New Aston Martin DB12 2023 review
The new Aston Martin DB12 lives up to the British brand’s billing as a ‘super-tourer’
The DB12 is a truly significant car for Aston Martin. Not only does it represent a new era for the 110-year-old company, but it also proves that perseverance, serious commitment to the cause and a sizeable increase in budget can produce spectacular results. England now has a convincing answer to a Ferrari grand touring car, and on first inspection, Aston might well have surpassed this incredibly high standard.
Aston Martin claims the DB12 is “the world’s first super-tourer”, whatever that might mean. Either way, the British brand also claims that 80 per cent of the DB12 is new, and that this 202mph, £185,000, 671bhp coupé represents a brand-new era for the company.
It’s an era that’s being crafted by Aston’s boss, Lawrence Stroll, with a newly restructured team beneath him, and a fresh chunk of investment behind them that will (hopefully) allow Britain’s most famous sports car company to flourish once again, having been in the wilderness recently.
So can Aston and its new DB12 deliver on the promise and self-confidence? The car looks the bees-knees in the flesh – and it also appears pretty tasty on paper. It is powered by a now-familiar AMG-sourced 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine which has been tuned by Aston to develop 671bhp and a thumping 800Nm. The gearbox is an eight-speed paddle-shift auto by ZF, driving enormous 325-section rear Michelin tyres via an electronically adjustable differential.
Specify all the many lightweight options (including Carbon Performance seats) and the DB12 weighs a refreshingly un-portly 1,685kg. That’s the same as the outgoing DB11 and is one of the reasons why the car can hit 0-62mph in a claimed 3.6 seconds.
Even so, the car isn’t meant to be a tyre-shredding monster in a straight line. It’s designed to carry you across continents with breathtaking pace and refinement.
On the famous Route Napoleon it feels soothingly effortless but fast, the twin-turbo V8 offering a level of thrust from 2,500rpm that, in the first six gears, is magnificent. It feels much quicker than the DB11 ever did.
In everything it does, indeed, the DB12 is a hugely better car than the one it replaces, and sometimes in ways you’d not expect. Inside, for instance, it’s now a thing of physical and digital beauty, boasting a brand-new infotainment system that is worlds ahead of the old-fashioned last-generation Mercedes-sourced technology found in the DB11.
The car’s five drive modes are engaged intuitively via a metal scroll switch down in the centre console, and the TFT instruments are as clear as they are dramatic to look at. The cabin has also been redesigned, the end result being an interior that feels bespoke and technically sophisticated.
You can also see out of the DB12 far better than its predecessor, thanks to a combination of bigger, better-designed door mirrors, a slightly lower scuttle, plus lighter, fresher styling for the dashboard and door inserts.
But it’s on the move where the biggest changes have taken place. Dynamically, the DB12 feels much more cohesive than the DB11. Its steering, chassis, engine response, brake feel and diff behaviour all have a new-found sense of polish and focus that, when taken as a whole, make the car feel sharper.
It’s also breathtakingly fast on give-and-take roads, Aston’s intention being to provide enough edge to take the fight to the Ferrari Roma dynamically. From the extra noise it makes under full load to the thundering acceleration delivered in fourth and fifth gears, let alone second and third, it hits the bullseye with phenomenal consistency.
Faults? The gearshifts are fine in the regular modes, but could be snappier in Sport+; there were a couple of tiny buzzes from the centre console in the pre-production car we drove; the rear seats are fairly useless at accommodating people of any size.
But overall the DB12 is just a great car. Not only is Aston Martin’s newcomer a more exciting and faster model to drive compared with its predecessor, it’s also a much nicer vehicle to travel in, with a cabin that feels far higher in quality. Given a £185,000 list price, you might even call the DB12 a steal.
|Model:||Aston Martin DB12|
|Engine:||4.0-litre twin-turbo V8|
|Transmission:||Eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive|