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Car Review

Aston Martin DB12 review

£185,000
910
Published: 02 Feb 2024
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

It’s unflappable. The engine and chassis work far more harmoniously than before and because the handover between the two is so clean, you can’t tell where chassis ends and engine begins. It doesn’t matter how tight or open the corner is, from the moment you turn in you feel the rear axle compressing and supporting the car’s weight. So when you get back on the power there’s no slack that needs to be taken up, the power feeds through and out crisply and easily. It’s fuss-free handling with proper control and conviction.

And it’s engaging, richly satisfying. The thrills maybe aren’t as visceral and immediate as those offered by the Porsche and Ferrari, but you’ll look back on whole drives fondly. It gets into a real rhythm, and although it’s not the most dramatic machine to drive, you can’t catch it out. Whatever we do, it’s there, ready for our next move. It’s obedient, steady, has real poise and composure.

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Ok, that’s good. Now, what’s wrong with it?

The steering doesn’t have that much natural feel – although we’re not sure it needs it, because the front end engenders confidence and now the steering ratio is much faster, you instinctively know where you are with it. The optional carbon ceramic brakes suffered a bit of fade and a soft pedal when they got very hot. Spec them for the 27kg unsprung weight saving, not their added dynamism.

And how’s that twin turbo V8?

Even with 671bhp it’s not as explosive or strident here as it is in various hot Mercs. It’s easier to control and keep a lid on. It just digs deep everywhere and pushes you forward with oodles of oomph. After a second or two you realise there’s still another couple of inches of throttle travel there for the taking, if you want them. Go get them: this is supercar speed delivered with GT dignity.

It’s wonderfully forceful this upgraded V8, singing throatily, but even when given everything, there’s no sense of the DB12 waving goodbye to its comfort zone.

Does it behave itself around town?

You notice it at the first speedbump. The composed compression and slick rebound, the tight control of the body, it’s not harsh, and it doesn’t wallow. The DB12 relishes the urban environment in fact. The engine’s docile, the gearbox subdued.
 
OK, it’s still got a long, long bonnet and that’s awkward at junctions, but at least visibility is improved.

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How’s the range?

Ah, the EV hot topic – yeah, it also matters where cars such as this are concerned, even if very few do cross-continental drives in GTs any more. The 78-litre fuel tank is generous, and Aston claims 23.2mpg, which means a range of 398 miles if you are prepared to play chicken with the fuel light.

Employing its GT credentials? We did better than the claim, averaging around 26mpg. Exploit the supercar side of its persona and that tumbles to around 16. Overall, expect to get about 22mpg. CO2 emissions stand at 276g/km.

And what about that old chestnut: the long cruise?

Here’s something you might not have expected. The old DB11 actually suffered from quite a bit of tyre noise. Not so the DB12, which features Michelin’s latest Pilot Sport 5S tyres with foam inserts to reduce volume by 20 per cent. And it’s not like the engine is stressed either. Eighth gear at 80mph is 1,800rpm. 

Overall it’s not as imperious and isolating as a Conti GT, it retains a sense of sporting behaviour, the steering is always crisp and responsive in your hands – but that’s actually what you need. You never have to second guess the DB12, it does exactly as you bid. Not having to think about it, or predict what it might do means it’s more relaxing.

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