Jaguar's new XJ saloon sees the company deliberately moving away from its past and looking to a new future. So can you make any kind of meaningful comparison with the 1960s original? Octane drove to Paris to find out
Considering the long-running association between James Bond and Aston Martin, it’s disappointing to note that, following the series’ hiatus between 1989 and 1995, 007’s company cars in Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies and The World is Not Enough were Q Branch-fettled BMWs. Brosnan enjoyed a brief fling with his own DB5 at the beginning of his first film, and it had been treated to a fair few gadgets of its own. As well as that, there were enough performance upgrades to allow it to dice with Xenia
Onatopp’s Ferrari F355GTS in the Alps…But it wasn’t until Brosnan’s last Bond film, 2002’s Die Another Day, that he was treated to an Aston Martin company car. Given that it was the 20th Bond film, and crammed with references to previous episodes in the series, it was a fitting choice.
Following the death of Desmond Llewellyn, the role of Q was taken on by John Cleese, who handed over the V12 Vanquish to Bond in his own inimitable style. When new-Q barked ‘I never joke about my work’ in response to a comment about the Aston’s stealth capability, you knew the circle had been completed.
Despite being a new-age Aston created in Ulrich Bez’s iteration of the great company, there’s something intrinsically right about the pairing of Brosnan and the Vanquish. For the first time, arguably, since Man With The Golden Gun, Bond was pitted against an equally well-kitted villain – and for the memorable car chase filmed in Iceland it was a Ford Premier Auto Group shoot-out. Vanquish and Jaguar XKR were pitched together, with the result being a slim victory for the car from Newport Pagnell.
Aston Martin supplied a pair of Vanquishes for the film, one of which featured a trick gearbox that meant it could run faster backwards than it could going forwards – a feature used to great effect.In many ways, Die Another Day’s reliance on PAG products was over-the-top. At Gustav Graves’ ice castle the car park is packed to the rafters with Volvos, Jaguars and Land Rovers – making it a Stepford Wives-on-wheels affair. Even Jinx’s car, a flame-red Ford Thunderbird, is a stablemate…