Positioned between the vast expanse of the Mediterranean Sea on one side and the picturesque village of Roquebrune on the other, I find myself perched at an elevated vantage point, overseeing the enchanting principality of Monaco. From here, I can observe the ancient walls, numerous clay tennis courts where legendary figures like Roger Federer might have once played, and even the twists and turns of the renowned F1 street circuit. It is a rare privilege to witness the citizens of Monaco from such a lofty perspective, including the esteemed royal family, as well as witness the Lamborghinis maneuvering down the mountainside in their pursuit of attention.
However, the Aston Martin DB12 doesn’t feel the need to engage in such ostentatious displays. Its reputation is already firmly established within the realm of ultra-luxury brands, many of which attempt to imitate its effortless elegance and exceptional performance. While others may be faster and flashier, few can match the DB12’s unparalleled prestige.
The DB12 continues the legacy of the distinguished DB-badged grand tourers. With its introduction, Aston Martin commemorates 75 years since David Brown, whose initials form the basis of the DB naming convention, played a pivotal role in rescuing Aston Martin after World War II. It was during this time that he launched the 2-Liter, later known as the DB1.
While other automakers are embracing electrification and electric vehicles, Aston Martin is charting its own course, undergoing a transformation with new leadership, fresh funding, strategic partnerships (including partial ownership of American EV manufacturer Lucid), and a commitment to preserving its mystique and heritage as it reinvents itself once again. The DB12 stands at the intersection of automotive eras, seamlessly combining elements from its cherished past with a keen eye on the future.
Aston Martin DB12: Exuding Sensational Style
As the direct successor to the DB11, introduced seven years ago, the Aston DB12 represents a substantial update rather than a complete redesign. According to designer Marek Reichman, its more pronounced front end resembles a fist cutting through the air. Aggressiveness emerges as a recurring theme, with Aston executives lauding Lamborghini’s success in steadfastly delivering exactly what their drivers desire without unnecessary alterations.
While much of the DB11’s original shape has been retained with subtle refinements, the new front end infuses the car’s silhouette with a commanding presence that was previously lacking. A significantly larger grille takes center stage, adorned with deep strakes that cascade along the length of the car, elongating the nose and expertly directing airflow. The headlights feature matrix-LED technology and seamlessly blend into the front end, evoking a captivating pincer-like appearance.
Both the front and rear tracks have been widened by 6 and 22 mm, respectively. The DB12’s waistline has become more tapered and its muscular haunches exude an athletic prowess, measuring a foot and a half across the fender’s apex. The rear of the DB12 sports sleek LED taillights, complemented by an enamel badge and nameplate, creating a minimalistic yet striking aesthetic.
Upon entering the DB12, drivers and passengers are greeted by exquisite seats adorned with perforated and quilted leather, providing a luxurious and cooling experience. The power controls for the seats are conveniently positioned on the side of the console, while a panel of switches on the console grants access to a range of features, including active exhaust and damper control, as well as roller controllers for fan, temperature, and volume adjustments. The transmission boasts a stubby nubbin stitched with coordinating leather, available in an array of shades from timeless beige to an alluring aubergine.
Aston Martin DB12: Soaring to Unmatched Performance with 671 hp
A simple press of the knob at the center unleashes the DB12’s twin-turbo V-8 engine, which roars to life with conviction. Compared to the DB11 V-8’s output of 503 hp from four years ago, the Aston-infused Benz twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 now flexes its muscles with an impressive 671 hp, surpassing the power delivered by the DB11’s 5.2-liter turbo V-12. Additionally, the V-8 engine sheds approximately 220 pounds in weight.
The enhanced power of the new V-8 engine can be attributed to various upgrades, such as new cam profiles, larger turbos, and a 13-percent shorter final-drive ratio in the 8-speed automatic transmission. Aston Martin claims that these enhancements enable the DB12 to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds, shaving 0.4 seconds off the DB11’s best performance. The top speed now reaches an exhilarating 202 mph, as stated by the manufacturer.
Personally, I decline any endeavors to test the DB12’s top speed. The watchful gaze of French speed cameras has already captured my attention on the way to the Provence hinterlands.
Beyond its awe-inspiring power, the DB12 offers a symphony of joyful sounds that surpass even Aston’s highly acclaimed V-12 engines found in their other models. However, the true pièce de résistance lies in the drive modes, meticulously calibrated to deliver a wide range of throttle and transmission responses. In its default GT mode, the DB12 cruises effortlessly, yet it promptly responds to the transition into Sport or, better yet, Sport+ mode. In these settings, the car becomes more eager to react to subtle throttle inputs and swiftly downshifts through the rear-mounted automatic transmission. Accompanied by the large silver shift paddles adorning the backside of the DB12’s steering wheel, the driver is encouraged to engage in spirited gear changes, while the electronic rear differential ensures power distribution to the rear wheels without excessive wheelspin.
To ensure that the DB12’s resonant and invigorating engine notes permeate the cabin, Aston Martin has amplified the exhaust noise, which fills the interior at all speeds, dynamically adjusting based on the selected drive mode. In Sport+ mode, the exhaust acoustics intensify, immersing the cabin with an exhilarating symphony of growls and crackles, even as the DB12 calmly reaches triple-digit speeds.
Aston Martin DB12: Sharper Ride and Exceptional Handling
As Aston Martin transitioned from the DB11 to the DB12, the chassis received a comprehensive overhaul, surely with Christopher Guest’s approval. Engineers incorporated stiffer anti-roll bars and adjustable dampers, while recalibrating the car’s electronic power steering and adjustable electronic stability control systems. These enhancements were aimed at softening the car’s demeanor in the comfort-oriented GT mode, while simultaneously improving body control and responsiveness in the Sport and Sport+ modes.
One standout feature of the DB12 is its precise steering, as acclaimed by Aston’s head of vehicle integration, Simon Newton. He astutely notes that despite the DB12’s substantial size, it gracefully navigates the narrow canyon roads leading away from Monaco, offering a responsive and agile driving experience. The combination of carefully chosen springs, dampers, and larger 21-inch wheels (which are 0.9 inch wider than before) results in enhanced steering feedback and cleaner handling responses compared to the DB11. The DB12 owes its agreeable steering characteristics in part to the new Michelin Pilot Sport S 5 tires, measuring 275/35 at the front and a robust 315/30 at the rear, as well as the implementation of lighter wheel designs.
The improved performance of the chassis can be attributed to faster processors and accelerometers, which enable the car to gather and process road information more rapidly, allowing for immediate and precise responses through its dampers. As a result, the DB12 effortlessly glides through the French countryside, providing a panoramic blur of breathtaking speed. The carbon-ceramic brakes further enhance the DB12’s capabilities, facilitating quicker stops with reduced weight and optimal thermal management. The front brakes boast a substantial diameter of nearly 16 inches, featuring grooved and drilled faces for enhanced performance.
Nevertheless, the DB12 retains its inherent firmness, even in GT mode, blurring the boundaries between grand touring and Aston’s newly christened category: the “super tourer.” It offers up to 28% more lateral grip, yet this improvement comes with some low-speed wheel motion that the dampers cannot completely eliminate. To suit my personal preferences, I would select GT suspension mode while opting for Sport+ mode for the drivetrain and steering. The latter mode truly accentuates the DB12’s character, eliminating any lingering sluggishness and delivering instantaneous responses during spirited cornering. The powertrain harmoniously complements the ride and handling dynamics, ensuring a well-rounded and invigorating driving experience, albeit with a noticeably stiffer ride.
Aston Martin DB12: A Step Towards Valhalla
During the return journey to Monaco, the DB12’s captivating interior once again envelops me in a sensory delight, with its sumptuous front bucket seats meticulously stitched like handmade handbags. The rear seats and trunk, albeit petite, offer a hint of utility but are better suited for transporting an Hermès backpack and making swift trips to the beach.
The most significant interior upgrade in the DB12 lies in its latest infotainment system, meticulously developed by Aston Martin. The wide touchscreen provides over-the-air updates, seamless integration of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and harmonizes effortlessly with the clean interior design. The cabin exudes an air of sophistication, adorned with a knurled rotary drive selector housing the start button. Carbon fiber accents gracefully intertwine with hand-stitched Bridge of Weir leather or Alcantara, amplifying the aura of luxury. An 11-speaker audio system can be further enhanced by upgrading to the remarkable 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins setup.
In terms of driver-assist features, the DB12 incorporates automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind-spot monitors with cross-traffic warnings, and traffic sign recognition. A surround-view camera system is a standard inclusion in every DB12.
The DB12 is scheduled to arrive in the U.S. later this year, and although pricing details have not been confirmed, it is poised to occupy a stratospheric position above the DB11, indicating a price tag likely exceeding $225,000. Furthermore, a DB12 Volante convertible is undoubtedly in the pipeline.
Looking ahead, Aston Martin’s future plans include the introduction of a new Vantage, a plug-in hybrid Valhalla supercar, and an electric sports car. If all proceeds according to their latest blueprint, the brand will boast a comprehensive portfolio encompassing both EVs and hybrids, SUVs and supercars, by the end of the decade.
Yet, for now, the DB12 gracefully assumes its elevated stance above Monaco, perfectly harmonizing with the allure of the Mediterranean as summer begins to cast its enchanting spell. Once again, my gaze shifts to the clay courts, and in that moment, I realize that all this time, it wasn’t the citizens of Monaco looking up at us from below. It was us, seated behind the wheel of the DB12, providing them with a reason to admire and aspire.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Aston Martin DB12
What is the Aston Martin DB12?
The Aston Martin DB12 is a luxury grand tourer, representing the latest addition to Aston Martin’s lineup. It combines power, elegance, and a rich heritage with modern innovation and performance.
How does the DB12 differ from the DB11?
While the DB11 was introduced seven years ago, the DB12 is a heavy update rather than a full redesign. It features a more pronounced front end, enhanced performance, refined design elements, and various mechanical improvements.
What is the engine specification of the DB12?
The DB12 is equipped with a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 engine developed by Aston Martin in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz. It delivers an impressive output of 671 horsepower, making it significantly more powerful than the DB11.
What are the driving dynamics of the DB12 like?
The DB12 offers a thrilling driving experience with its precise steering, improved chassis, and enhanced body control. It has been fine-tuned to provide agility and responsiveness, allowing drivers to enjoy spirited cornering and effortless handling.
What are the interior features and technology of the DB12?
Inside the DB12, you’ll find a luxurious cabin adorned with high-quality materials, such as leather and carbon fiber trims. The car features an advanced infotainment system with a wide touchscreen, over-the-air updates, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a premium audio system.
Is the DB12 available in convertible form?
While the information provided does not mention a convertible variant of the DB12, Aston Martin often offers convertible versions of their models. It is possible that a DB12 Volante convertible may be released in the future.
When will the DB12 be available and what is its expected price?
The DB12 is scheduled to arrive in the U.S. later this year. While the exact pricing has not been confirmed, it is expected to have a price tag above the DB11, likely surpassing $225,000.
More about Aston Martin DB12
- Aston Martin Official Website
- Aston Martin DB12 Overview
- Aston Martin DB12 Configurator
- Aston Martin News and Updates
- Aston Martin DB12 Teaser Video