After much anticipation, storied British carmaker Aston Martin finally released Wednesday its new flagship, the AM 310 Vanquish, reviving the Vanquish name after an absence of years and securing a niche for the super grand tourer.

Aston Martin is referring to the Vanquish as its new hero, and the car certainly looks heroic, perfect for its most famous driver, James Bond. However, despite the fact that Aston is calling the Vanquish totally new, there are some things about it that seem somewhat less than heroic.

The engine, notably, is merely a tightened and upgraded version of Aston Martin's base 6.0-liter V12. However, despite the lack of a totally new engine, the tweaks did boost its power substantially, and the Vanquish will develop 565 horsepower, the most of any Aston other than the limited run One-77 supercar.

The 565 horses can certainly get the new Vanquish up to speed; it will do 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds with a top speed of 183 mph. With a base price of $279,995, though, some buyers might want more pep. This isn't to say that the Vanquish doesn't have the makings of a good, even a great, car.

Simply put, 183 mph is nothing to sneeze at, and the new Aston Martin is stunningly beautiful, inside and out. The company is squarely targeting a niche it calls the super grand tourer, which makes complete sense. Aston Martin buyers aren't looking for an insane fighter-jet on wheels with lasers from a tiny town in Italy or France. They want style, speed and comfort to go the distance, and the company is catering to that desire.

It is the ultimate super grand tourer -- confident and assured -- and is the newest representation of power, beauty and soul, Aston Martin CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez said of the Aston Martin 310 Vanquish.

The Vanquish does look incredibly comfortable and luxurious, but more than anything it is painfully, amazingly beautiful. Hyperbole about the car's appearance is absolutely warranted as it draws its design elements directly from some of Aston Martin's greats like the One-77 while accentuating lines reminiscent of a cavalry sabre. Moreover, much of the craftsmanship serves utilitarian purposes. The hood lid features an aero duct which the company says provides passive down-force at speed.

That down-force plus a 25 percent increase in chassis rigidity from the liberal use of carbon fiber (an Aston Martin first) should make the Vanquish a pleasure to drive while keeping it firmly in control, requirements for a vehicle that aspires to be a super grand tourer. Aston wants you to drive the Vanquish as a tourer, covering long distances in luxury and style.

That the Vanquish increased the trunk size of the DBS by 60 percent to provide more room for luggage is indicative of the design sensibility behind the car. Interior comfort is paramount, with quilted leather-covered seats and a state-of-the-art audio system and touchscreen control. When it designed the new Vanquish, Aston Martin designed a car that is beautiful and fast but meant to be driven and used as transportation, not just a trophy.