2024 Aston Martin DB12

007 Never Had It So Good.

You likely noticed that Aston Martin has had a long run of cars starting with “DB.” That designation came from David Brown, the owner of the company from 1947. The company’s lineup has included a “DB”-branded car for more than 75 years.

The one-off, so to speak, in the run of numbers was the DB10 which, as it turns out, was made in very limited production (only ten units) for use in the 2014 James Bond film Spectre. That was quite the homage to a fifty-year collaboration between the James Bond films and the storied car manufacturer (the first such alliance being the DB5 in the 1964 film Goldfinger). Not long thereafter, the DB11 was announced, and it was a stunner. Large clamshell hood (all one piece with upper fenders attached, opening forward), as svelte as it was fast. So how to improve on that, which surprisingly has been around for over ten years? Behold the DB12.

This newest iteration of the Aston road kings — dubbed by them as the “World’s First Super Tourer” — is even more sculptural than its predecessor. It’s a gorgeous machine but, even more surprisingly, it’s quicker, quieter, and even more comfortable than the DB11 that it replaces.

It was even named car of the year by a prestigious car magazine, beating out the McLaren Artura and the Bentley Flying Spur Speed. So, what does it take to create such a winner? Starting with the V8 motor, the DB12 has over 670 horsepower with 590 pound feet of torque, potent enough to motivate this big touring machine (weighing about two tons) from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds. The twin-turbo engine is mated to a very slick eight-speed transmission — an automatic trans — which can be driven in manual mode with the paddle shifters.

Thoughtfully, there’s even an exhaust-sound adjustment button and several driving modes — GT, Sport, Sport+, Individual, and Wet. Needless to say, my normal start-up sequence includes the loud button, choosing the Sport+ mode, selecting the manual transmission, and reducing (or completely turning off) the traction-control switch.

As a long-time devotee of the brand, I can say that Astons present several delights, including their sinuous lines and sleek, sumptuous curves. When opening the door, you get to experience the wafting sweet fragrance of premium leather and marvel at the beautiful tooling that presents interesting designs. Sliding into the driver’s seat, you feel coddled, almost like wearing a custom suit that’s well-made and fitted.

And when firing up the motor, you can’t wait to drive off, at one with the machine, loving the ergonomics, sound, and speed. While this two-plus-two (which, as usual, has a small back seat) coupe is heavier than many sports cars, the performance is impressive. With an impressive a top speed just north of 200 miles per hour, what struck me most was the way the car rode so smoothly, especially on uneven surfaces, and then handled through the corners like a slot car. No doubt, the 22-inch wheels help, but the new adaptive dampers and first-of-its-kind Aston e-differential get most of the credit. When added to the new Michelin Pilot Sport 5 S tires (developed specifically for the DB12) that include what’s become de rigueur — noise-canceling foam inserts inside each tire — the DB12’s road-going manners are awesome. Often, power and performance are the enemy of calm and comfort, and vice versa, but this latest Aston does both so well that it truly is a grand tourer.

Another major improvement over the DB11 is that this newer model has its own switchgear, rather than having it come from the Mercedes-Benz parts bin, as Aston had done for many years. The result is that everything each driver touches is metal or leather-wrapped and feels substantial and luxurious. The new transmission seems slicker and smoother-shifting than the earlier version and the lower rear-end gearing makes for a quicker response time when accelerating. “My” DB12 had the optional Bowers & Wilkins 15-speaker 1,170-watt sound system, which added to the aural delights, especially as the car can be quiet enough to really enjoy the music, be it Billy Joel, Aaron Copland, Robbie Williams, The Fugs, or Blodwyn Pig (now that’s a playlist!)

As a side note, at press time for this story, I also was able to enjoy the drop-top version of this fine machine, the DB12 Volante, but that’s a tale for another time since the information embargo imposed on the Volante extends until after this article goes to press. Stay tuned, though, as it’s a real stunner.

I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so you may not agree with my raves about the design of the DB12, but when coupled with exemplary performance, comfort, world-class handling, and more, the DB12 coupe is one of the top grand touring cars made today — a Super Tourer indeed.