Well, with motor shows a bit thin on the ground, we guess that Aston Martin releasing its 2022 model year updates on its own online configurator is something to do with the 'new normal'?
We'll circle back to that upgraded configurator in a moment, but for now, let's check out the upgrades and add-ons being granted to the whole Aston Martin lineup for next year.
More power for the DB11
The DB11 - in both coupe and open-top Volante forms - is getting a power upgrade to 535hp from its twin-turbo 6.0-litre V12. That's an increase of 25hp, and not bad going for an engine - kinda-sorta still based on a mid-1990s Ford Mondeo V6. The top speed for the DB11 rises to 309km/h, and while Aston hasn't mentioned any improvement in torque, it does say that the available torque is now: "sustained throughout the engine speed range."
Inside, the DB11 can now also be specced with optional Sports Plus seats, which are grippier and more supportive, from your shoulders all the way down to your legs.
There are some name changes, too. The DB11 is dropping the 'AMR' (Aston Martin Racing) suffix, which it gained a couple of years ago. Equally, the faster, more powerful DBS is dropping its Superleggera badge (a throwback to the Aston GTs of the 1960s, and yes, we're upset about it going too). Aston says that these have been changed to 'simplify its nomenclature', which we think might be the first time we've seen the word 'nomenclature' in a press release. Can we have a vowel, please, Rachel?
Massive rims for the DBX
The DBS also gets a new 21-inch alloy wheel design, as does the compact Vantage coupe. If you're shopping for a DBX SUV, you can now have that with an absolute whopper of a wheel - a full 23 inches.
The DBX also gets the optional sports seats from the DB11 and a wireless phone charging pad for the infotainment system.
So, what about the configurator? Well, Aston says that it's an "immersive 3D Ultra High Definition environment", which now allows you to zoom right in on details so that you can more finely define just how to abuse your bank account.
Once you've finished picking all your options, you can then watch a "cinematic video that clearly shows the full exterior and interior specification chosen." All of the configurator images now include realistic backgrounds, and if you fancy a shortcut, there are options that allow you to pick the exact version of a car that you might have seen in one of Aston Martin's adverts.
Now, if you have a question at any stage of the configuration or can't quite find the option you want, you can also use it to set up an online appointment with your local Aston dealer, who can then walk you through the process. There are also options to share configurations on social media and to book a test drive.
'Curated environments' for the configurator
On top of all that, Aston's design team has also 'curated' a series of options and versions of the cars that follow three broad categories. These are called 'Create', 'Accelerate' and 'Inspire'. According to Aston Martin: "The 'Inspire' environment is the epitome of luxury, offering a crafted cabin with the very best of material and colour choices. Highlights include the finest semi-aniline leather with exquisitely crafted perforation patterns, seat detailing, including broguing and contrast stitching, all culminating in an opulent and luxurious interior. The 'Inspire' environment is available with a choice of 38 colours with monotone and duotone colour combinations complimenting the cabin ambience.
"Echoing the dynamic nature of Aston Martins, the 'Accelerate' environment gives a more assertive character. It will appeal to customers who wish for a more focused interior environment, offering unique sport seats in a combination of leather and Alcantara and featuring contrasting colour highlights. The 'Accelerate' environment is available with a choice of up to 10 colours with four complimenting Alcantara colours.
"Finally, the 'Create' environment offers an unmistakable start to the customer configuration journey. With a focused range of colours and detailing options, this interior offers a distinct visual aesthetic and design character. The 'Create' environment is available with a choice of up to 10 colours in both monotone and duotone colour combinations."
Oh, and Aston says that its ownership of a Formula One team seems to be paying dividends. According to the company, it saw the highest 'organic' traffic to its configurator since the launch of the DBX SUV on the day of the opening race of the F1 season in Bahrain. On top of that, the configurator sees a spike in traffic every time either the DBX medical support car or the Vantage safety car appears on the screen.
Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer Tobias Moers said: "We will go above and beyond to deliver perfection to our customers. The experience of buying an Aston Martin should be as pleasurable as owning one and our new configurator has been created with this in mind. Our customers are very busy people, so it is our job to make the buying process as simple and as enjoyable as possible. This new configurator does that. Like many businesses, a proportion of our customers switched over to online buying during the pandemic, so we have improved this process to allow remote customers to receive the full Aston Martin experience."