupe’s priciest offering, at $25,199, while the Elantra GT’s top model lists at $26,349, which comes with a six-speed automatic, navi with a back up camera, heated seats, proximity sensor and leather.

Cars Land officially opens in Disneyland California

An entire Cars-themed section of Disneyland opened recently in California, faithfully recreating the fictitious Radiator Springs’s stretch along the very real Route 66, with rides, snacks and scenery that will impress fans of the popular animated movie franchise as well as small ‘c’ car enthusiasts.

The Radiator Springs Racers ride is the highlight of the new Cars Land area, part of the second-largest park expansion in Disneyland history. It pits two Cars characters in a race against each other that at first meanders through various indoor paint shop or tire shop town scenes, before becoming a full-on side-by-side race between two cars through the Cadillac Mountains, with peaks inspired by ‘50s-era Cadillac rear fenders, taillights and hood ornaments.

The Cosy Cone motel from the movie has become a snack bar area, with drinks dished out in full bright orange cone containers. At night, the entire streetscape lights up in fluorescent pink and blues, just as in the movie, especially Flo’s V8 Café. Even the plant vases in Luigi’s Casa della Tires are shaped like tire treads, in a land inhabited and apparently designed by, talking cars.

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