Stars of The British Motor Show 2023 -Aston Martin DB12
With the Aston Martin brand being cycled through several different leadership teams in recent times, it can be easy to roll your eyes at yet another ‘new era’ car launch for the British firm.
However, with the launch of the DB12, Aston really is entering a brave new world.
It is the first model to be launched under new boss Lawrence Stroll, who is determined that Aston should become the “British Ferrari”.
After the mixed reception of DB11, Vantage and DBS over the past decade, this is quite some target.
This brings us neatly onto the DB12, which is a heavily updated version of the aforementioned DB11. Stroll wants to right the perceived wrongs of that car, and demonstrate that he is listening to customer and media complaints.
As a result, the DB12 takes a seismic step in every department – from looks to performance, and comfort to infotainment.
While the DB11 was very definitely a grand tourer – with a gradual throttle response and soft suspension – the DB12 has moved the goalposts entirely. Aston is positioning its new model as a ‘super tourer’, which, the company hopes, combines the performance savagery of a supercar with the measured refinement of a grand tourer.
In other words, the DB12 has to woo both Bentley Continental GT and Ferrari Roma owners. In fact, Aston reckons this is such a departure from everything else on the market that it belongs to a whole new sector – super tourer.
The question is, can this new Aston deliver?
Well, the styling is certainly a step on from the DB11. It instantly addresses complaints in certain quarters about the looks of the old car – with a more aggressive front end that is reminiscent of the outgoing DBS.
While the rear is much more familiar, that too is wider and meaner, giving the whole car more kerbside presence. In fact, you could argue that the DB12 is how the DB11 should have looked all along, so coherent is it as a design.
The changes underneath the skin are just as extensive. There is 80% new hardware and 100% new software underpinning the car, demonstrating just how seriously Aston is taking this reboot.
It’s also willing to kill its darlings without so much as blinking. If you are an Aston traditionalist, turn away now, because the DB12 will not be available with a V12.
Instead, it comes equipped with the AMG-derived twin-turbo 4.0-litre engine. While this might sound like a problem, it is actually a masterstroke.
Compared to the vast V12 which could have made the DB12 lumpen and nose-heavy, the tightly packaged V8 sits right up at the bulkhead, for better weight distribution.
It’s not like the V8 has been left untouched either, with larger turbos, better cooling and an improved compression ratio upping the power to 671 bhp and 590 lb ft of torque. This results in a 0-62mph time of 3.6sec and a top speed of 202 mph.
This is mated to the familiar eight-speed A ZF eight-speed torque-converter, which offers impressively quick gearshifts.
As sensational as this makes the DB12 to drive, the real revolution can be found inside. Astons’ have never been known for modern interiors, but all has been put right with the DB12’s sumptuous cabin.
Out is the old Mercedes infotainment system in favour of an Aston-designed unit, which puts the British marque back at the technological cutting edge. In fact, thanks to the beautiful leather, elegant centre console and tactile buttons, this is now a serious rival to the Ferrari Roma interior.
Want to gawp at the Aston Martin DB12 with your own two eyes? Then visit the Cambria Automobiles stand in Hall 1 at British Motor Show between 17-20 August, where the DB12 will be exhibiting.