Driving report: Aston Martin DB12: New times

The British are masters of understatement, too much bling-bling is just as frowned upon in the upper class as Darjeeling tea from a bag.

Driving report: Aston Martin DB12: New times

The British are masters of understatement, too much bling-bling is just as frowned upon in the upper class as Darjeeling tea from a bag. But when it comes to selling cars, the Aston Martin strategists un-Britishly pat themselves on the chest. The Aston Martin DB12 should not just be any GT, but a Super Tourer. This is accompanied by a repositioning of the British car manufacturer. Aston Martin is set to become the first ultra-luxury British brand to poach Ferrari's territory. If something is ultra-luxurious, you can also put a corresponding price tag on the product. So the DB12 costs at least 225,000 euros and is therefore more expensive than a McLaren GT or a Ferrari Roma.

The appearance of the DB12 also fits this claim. "We took the car to the gym," says designer Marek Reichman. Optics training pays off. The DB12 is a respectable car, but with a length of 4.72 meters and a width of 2.06 (including the exterior mirrors 2.14 meters) it is not a compact vehicle. So that the muscle-packed appearance does not degenerate into an air number, the vehicle must also be correspondingly dynamic. With 500 kW / 680 hp and a maximum torque of , the DB12 trumps the McLaren GT, the Bentley Continental and the Ferrari Roma by 44 kW / 60 hp each.

In order to tease this power out of the AMG V8 engine block, a few changes are necessary. It is based on larger turbochargers with complex cooling including two additional coolers, a new low-temperature cooler and significantly larger body openings than the DB11, which can be seen in the monstrous radiator grille and the two nostrils in the hood. Inside the engine, a sharper camshaft and modified compression ensure more power. The eight-speed gearbox has a shortened final ratio of 3.083:1 so that the power can also develop adequately. The DB12 reaches the 100 km/h mark after around 3.6 seconds and has a top speed of 325 km/h.

"The DB12 is the first of the new generation of sports cars," explains product manager Alex Long. At Aston Martin, more emphasis is now placed on performance in order to benefit from the charisma of the Formula 1 team. The engineers really worked hard on the Super Tourer. After all, this car is intended to herald a new aegis. “During the development of the DB12, we had more prototypes and engineering resources than ever before,” says engineer Simon Newton. The Aston Martin DB12 follows the classic transaxle concept with the engine at the front and the gearbox at the rear, resulting in a weight distribution of 48:52 (front/rear) so that the long-distance athlete is also as agile as possible and still whistles comfortably around corners. There is also an electronic rear axle differential (E-Diff), which can switch from fully open to 100 percent locking effect within milliseconds. New adaptive Billstein dampers, stiffer anti-roll bars and a body that is seven percent more torsion-resistant than the DB11 complete the agility menu.

The concept of power paired with comfort works. The DB12 feels particularly at home on country roads with sweeping curves. Power is plentiful and the engine is a gem. If desired, the DB12 comes up with an almost brutal verve, accompanied by the rich sound of the eighth. The eight-speed automatic still needs some fine-tuning before the car is at the dealership in August. Every now and then the transmission holds a lower gear for too long or briefly searches for the right gear. The steering fits seamlessly into the GT orientation. The controls are not hyper-direct, which is particularly relaxing on the freeway, but precise enough to circle the 1,685-kilogram vehicle around corners damn fast. However, the steering wheel column could be longer to find a perfect position in the very good sports seats. The adaptive chassis has the right answer ready for all requirements: GT is the best choice on motorways and well-developed country roads, if the asphalt is a bit hilly, you can get along better with Sport or even Sport. Even on the sharpest setting, the DB12 isn't too uncomfortable, as befits a Gran Turismo. However, the lack of active roll stabilization is noticeable when dancing around corners. But that's what the developers wanted in terms of the GT feeling. Rear axle steering would also look good on the Aston Martin.

The interior of the DB12 is comfortable and trimmed with fine leather. The Mercedes impression is a thing of the past for the British car manufacturer. The infotainment with the two 10.25 inch monitors and the controls come from Aston Martin. Basically, the operation works well, but the navigation system does not always work perfectly. A head-up display would also look good on the car. The wide, slightly rising center console dominates the interior and the ability to operate functions such as the air conditioning directly is pleasing. Especially since the analogue buttons and levers also feel valuable. Since we are already on the subject. The DB12 not only looks good, but is a GT that you can really have fun with.