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Henry Catchpole: Aston Martin DB12 first drive

by Hagerty
6 July 2023

The new Aston Martin DB12 is a crucial car for the British company. Why? Because it represents the first of a new generation. A new Vantage is also expected before long and the Valhalla is waiting in the wings as well. What’s more, Aston is keen that these new cars should better reflect a company that has a Formula One team—and a rather good one at that.

As such, greater performance is the order of the day for Fernando Alonso’s new company car, and although there is no longer a V-12 option, the familiar 4.0-litre turbocharged V-8 has been pumped up to produce a startling 671bhp and 590lb ft of torque. Can the rest of the car cope with that? Well, let’s just say that this is a DB with an E-diff for the first time, and it looks like it’s got the tyres for the job, with wide new Michelin Pilot Sport 5 S rubber wrapping the new forged wheels.

This more sporting bent to the car is intended to position the DB12 (and Aston as a whole) directly between Bentley and Ferrari. A new skew toward the famous Italian marque is perhaps no surprise because the latest man to slip behind the big desk in the fanciest corner office at Gaydon is none other than Amadeo Felisa, ex-CEO at Ferrari.

Since he took over from Tobias Moers in 2022, Felisa has brought in various engineers with Maranello knowhow to help guide the development of the new generation of cars. Can you feel this influence in the DB12 (which Aston Martin is positioning as the world’s first Super Tourer)? You’ll have to watch the film to find out…

We had the run of the roads in the South of France, but within the test route there was one particular stretch of tarmac that it seemed appropriate to visit. In the James Bond film GoldenEye, 007 drives his famous Aston Martin DB5 in an impromptu race against a Ferrari 355 GTS with Xenia Onatopp behind the wheel. This scene with Pierce Brosnan and Famke Janssen takes place on a set of spectacular roads not far from the Route Napoleon, so that’s where we went. With a new, silver DB at our disposal, it would have been rude not to.

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