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2024 Aston Martin DB12 First Drive: James Bond Would Be Proud

2024 Aston Martin DB12
Photo: B.Charette
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Benoit Charette
The price is high, but this is the best Aston Martin we've ever driven

•    Auto123 gets in a first drive of the 2024 Aston Martin DB12.

Nice, France - The DB story began in 1948 with the DB1. That first model featured a modest 2.0L 4-cylinder engine under the hood. It was a GT, but hardly a performance car.

It was the DB5, introduced in the James Bond film Goldfinger, that took the model to new heights and earned it its reputation. The most recent version we had, the DB11, was introduced in 2016. 

To celebrate its 110th anniversary, Aston has now launched the all-new DB12, which is based on the DB11's foundations but gets a slew of notable improvements. James Bond would be proud of this new version.

See also: 2024 Aston Martin DB12: Debut of the Super Tourer

The new 2024 Aston Martin DB12 in profile
The new 2024 Aston Martin DB12 in profile
Photo: B.Charette

Exterior of the 2024 Aston Martin DB12

In terms of design, the DB12 is dressed in familiar but heavily revised styling. The front grille has gotten bigger than ever, all the better to give the turbos air to breathe. The LED headlamps are slimmer. 

Above the grille is the latest iteration of the Aston Martin emblem, while below the grille we have a completely redesigned diffuser. 

The car sits on standard 21-inch wheels that conceal cast-iron discs measuring 400 mm at the front and 360 mm at the rear. 

For comparison, the DB12 is slightly longer, wider and lower to the ground than the DB11.

Interior of the 2024 Aston Martin DB12
Interior of the 2024 Aston Martin DB12
Photo: Aston Martin

Interior of the 2024 Aston Martin DB12 

We must lead with a word or two about the magnificent and very comfortable leather seats, complemented by chrome and Alcantara. Those seats can be in semi-aniline leather or even carbon-fibre (optional), plus various inlays of aluminum, carbon-fibre or wood. Standard heated seats can be upgraded with 16-way adjustment and ventilation, and thick-pile floor mats are available as an option. 

The Aston Martin DB12's 260 litres of cargo space are nothing to write home about. You can put the rest of your belongings in the rear, where there are two booster seats, just as the Porsche 911 has. 

Lower console of the 2024 Aston Martin DB12
Lower console of the 2024 Aston Martin DB12
Photo: Aston Martin

Technology and safety in the 2024 Aston Martin DB12

Aston has replaced the DB11's infotainment system, which is based on Mercedes' old Comand model, with a new in-house system. Two 10.25-inch screens can be used to display key information, and the system supports both wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Another first is real-time updates. An electronic SIM card and connectivity via 4G LTE are possible. 

An 11-speaker audio system with QuantumLogic sound processing comes as standard, but customers can opt for a 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins system.

Rear of the 2024 Aston Martin DB12
Rear of the 2024 Aston Martin DB12
Photo: B.Charette

Versions and configurations of the 2024 Aston Martin DB12

It’s simple: there's only one version of the DB12, and it comes fully equipped. 

Otherwise, there are two items you'll probably want to add as options. First of all, there are the carbon-ceramic brakes, which not only remove 27 kg of weight from the car compared to the standard steel brakes, but will also provide the endurance needed on a racetrack. 

There's also a possible upgrade to the standard 390-watt audio system with its “measly” 11 speakers. For a few thousand bucks extra, you can have the full 1,170-watt Bowers & Wilkins experience, doubly amplified. Our tester had it and convinced us the investment is well worth it.

Wheel of the 2024 Aston Martin DB12
Wheel of the 2024 Aston Martin DB12
Photo: Aston Martin

Powertrain of the 2024 Aston Martin DB12

We got to know the DB12 on the Monte Carlo rally circuit and on the Route de Napoléon in the Alpes-Maritimes. Two dream locations to push this sleek machine. 

Aston once again relies on Mercedes' 4.0L twin-turbo V8 engine, though power is increased to 671 hp and torque to 590 lb-ft. The 6-speed automatic transmission has been optimized to be quicker, and you still have the large paddles on the steering wheel for driving in manual mode. You have a new generation of adaptive dampers and stiffer anti-roll bars, and a chassis that’s 7-percent stiffer than on the DB11. 

White 2024 Aston Martin DB12
White 2024 Aston Martin DB12
Photo: B.Charette

Driving the 2024 Aston Martin DB12

The DB12 has all the qualities of a GT in terms of comfort, without the drawbacks. Steering is lively, acceleration is instantaneous and the pleasure is addictive. The V8 sounds like a race engine, and there's even a valve to increase the beast's roar. 

In general, a GT car offers performance worthy of a sports car, but lacks a little character when it comes to handling, which is often not aggressive enough. Aston Martin has made sure that power is combined with the ability to stick to the road. Everything about this model is designed to go fast. 

This DB adds, for the first time, an electronic differential that can switch from full opening to 100 percent locking in milliseconds, enhancing the car's precision. New intelligent adaptive dampers and a non-isolated steering column help provide more honest feedback to the driver. 

There are four modes for the electronic stability program: Wet, On, Track and Off, which use algorithms to determine the available grip in real time and can react immediately to any instability. In addition to these four settings, there are five drive modes: GT, Sport, Sport+, Wet and Individual. 

Red 2024 Aston Martin DB12
Red 2024 Aston Martin DB12
Photo: B.Charette

We haven't even mentioned the 21-inch Michelin Pilot S5s, new tires designed specifically for the DB12, whose foam compound reduces road noise by 20%. 

Overall, it's fair to say that Aston took note of the DB11's weaknesses and corrected them on the DB12.

The final word
The DB12 will arrive in our market in October and its price has yet to be confirmed, although we can expect it to sit somewhere around $300,000. A high price indeed, but this is the best Aston Martin we've ever driven. A GT capable of shining on winding roads is a rare enough phenomenon.

Your questions about the 2024 Aston Martin DB12

What is the significance of the Super Tourer designation?
Aston Martin named this car Super Tourer to put it on a higher level than Grand Tourer. However, the GT name is a benchmark for powerful, comfortable sports cars. 

It's true that the model has been improved, but this abbreviation for Super Tourer takes us back to the ST model of the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus. A rather bad idea in our opinion, and one that won't appeal to the North American public. It would have been better to keep a well-known name.

Strong points

  • Top-level comfort
  • Sublime performance
  • Graceful lines

Weak points

  • Limited trunk space
  • Near-unusable rear seats
  • Poor rear visibility
Interior design of the 2024 Aston Martin DB12
Interior design of the 2024 Aston Martin DB12
Photo: B.Charette

Competitors of the 2024 Aston Martin DB12

Bentley Continental GT
Ferrari Roma
Porsche 911

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Benoit Charette
Benoit Charette
Automotive expert
  • More than 30 years of experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 65 test drives last year
  • Attended more than 200 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists