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With the Aston Martin to St. Moritz: dream car in a dream setting

Hans-Dieter Seufert
With the Aston Martin to St. Moritz
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' You want to cross the Julier Pass? With this snowfall? With this car? ' The face of the young tank attendant in Thusis, Switzerland, derails as if he had swallowed a whole Toblerone stick. We don't have to explain to him that there is no Aston Martin with all-wheel drive, he has key data ready for a long time and sighs: 'En beautiful Charre.' Aston Martin has now also implanted the 517 hp V12 as a roadster in the beautiful car. Take a look at the front hood. The additional air inlets are the distinguishing feature.

Our gas station attendant looks interested, pauses, shakes his snow-covered head again and mumbles 'rear wheel', which translates as 'They are crazy, the Germans'. Which he is right about. Anyone who is just thinking about thundering from Stuttgart to St. Moritz for skiing in a freshly launched V12 Vantage Roadster has mostly not understood all the cams on the shaft or the principles of static and dynamic weight distribution.

Vantage with grip problems

The British car has its heavy engine in front, what the rear load, which is so important for good starting grip, is not improved. So if you try to set the two-seater's mighty 570 Nm in motion from a standstill with a fresh blanket of snow, two things happen: first the wheels throw snow helplessly like a tiller, then - if they do get grip - one side becomes a touch more Find a hold. Which in turn turns the Vantage quickly and - as in our case - results in a gas station drift at a spectacular ten km /h. Our gas station attendant shakes his head again and points silently to the mountains. We park the car, buy some soothing chocolate, look for a hotel and hope for better weather.

The next morning: It's crisp cold, but the sun is smiling through the most beautiful shades of blue. On partially cleared roads, we take a good run-up and skip the topic of starting up on the mountain with a swing. The Aston, who has just been freed from winter rigor with gloves and an ice scraper, storms the Julier Pass with unexpected vigor and freshly found traction: the incline and speed shift the load to the rear.

Aston Martin V12 comes with feeling

Fortunately, it is still very early in the day and no truck slows this verve. So it takes three turns to get oneClick the ESP to turn it off and the 200,000 euro Briton carves up the seemingly endless serpentines in a snow waltz. The fine, gentle steering movements feel like pulling a large spoon through the thick mascarpone cream. Do you remember the scene when James Bond drifted across the ice in 'Die Another Day'? Therefore: Really unavoidable, I-love-this-weekend-feeling sets in. The delicate undefinedness of the steering and chassis (modified dampers and springs) is forgotten when the roadster steers through extra-fast motorway curves.

In Germany we also had a bit of a problem with the fact that the six-liter vacuum cleaner was not endlessly massive storms the speed cellar - more Peter Crouch than Wayne Rooney - it is precisely this subtle restraint that proves to be an advantage. When you accelerate, it certainly doesn't thrash your skull against the headrest like a Porsche Turbo Cabrio. Sheer violence is not the credo of the 1.8-tonner, it develops its force more soulfully - like a large Bordeaux. Here on the carpet of flakes, maximum output is completely unimportant, drivability is everything. The power can be dosed softly and evenly, the snow is powdery, the rear pushes across the winter tires, but never suddenly, never angry and always controllable.

The sound beguiles, the Aston obviously not

Of course with an open roof - Bordeaux have to breathe - and full Turned up the heating, which bumbles against the draughty freezing cold. This openness and the skis that are prominently strapped to the passenger seat force the Swiss driver to once again make forefinger-head gestures, which we hope only mean 'The crazy, the English' - the Aston has a British license plate.

Thickly hooded, the cutting wind bounces off a bit. Of course you could close the roof, but to give the V12, which alternates between throaty aggressiveness and velvety smooth running, a fabric filter would mean pouring water into the red wine. Rather, the gas foot must be curbed before further lustful modulation of this heavy metal concert. Many people buy convertibles because they enjoy the fresh air. Despite the fresh air (minus ten degrees), we enjoy the intoxicating super plus sound and wonder whether it is even possible to live with a roof in this car. According to Loriot: possible yes, but not useful.

When we can take a first look over the pass over the snow-covered St. Moritz, the lake and the mountains, a flood of mighty Alpine Romance about us. One last time before the place-name sign, the Blechbeau roars its joy of turning, which extends up to 6,500 tours, against the mountain massifs. We are there, in the Mecca of the super-rich, who commute between caviar tasting and snow polo on the frozen lake with their Range Rover. A villa on the Suvretta slope, the most expensiveSwitzerland's residential area easily costs 50 million francs. Do you just want an apartment? From twelve million you are here for something cozy. They are hungry? Take the gondola to the Corviglia mountain. At 2,486 meters above sea level, there are truffles and lobster as a snack in Europe's highest star restaurant 'La Marmite' during the ski break.

This is where the problems of our world shift: The Christmas wreath on the front door is too big for a small truck? Let's charter a helicopter, enough of which are waiting for the high society jets down at Engadin Airport anyway. So it comes as it had to come. The dragons, as the residents of St. Moritz call themselves, hiss rather than delight when we cross the same street several times with our luxury item for photos.

An Aston is nothing special here, explains the German owner of the local Bulgari boutique. His fingers whirl through the air: 'That one has one and that one too.' We do not point out that at least this Vantage is still unique and probably no 'dragon' parks it in his garage yet. A group of women, dressed in mink and shoes that are much too high for this grip, stumble past. We ask for a photo, but only reap a mild, snow-white, bleached smile.

Probably the ladies did not immediately notice that the Vantage is adorned with additional carbon fiber parts on the front spoiler, the side skirts and the rear. The rear wing now bends more vigorously upwards for more downforce. But we boys always need a moment before we pay tribute to Manolo Blahnik pumps and ChloƩ bags.

Breathing enough luxury, where do you go to the ski slope? Again our Bulgari man has advice: 'I'm on my lunch break, if you take me to my house (on the Suvretta slope, of course), I'll show you how to go straight to the slopes.' So we wind up serpentines which, given their steepness, we would never have expected an Aston to climb. At a hairpin, the bus of the German national ski team forces us to stop. For a brief moment our mission threatens to fail again. But the rear wheels bravely cut a hole in the snow. Itching helps out. So it goes all the way up to a breathtaking view.

Now all you have to do is strap on your skis and carve across the snow. But do you seriously believe that I would have let this twelve-cylinder dream stand there for just a minute?


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