The Aston Martin DB11 came to market in 2016, making it the oldest entry in the current range, icon of a former regime that the automaker’s new leadership wants to recast if not strike down entirely. The car’s replacement will debut on May 24, and Aston Martin has teased the arrival with the assessment, “This is no mere GT. Grand is not enough.” The exterior images confirm the coupe we expect to be called DB12 won’t be an all-new offering; these are DB11 bones laid up with more muscle, better reflexes, enhanced technology. At the front, the clamshell hood is gone, replaced by a traditional panel bracketed by the fenders. It looks like there’s a larger grille with the hallmark five horizontal slats. These appear to be the same headlight housings, but each contains a triplicate of lamps and a new DRL signature.
The side view gives away gorgeous bronze wheels that might be 21 inches, an inch larger than the stock rims on the DB11. Behind them, one of the two big changes on the new car will be the suspension. We don’t know what that entails, we’re told “class-leading performance” and “pinpoint driving dynamics.” Powering those dynamics should be the 5.2-liter V12 and 4.0-liter Mercedes-AMG-sourced twin-turbo V8 we’re familiar with.
The second big change comes inside, previewed by the image of the center console. The waterfall console that’s been tweaked and fiddled with since its debut in the 2001 Vanquish finally gets a sequel. A canted lower section contains a widescreen infotainment display, a touchscreen, above an array of knobs and buttons. Icons on the left of the display show that all the usual infotainment features are included here, so this could be the sole screen on the instrument panel; a digital gauge cluster would put information in the driver’s line of sight. Or who knows, there could be another telly for the passenger. A infotainment skin specific to Aston Martin will run on top of Mercedes-Benz’s latest MBUX software, the new treats including a voice with a proper English accent.
Below that, there’s a rotary knob with an engine start button ahead of a lever-like gear shifter — no more pushbuttons. The HVAC system gets dedicated buttons and rollers, another roller serving as volume control. We see an On/Off icon as well, which we’d hope is for the screen; car interiors are lit up like Johnson Space Control now, the more lights we can turn off in the cabin, the better.
Aston Martin’s revival has taken off this year, the automaker’s 110th anniversary. The potential DB12 isn’t only the first sign of the new Aston to come, CEO Lawrence Stroll believes the upgraded range of GT cars will be good enough to kill another symbol of the former regime. He said recently, “We’ve created a new sector, something more superior to a GT,” eliminating the need for the mid-engined Vanquish, previewed in concept form four years ago. A shame for the enthusiast, because the Vanquish was meant to put Valkyrie and Valhalla vibes into a more affordable — that’s a relative term — package, one that included a manual transmission. The Valhalla will carry the mid-engined torch, released in several variants up to a total production of 999 cars. The refreshed DBS and Vantage will lift the front-engined tide when they’re introduced next year.