The wraps have come off the Aston Martin DB12, the latest in a long line of DB-badged models from the British company. It supersedes the DB11 and though the new car's styling is an evolution of its predecessor's, almost everything else seems to be new - prompting Aston to coin the car's dramatic catchphrase - ' Grand is not enough; this is the world's first Super Tourer'. Aston Martin claims that the car manages to mix supercar dynamism with long-distance GT comfort and practicality.
Striking new appearance
While it takes only a glance to know that the DB12 is an Aston Martin, its detailing is far more aggressive than that of the DB11 before it. Up front is a massive radiator grille, similar to that used in the Aston DBX707, though the DB12 gets a ground-hugging appearance all its own thanks to an integrated jutting diffuser shape to the front apron.
A set of high-tech LED headlights are complemented by slender door mirrors and 21-inch wheels. These are 'Satin Silver' by default with six other finishes including the daring 'Satin Bronze' hue pictured in our image gallery. The big rims hide increased tracks front and rear for a more muscular stance. Remarkably, the 21-inch wheels are 8kg lighter than the previous 20-inch items.
Completely new interior
Arguably, the only aspect of the DB11 that needed an overhaul was the cabin, specifically its infotainment system. Aston Martin has remedied that in the DB12 with a complete redesign. Indeed, it has created a bespoke system entirely inhouse, using a 10.25-inch touchscreen mounted in the wide centre console. This is complemented by a selection of physical switchgear for the climate control and other sub-systems.
A new flat-bottomed steering wheel is shown in the launch images, with tall carbon-fibre gearchange paddles behind and a set of digital instruments ahead of the driver.
Under that long bonnet...
While we wouldn't rule out the possibility of a V12-engined version of the DB12 in time, the new car will be launched solely with a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 - made by Mercedes-AMG. Peak outputs are quoted as 680hp at 6,000rpm and 800Nm of torque, the latter available between 2,750- and 6,000rpm. With a dry weight of less than 1,700kg, it's of no surprise to see that the DB12 does 0-100km/h in just 3.6 seconds - on the way to a top speed of 325km/h.
An eight-speed automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels via an electronically controlled rear differential - the first time such a thing has been used on an Aston DB car. It works in conjunction with the stability control and can switch from operating as a fully-open differential to 100 per cent locked in milliseconds, allowing Aston's engineers to tune its characteristics depending on the selected driving mode and the vast amount of data being monitored at every moment.
Fancy new dampers for a sharper chassis
The operation of the differential is integrated with the calibration of a new generation of dampers in the DB12, too. Aston Martin is particularly proud of the dampers, bullishly claiming that its engineers "have extended the DB12's range of character far beyond those of class rivals." It boils down to the car's ability to be comfortable in the default GT driving mode yet taut and more controlled in the Sport and Sport+ settings.
Further integration of the stability control, anti-lock brakes, traction control and 'lateral dynamics' uses a veritable army of sensors - including a new six-axis inertia measurement unit - to predict the level of grip available or react to the situation as needs be. The intention is to allow the driver to explore the outer edges of the car's - and their own - ability in safety. Aside from the core driving modes, the stability control system can be switched to Wet, Track or fully-off levels of assistance.
Allowing the suspension work more effectively, the DB12's structure is claimed to be seven per cent stiffer than the DB11's, while thicker anti-roll bars are also fitted. The fixed-ratio power steering is promised to be really direct with just 2.4 turns lock-to-lock and the level of electrical assistance reduces as the driver moves up from GT to Sport and Sport+ driving modes.
Massive grooved and drilled cast-iron brake discs are standard and buyers can opt to upgrade to carbon ceramic items. They're 27kg lighter, while also reducing brake fade under hard use.
Bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport 5 tyres are wrapped around the big wheels, and they feature noise-cancelling polyurethane foam inserts inside.
Q it up
As ever with Aston Martin, the base specification is just the starting point, so it matters little that pricing for the new DB12 has yet to be confirmed. Buyers usually spend thousands more on personalising their Astons in any case. There's a wide range of exterior and interior colours and finishes to choose from, along with subscription services accessed via a new Aston Martin app. These fall under three categories - Convenience, Vehicle Management and Vehicle Services - and come with a wide variety of benefits.