This is the first look at Aston Martin's new flagship, the AM 310 Vanquish. Building on the classic lines and tried and trusted technology that has turned this old-school British manufacturer into one of the best known and most admired luxury brands in the world, the new Vanquish takes an old name and thoroughly reinvigorates it.

Sitting at the top of a family tree that includes out and out sports cars like the V12 Vantage and classic sporting tourers like the Rapide, the new Vanquish is pitched squarely at the supercar enthusiast who cares more about an all-enveloping experience than ultimate top speeds or acceleration.

That's not to say the Vanquish is a slouch - far from it - but it marks a shift away from statistics as the only signifier of excellence towards a more mature, confident demonstration of design excellence and technological expertise.

For a relatively small company, Aston Martin has always punched above its weight, and the Vanquish is no exception, gliding effortlessly into the upper echelons of our list of most beautiful cars on the market. The Vanquish takes a chunk of design inspiration from the already-legendary One-77, the strictly limited edition supercar that Aston has been building to special order for the past two years. The company's experience of ultra-bespoke manufacturing, especially with materials like carbon fibre, has been seamlessly transferred to the Vanquish (which is over a million pounds cheaper than its elder sibling).

Powered by a revised and improved version of Aston Martin's venerable V12 - the brand's long-standing core ingredient - the Vanquish is subtly but significantly improved in every area, from fuel economy to boot space, in-car entertainment, ergonomics and everyday practicality.

The Vanquish won't make it to public roads until the start of 2013, which is coincidentally Aston Martin's centenary year. Every effort has therefore been made to build a car that makes a statement, in a bold, beautiful and, above all, brilliant fashion. We'll report back from behind the wheel in due course.