What Is It?
In a time when most car companies are moving toward electric powertrains and thus effecting the demise of the internal combustion engine, some brands continue to embrace the excitement of the gas-powered V8 engine. Aston Martin is one of these companies, and while the famed British marque may one day shun the V8, that day hasn’t arrived — yet. Instead, the company is celebrating its 110th anniversary by introducing its latest V8-powered grand touring car, the all-new 2024 Aston Martin DB12.
While Aston Martin celebrates a major anniversary this year, in 1947 Sir David Brown purchased the company and the new owner’s initials adorned Aston Martin’s first postwar sports car, the DB2. Sold between 1950 and 1953, the DB2 launched a series of namesake cars that would become the brand’s mainstay over its long history of special grand touring automobiles, ultimately arriving at the DB12.
Best in Class
“DB12 is a statement car. One that asserts Aston Martin’s position as a leader in performance, dynamics, engineering, and technology,” said Aston Martin Group Chief Technology Officer Roberto Fedeli. “We have pushed every aspect of this car to be best-in-class. The result is more power and performance than its rivals. Combined with exceptional handling and an exciting soundtrack, it is a car with passion and a truly sporting character,” enthused Fedeli.
It may be all new, but the 2024 DB12 is still easily recognizable as an Aston Martin. The new model stands apart from its predecessor with a wider track and a larger, reshaped grille for a more aggressive look. The larger grille also improves cooling for the more powerful V8. New LED headlights with stylish signature daytime running lights sweep back over the fenders, and the DB12 is the first Aston to wear the latest version of the Aston Martin wings badge.
One element that makes the DB12 so attractive is its precise GT car proportions. With its forward-leaning grille, long hood, sharply raked windshield and a roofline that flows smoothly to the rear of the car, the DB12 looks fast. Bulging rear fenders add to the muscular look, and they look great when glancing in the rearview mirror. And 21-inch wheels complete the performance look.
Currently Aston Martin is offering the DB12 as a single trim line, priced at $248,086. We fully expect a convertible version and higher-performance variants to arrive in years to come, but here’s been no official word on either of these yet. The standard feature list for the DB12 is quite inclusive, with sport seats trimmed in soft leather, an Alcantara headliner, 21-inch wheels, and an integrated 10.25-inch display that employs the new and improved infotainment system.
Most DB12 customers will choose to customize their new car’s style, and there are plenty of ways to accomplish this. Buyers can choose from more than 50 exterior colors with multiple carbon fiber exterior packages. Multiple wheel options are offered, as well as the color of the brake calipers. Inside are more color choices for primary and secondary trim, as well as different seat styles and more carbon fiber trim options. The GT even offers a custom luggage and an available Aston Martin Pet Pack.
Opening the DB12’s driver door for the first time prior to our test drive, our olfactory senses were treated to a wonderful aroma of leather — in this case hand-stitched Bridge of Weir hides that trim the seats and door panels. Buyers can choose Comfort Seats or Sport Seats; the latter are stiffer but offer larger bolsters for increased support during enthusiastic driving. Seat controls are positioned on the sides of the center console — an unusual location, but they are easy to find and use.
There isn’t much cabin storage in the DB12, although there are spaces for small items. A shallow, covered bin offers enough space for a phone or wallet; a wireless charger sits below the main controls and gear selector.
The 2024 Aston Martin DB12 introduces a next-generation infotainment system designed and developed in-house. A 10.25-inch high-resolution touchscreen is integrated with the dashboard and features shortcuts on the left side of the screen for quick access to vehicle settings, audio and navigation. The system is easy to operate, and we appreciate smart climate control selections of Warm Cabin, Cool Cabin, Warm Feet and Warm Hands. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also included. And even though the audio system has no tuning knob, we do appreciate the physical control for volume.
The rear seat of the 2024 Aston Martin DB12 is beautiful, although it’s more suited to admiration rather than actual sitting. The DB12 is considered a GT car with seating for four; however, with front seats in comfortable positions there is literally zero legroom in back. The seat could work for a short stint or in an emergency, but it is best considered a stylish storage shelf.
Carrying large amounts of cargo is not part of the 2024 Aston Martin DB12’s purpose, so it’s no surprise that trunk space is limited. That said, it can certainly handle a few overnight bags for a weekend in the country. Surprisingly, there is no trunk release at the rear of the vehicle — it must either be opened by the key fob or from inside the cabin.
Under the Hood
Under the long hood of the 2024 Aston Martin DB12 resides a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine producing 671 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. That power gets sent to the rear wheels via a carbon fiber prop shaft connected to a rear-mounted 8-speed automatic transmission. With a considerable bump up in horsepower and torque versus the outgoing DB11, the DB12 will sprint to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds on its way to a top speed of 202 mph.
Wheels and Tires
With the new DB12, Aston Martin is the first manufacturer to use Michelin’s new Pilot Sport S 5 tires. However, these tires feature a custom compound tuned by the Aston Martin dynamics team for the utmost performance in dry and wet conditions. Tires also feature polyurethane foam inserts that reduce road noise for a more enjoyable ride.
Ensuring that braking power is up to the task of slowing this powerful Aston Martin, the DB12 is fitted with grooved and drilled cast-iron disc brakes measuring 400 mm in front and 360 mm at the rear. The DB12 can optionally be fitted with Carbon Ceramic Brakes, which offer increased braking performance with reduced fade at higher temperatures. The CCB option also lowers the car’s unsprung weight by almost 60 pounds.
Built on a bonded aluminum chassis that boasts a 7 percent increase in torsional stiffness than the previous generation, the DB12 gets new intelligent adaptive dampers with stiffer roll bars. The DB12 is also the first DB to get an electronic rear differential, which works with Aston’s electronic stability control to provide more consistent handling, greatly improved cornering in all weather conditions, and a more comfortable ride when cruising in GT mode. After driving the DB12 in monsoon-like conditions, we can say with certainty that wet-weather performance is impressive.
On the Road
Aston Martin invited us to the south of France to properly test the DB12 in what could easily be its natural habitat. Like a proper GT car, the DB12 is comfortable and quiet on the freeway or when cruising on country roads, with plenty of available power to overtake slower vehicles. The ride is pliant without being too soft, and with comfortable seats and the available 1,170-watt Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound audio system providing the tunes, we could have cruised in the DB12 all day.
Impressive performance sets the 2024 Aston Martin DB12 apart from other GT cars. The powerful V8 delivers impressive acceleration from a stop or when already at highway speeds. Steering is responsive with excellent feedback, and the DB12 stays flat and stable even when pushed hard in the corners. The test car was also equipped with ceramic brakes that provide stable and predictable stopping power at any speed.
Wet Weather Driving
The DB12 has multiple drive modes, one of which is Wet Mode. We didn’t expect to have the opportunity to try this out, but the weather had a different idea. To drive the DB12 in a torrential downpour with considerable standing water, we selected Wet Mode and were continually impressed with the level of stability and confidence this rear-wheel drive car delivered in the rain. We were able to accelerate out of turns without any drama, and the car remained planted throughout our very wet drive.
We would be thrilled to drive a DB12 daily; however, the new GT can be somewhat challenging to maneuver in tight spaces. The Aston is not a large vehicle, but its turning circle is larger than expected, so parking takes some planning.
Right for You?
While beauty is certainly subjective, we think the DB12 is one of the most beautiful cars on the road. This GT’s powerful V8, combined with its elegant, comfortable interior, adds to its attraction. With the ability to cruise on the freeway comfortably or confidently take on a twisty mountain road at speed, the DB12 has much to offer. With a price that will easily approach $300,000, the DB12 is not for everyone, but for those with the means it is certainly worth a look.
Pros: Stunning looks; excellent performance; elegant interior.
Cons: Tiny rear seat; large turning radius; expensive.
Bottom Line: Outstanding performance in a gorgeous package — precisely what an Aston Martin should be.