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The new ice-cool Aston Martins

Drifting sideways on an ice track in Switzerland in an Aston Martin is a rare and exciting experience
Drifting sideways on an ice track in Switzerland in an Aston Martin is a rare and exciting experience – and definitely not for the fainthearted. PHOTOS COURTESY OF ASTON MARTIN

The new ice-cool Aston Martins

Purists tend to think of the Aston Martin as the gentleman’s car, while the rest of the world – Cambodians included – recognise the iconic UK brand as the favoured mode of transportation for none other than British agent 007, also known as Bond … James Bond.

Whether there exists a critical mass of potential prospects to convince Aston Martin Lagonda to make its presence known with an official Aston Martin dealership for the Kingdom of Cambodia’s 15.2 million denizens remains to be seen.

One can assume that the affluent upper crust of Cambodian society who can afford, say, a 573hp Aston Martin Vanquish belong to a very small but growing uber-rich class – thanks to the country posting one of the best economic records in Asia, with economic growth averaging 6 per cent for the last 10 years.

Aston Martin may set up shop in Cambodia in the future, but only time will tell. For now at least, the nearest dealership is in Bangkok.

But some Cambodians may be interested in the company’s greatly successful marketing tool, the Aston Martin On Ice 2014 driving experience. It has been held at St Moritz, Switzerland, for the past six years, and is a means of introducing the allure of Aston Martin’s advanced engineering and understated elegance to prospective customers, including those from Cambodia.

At €3,200 a pop, you can wrap yourself in the confined luxury of a deluxe single room at the five-star Kempinski des Bains resort in St Moritz and wake up to “the best breakfast in Switzerland” before experiencing the newest Aston Martin model range as few others will ever have the chance to.

Winter tyres combined with sophisticated electronic safety systems and guidance from professional instructors let you develop your personal skills while having an extraordinary snow and ice driving experience.

Professional racing drivers take potential customers for a spin on the ice
Professional racing drivers take potential customers for a spin on the ice.

All Aston Martin cars are provided: you just catch a flight in early February from Siem Reap International Airport to Zurich, hop on a train to St Moritz and get a good night’s sleep.

The on-ice training starts at 8.45am with a transfer from the hotel to the ice field, followed by on-ice training at 9am till a lunch break at noon. The on-ice training resumes an hour later and continues till 4pm.

You also get to enjoy a hot lap on the ice track as co-driver with one of Aston Martin’s professional drivers, which in my particular case happened to be Aston Martin Europe managing director Wolfgang Schuhbauer, a seasoned driver with exceptional drifting skills.

In layman’s terms, drifting is controlled chaos as one drives sideways using the enormous torque of the Aston Martin, which tops out at 620Nm, to achieve the desired power on any type of surface, which in this case is a 40cm-thick ice track.

The on-ice training begins with slalom maneuvers, evasive braking and 180-degree reverse maneuvers that leave you feeling like James Bond making a smooth getaway from the bad guys.

On the menu are models that embody the very DNA of the Aston Martin brand: power, beauty and soul – combining pure performance and true sporting ability with refinement, luxury and exceptional goods looks.

Starting the line-up is the flagship Vanquish, also known around the world as the Ultimate Grand Tourer. Simply put, the Vanquish is the best Aston Martin ever.

Under the hood is a new AM11 Gen4 V12 engine – the most powerful production engine in Aston Martin history.

Revved up and ready to do a James Bond impersonation
Revved up and ready to do a James Bond impersonation.

Power output is 573PS and torque is 620Nm. From a standstill, it reaches 100kph in 4.1 seconds. The Vanquish has the greatest performance numbers ever reached in an Aston Martin – it’s not a Grand Tourer, it’s a Super Grand Tourer.

Aston Martin’s next engineering marvel is the Rapide S, also known as the world’s most beautiful four-door sports car. The Rapide S is agile, balanced and controlled.

A near perfect 48:52 front/rear weight distribution is complemented by a phenomenal performance with 620Nm of torque and a power output of 558PS. It sprints from a standstill to 100kph in 4.9 seconds.

And, for Aston Martin purists, there is the DB9, the world’s most timeless sports GT. More luxurious, more refined, more elegant – the new DB9 redefines luxury for a timeless Sports Grand Tourer.

It has peak power of 517PS and effortless torque of up to 620Nm. With a sprint time of just 4.6 seconds thanks to its new AM11 V12 engine, this is the most powerful DB9 ever produced.

Next up is the Vantage, which embodies the definition of a true sports car. The Vantage retains the renowned GT capability of the DB9 and Vanquish, but with a lighter, more compact body shape.

There are two Vantage variants in the guise of a lightweight 4.7-litre V8 and a V12 engine. This model is available in V8 Vantage, V8 Vantage S and V12 Vantage S models.

For Aston Martin enthusiasts who want to experience this on-ice program and learn performance drifting step by step on a frozen lake, relax in the company of like-minded, passionate drivers where luxury accommodation and gastronomic delights await, contact Oliver Ziegler at [email protected]

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