New, slickest Aston Martin revving to go in HK
As the world's most famous secret agent says: 'The name's Bond, James Bond.' And his car is an Aston Martin.
The question that fans of both man and marque are asking is whether he will be licensed to thrill in the next Bond movie - due to be released next year - driving the new Aston Martin V12 Vantage RS.
The two-seater, two-door coupe arrives in Hong Kong this summer. The price tag is still a closely guarded secret, but the car should be highly sought-after, not least for its 600 brake horsepower six-litre engine's ability to go from zero to 100km/h in less than four seconds.
The new Aston Martin is based on the highly admired V8 Vantage Coupe, but the engine's design has been exploited to create a dramatic roadster focused on extreme performance and dynamics.
Aston Martin and Bond - both top-of-the-range operators in their respective fields - have a long association. Author Ian Fleming gave 007 a DB3 in the novel Goldfinger, and he was filmed driving an Aston Martin in several of the movies, including Thunderball and On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
In 1986, tycoon Victor Gauntlett, who had bought a stake in Aston Martin, fixed it for Bond to get back in the driving seat of his favourite wheels, after several movies that had featured other vehicles. Timothy Dalton had taken on the starring role, and Mr Gauntlett lent his personal pre-production Aston Martin Vantage for use in the shooting of The Living Daylights.
An excellent salesman, he also persuaded director Cubby Broccoli to buy an Aston Martin Volante, while turning down an offer for a part in the film as a KGB colonel.
Aston Martin featured in more recent 007 movies, with Daniel Craig winning a classic DB5 in a poker game in Casino Royale, and driving a DBS in Quantum of Solace.
In a way, Aston Martin and Bond were made for each other, as each encapsulates a sophisticated efficiency and unremitting style. The V12 weighs less than 1,600kg thanks to an intelligent use of materials to help improve performance. The bonnet and boot lid are carbon fibre and the V12 also employs motorsport inspired carbon ceramic discs. The engine has benefited directly from race development, and the V12 is the fastest accelerating road car developed by Aston Martin.