Sure, a few cars in the past have dared to claim this title, straddling the fine line between GT and supercar, like the magnificent Porsche 911 Turbo. But let’s not dwell on the past; let’s embrace Aston Martin’s audacious proclamation because, truth be told, it perfectly encapsulates their audacious vision.
Aston Martin’s mission is crystal clear—sports cars are their raison d’être. With the arrival of the awe-inspiring Valkyrie and the ongoing development of other mid-engined marvels, the British automaker’s relentless pursuit of becoming the British Ferrari is fueled by the reflected glory of their F1 triumphs. In this context, the traditional grand tourer might seem antiquated and obsolete. Moreover, the DB11, while commendable in its own right, never quite achieved the pinnacle of its breed.
Nevertheless, it’s not yet time for a replacement. The DB11 has only graced our roads for a mere seven years, while its predecessor, the DB9, reigned supreme for twice that length. Aston Martin understands the need for the DB11 platform to continue generating revenue. Thus, they’ve undertaken a thorough and comprehensive overhaul.
The headline feature of this transformation lies in what’s absent—the mighty V12 engine has met its demise. It’s a bittersweet farewell, as stringent emissions regulations have finally caught up with the legendary powerplant. But fear not, for Aston Martin has conjured up a thrilling alternative. The DB12 now roars to life with a Mercedes-sourced 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine. Previously, this robust powerplant graced the DB11, where it churned out a remarkable 528 horsepower. However, in the pursuit of enhanced sportiness and the absence of the 630 horsepower twin-turbo V12, the V8 must shoulder the burden of greatness.
But Aston Martin has ingeniously modified the camshafts, fine-tuned the compression ratio to an astounding 8.6:1, completely revamped the cooling system (featuring two auxiliary coolers and a mammoth-sized oil cooler), and, of course, introduced larger turbochargers. The result? A jaw-dropping increase of over 150 horsepower, catapulting the DB12 to a realm of potency comparable to the 715 horsepower DBS (which, incidentally, is enjoying its final hurrah with an extraordinary 770 horsepower Ultimate run, though we can be certain the iconic badge will make a triumphant return).
Such an impressive power figure carries monumental implications. Unleashing the DB12 propels you into a realm of unparalleled speed, with a blistering 0-62mph sprint in a mere 3.6 seconds. And hold on tight, as the needle effortlessly glides past the 200mph mark, culminating in a mind-boggling top speed of 202mph. Torque aficionados will be delighted to learn that the mighty V8 delivers an astonishing 34 percent increase in torque, peaking at 590 lb-ft from a mere 2,000rpm. But the ferocious power demands a chassis capable of taming the beast.
Enter the bonded aluminum chassis, now fortified with additional bracing to enhance torsional rigidity by a remarkable seven percent. Aston Martin has paid meticulous attention to detail, focusing on improving the mounting of the rear axle and dampers. Furthermore, the adaptive dampers have been completely overhauled, expanding their repertoire and capabilities. Fear not, for the double wishbone front and multilink rear suspension layout have been retained, as has the electric steering. However, the calibration and precision of every element have undergone a monumental transformation. Aston Martin proudly claims the title of being the first original equipment manufacturer to equip their masterpiece with Michelin’s latest PS5S tire as standard. These tires, boasting noise-canceling foam inserts, reduce road noise by an astonishing 20 percent. Despite the DB12’s insatiable appetite for performance, it still maintains its refined grand touring manners.
Now, let’s delve into the technological marvels adorning this automotive masterpiece. The eight-speed automatic transmission has been fine-tuned with a shorter final drive, while the addition of an electronic differential ensures unyielding traction. Standard 21-inch wheels provide a formidable presence, with track widths increasing by six and 22 millimeters, solidifying its planted stance. Aston Martin graces the DB12 with substantial 400mm front brakes, offering unrivaled stopping power. For those seeking the epitome of performance, carbon ceramic brakes are available as an enticing option, shedding an astonishing 27 kilograms. Astonishingly, amidst a world where weight seems to encumber every machine, the DB12 defies the odds, boasting a svelte dry weight of 1,685 kilograms. Admittedly, this figure is subject to a modest increase of around 1,820 kilograms once fluid levels are taken into account. Interestingly, to sharpen the front end and heighten the exhilaration, Aston Martin has redistributed weight, resulting in a rear-biased weight distribution of 48:52.
However, let’s not forget the most crucial aspect—the DB12’s awe-inspiring aesthetics. Every inch of its bodywork has been meticulously sculpted to exude an undeniable aura of purpose and power. Drawing inspiration from the muscular magnificence of the DBS, Aston Martin has injected a modern flair, defining sharp lines that accentuate its presence. Feast your eyes on the way the wheels fill the arches, the enlarged intakes commanding attention, the captivating curvature of the bonnet, and the broad haunches, forming an ensemble of striking design elements.
But the true transformation awaits within the DB12’s hallowed cabin. Aston Martin has embarked on a remarkable journey, banishing almost all traces of Mercedes switchgear to usher in a new era of automotive opulence. Taking the infotainment system in-house grants them greater control, ensuring they remain up to date with the latest technological advancements, avoiding the pitfalls encountered in the DBX’s notorious touchscreen debacle. Fear not, for a cutting-edge 10.25-inch touchscreen, boasting a mind-boggling 30ms reaction time, takes center stage. Prepare to be treated to a host of over-the-air updates and a comprehensive phone app, heightening the connectivity experience. More importantly, Aston Martin has forged a prestigious partnership with Bowers & Wilkins, offering an optional 15-speaker, 1,170-watt sound system that will redefine your perception of auditory bliss.
Step inside, and you’ll be greeted by a driving environment that has been meticulously redesigned to embody the spirit of a true driving purist. Say farewell to the push-button gear selector, replaced by a symphony of tactile buttons, allowing you to navigate menus swiftly and effortlessly. However, the pièce de résistance lies in the optional sports seats, a testament to the DB12’s newfound dedication to raw driving pleasure. Firm and tantalizingly contoured, these seats embrace you, providing unparalleled support during spirited drives. At the summit of opulence, you’ll discover the carbon Performance seat, a masterpiece of craftsmanship and engineering.
Prepare to have your expectations shattered, for the DB12 marks Aston Martin’s audacious attempt to fill the colossal chasm that separates the elegantly substantial Bentley Continental GT and the exhilaratingly agile Ferrari Roma. While prices are yet to be unveiled, deliveries are scheduled to commence in the forthcoming autumn. As 2023 marks the celebration of 75 glorious years of Aston Martin’s DB lineage, the DB12 stakes its claim as “the most complete and accomplished DB model in the firm’s storied history.” Aston Martin dares you to embrace this extraordinary machine, a testament to their unwavering commitment to surpassing all previous benchmarks. In July, we shall witness whether this extraordinary masterpiece lives up to its audacious billing. Brace yourself, for greatness awaits.