What car will 007 be driving the next time he hits our screens? This one, probably. The 26th film in the James Bond franchise won’t be out until 2025, but don’t be surprised if MI6’s best flick ends up in an Aston Martin DB12.
Let’s hope so, because the new DB12 does look like a fit. With a 680-horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 under its bulging hood, it could also destroy some belligerent henchmen on treacherous mountain trails.
Aston Martin calls it “the world’s first super tourer” and the start of a new era for the revered but troubled British marque. Next month we’ll be driving the DB12 – on treacherous mountain roads, no less. Until then, here’s everything you need to know.
At the heart of the DB12 is a reworked version of Aston Martin’s proven 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine. Larger turbochargers, new cam profiles and improved cooling produce 680hp at 6,000rpm, while developing a healthy 561lb ft of torque at 2,750rpm (by comparison, the outgoing DB11 V8’s 535hp and 513lb ft of torque).
With a dry weight of 1,685kg – estimated to be closer to 1,800kg, plus fluids – that’s enough to propel the DB12 to 62mph in 3.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 202mph. Chief engineer Roberto Fedeli promises an “exciting soundtrack” from the switchable exhaust, too.
Power is sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. There’s no old-fashioned manual alternative, but you can control it with paddles behind the steering wheel. Brakes are either iron discs or optional carbon ceramics – the latter reducing unsprung weight by 27kg – while bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport 5S tires have been developed specifically for the DB12.
Contents of the tour…
Whether you call it a ‘super tourer’ or a supercar, the DB12 is still a GT in the traditional sense: a car built for long European road trips – or revisiting your childhood home in the Scottish Highlands?
The default GT driving mode is selectable via a knurled control on the center console and is said to provide “luxury ride qualities…for a superb and agile cruising”. Switch to Sport or Sport+ for more intensity, and there’s a new Wet mode tailored to the UK weather.
It was also the first DB model to be equipped with an electronic rear differential. Unlike a mechanical differential, it can switch from open to fully locked in milliseconds, helping to improve cornering speeds and improve stability. It should also help the DB12 sideways when conditions permit…
“The sharpest database ever created”
This brings us to the sportier side of the DB12’s character. Aston Martin promises “the sharpest database ever” as well as “best-in-class driving dynamics”. That’s a bold claim when your competition includes the McLaren Artura and Maserati MC20.
The car’s bonded aluminum structure is 7 percent stiffer than the DB11, and its non-isolated steering column is said to provide better feedback. We recently tried a similar setup on the soon-to-be-discontinued Aston Martin DBS 770 Ultimate and were blown away by its alertness and focus.
Drivers can choose from four stability control settings: Wet, On, Track and Off. The system relies on numerous sensors around the car, including a new six-axis inertial unit, and is calibrated to work in the background, intervening as unobtrusively as possible.
as seen on the screen
If there’s one aspect of the DB11 that desperately needs an update, it’s the interior. Thankfully, its successor has an all-new cabin that ditches the venerable Mercedes-Benz media system forever.
This time, Aston Martin has developed its own in-house infotainment system with two 10.25-inch screens, 3D navigation, online connectivity – including over-the-air software updates – and a dedicated smartphone app. You can also connect your phone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
The driver and front passenger are wrapped by a tall center console that mixes analog switches and digital controls. Buyers can choose from hand-stitched leather or Alcantara upholstery, as well as a myriad of personalization options available through Aston Martin’s ‘Q’ division. The DB12’s surround-sound audio system comes from Bowers and Wilkins, the British company that also supplies McLaren.
DB12 gives you wings
Finally, there is its appearance. The DB12 is clearly part of a lineage that began with the DB7 in 1994, but its taut silhouette and athletic stance are definitely more Daniel Craig than Pierce Brosnan.
It features 21-inch forged alloy wheels, frameless door mirrors, pop-up door handles and a new version of the Aston Martin ‘wings’ badge. Head of design Merek Reichmann said: “We have brought everything together on the DB12 – handling, dynamics, powertrain, space and styling – and we’ve taken it to the extreme through technology to deliver this new category of performance – the design driving experience”.
Whatever the end result – even if, God forbid, Bond is back at BMW – the DB12 is a very important car for Aston Martin. Back at the Automotive Research Center soon for our first test drive.
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