When imagining the world’s most sensational British GTs, the cars of Aston Martin top the list. Ever since the marque launched the first DB4 in 1958, its sophisticated coupés have captivated drivers and passersby, on roads, tracks, and even in film. The DB5 cemented the automaker’s fame, and ensuing decades have brought us some equally stunning designs that are regarded as true classics today. The formula for success—a long hood with an inimitable grille, fastback profile, and turned-up tail—may seem simple, but Aston Martin’s many penmen over the years have added a special flourish that gives a singular personality to so many renowned designs.
Aston Martin and Robb Report’s Car of the Year go back a long way, to nearly the beginning of the contest. The hands-down winner of our 2005 Car of the Year was the spanking-new Aston Martin DB9, so new, in fact, that we invited a pre-production car to join the event. That example made quite the impression, and we wrote, “In the gran turismo tradition, it has the distinction of being the shapeliest Aston Martin since the DB5. The DB9 is truly a future classic.” While that car’s beauty endures, its latest successor, the new DB12, carries forward the tradition of high-performance panache and irresistible good looks—so far as to take Robb Report’s Car of the Year crown for 2024.
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It seems that an Aston Martin still gets the juices of our judges flowing. Last year, its hot-rod SUV, the DBX707, came in second on the judges’ scorecard, nosed out by the Bentley Continental GT S. This year, it was no contest, as Aston’s svelte GT blew by the competition for the first time in almost 20 years. Not that Aston hasn’t come close since its 2005 win with landmark cars like the Vanquish and DBS in the interim. Coincidentally, all top three cars for 2024 were from the United Kingdom—a British Invasion, of sorts—with the McLaren Artura (the editors’ top pick) in second, and the Bentley Flying Spur Speed landing third.
The DB12 represents the next generation of the manufacturer’s GT, what the company describes as a “Super Tourer,” and, as the name suggests, replaces the DB11, built from 2016 through 2023. The latest DB iteration succeeds the seven-year-old DB11’s design with improvements both visceral and visual, while retaining signature styling that is pure Aston Martin—evident in the grille, profile, and tail. Yet 80 percent of the design, topside and under the skin, is all new. Fresh composite-panel bodywork, an uprated chassis, and revised suspension modernize this GT. Aggressive 21-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 5 S tires are standard. The DB12’s electric power-assisted steering made quick and effortless work of track drills, abetted by the optional carbon-ceramic brake system that reduces unsprung weight by 60 pounds, keeping dry weight just below 4,000 pounds.
Things get interesting under the hood, where the heart of the DB12 is its 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged, front mid-mounted V-8 engine. That 671 hp aluminum mill is sourced from Mercedes-AMG, which is not a bad thing. As a supplier of cutting-edge technology, Mercedes has mastered the art of the 4.0-liter V-8, wringing out the last ounce of performance from the compact format. Developing 590 ft lbs of torque, the engine has a power output that’s 34 percent greater than that of its predecessor. That extra oomph comes from a combination of improvements, including modified cam profiles, a higher compression ratio, bigger turbos, and enhanced engine cooling.
Driving the rear wheels through a slick-shifting, rear-mounted ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, the extra power lets the DB12 rocket from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 202 mph. The visceral acceleration and abundant torque were especially evident in a track setting, where launching out of corners and onto the straights was as exhilarating as it was confidence inspiring.
Aston Martin luxury, one old-school trait that is constant and unwavering, greets both the driver and passengers the minute the wide doors swing open. With two sumptuous sport seats in front, that accommodate all sizes of occupant, the cabin offers theoretical 2+2 seating, though practically speaking, the DB12 is a two-seat GT, since anyone comfortable in the rear is likely being dropped off at kindergarten. Whatever is the case, quilted leather, fastidious hand stitching, and rich surfaces are standard fare. One impressive update is the infotainment system, featuring a central 10.25-inch touchscreen with full capacitive single- and multi-finger gesture control. And for your listening pleasure, there’s a 390-watt, 11-speaker Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound system.
While the DB12’s base price is $245,000, it’s unlikely that would-be owners can resist some healthy options, like the state-of-the-art 1,170-watt Bowers & Wilkins system with its 15-speaker array. Our car, equipped with nearly $100,000 worth of upgrades, stacked the scales at $347,200. And for those who envision something unique, or nearly so, there’s always Q by Aston Martin, whose team of designers and engineers work with clients to create a bespoke vehicle that pushes the boundaries further still.
Click here for more photos of the Aston Martin DB12, Robb Report’s 2024 Car of the Year.
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