Aston Martin unveils new DB12 coupe amid F1 successes

ASTON Martin Lagonda Global Holdings plc has some additional excitement to accompany its recent podium finishes at Formula One (F1). It has announced a new sports car, the DB12. 

The V8 coupe is the successor to the Aston Martin DB11, the svelte model launched by the British brand in 2016 and sold in V8 and V12 versions. That car will stop production by the end of June. Among the last of the international combustion engines ever to be offered by the Warwick- shire, England-based company, the 671bhp twin-turbo DB12 will not offer a V12 engine option, a spokesperson said. Pricing will start around US$245,000 (RM1.13 million), according to the spokesperson.

Wider and more powerful than its predecessor, the DB12 looks like the DB11 but comes with a redesigned front end and a new, hand-built engine. It has an all-new suspension system, an eight-speed automatic transmission and five drive modes. Top speed will be 325kph, with a zero- to-97kph sprint of 3.5 seconds, the company said. Those performance numbers roughly equal those of the V12 DB11. 

It also carries the newly- designed Aston Martin badge on the hood; new, 21-inch forged- alloy wheels will come standard. 

Key among interior improvements is a new infotainment system, the first that Aston Martin has developed completely in-house. It offers much-needed upgrades over the previous generation, such as driver-oriented controls, all-new navigation and surround sound by the company’s new audio partner, Bowers & Wilkins. Cabin seating will also include novel quilting patterns hand-stitched on Bridge of Weir hides or Alcantara. 

The new car is a critical addition to Aston Martin’s portfolio. Despite enjoying a strong public perception as an elegant brand closely associated with James Bond, the company has struggled since its initial public offering in 2018 with weak sales and cash- flow, supply chain inefficiencies and a high executive turnover. 

Its second-quarter (2Q) adjusted operating losses expanded by 39%, to £47.8 million (RM272.46 million), according to the company. Aston Martin, which sold 1,269 vehicles in 2Q23, needs fresh models such as the DB12 and the powerful DBX 707 SUV to generate sales.

Lately, some analysts have turned bullish on Aston Martin — and not just because of its F1 success. On May 18, Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd infused the brand with £234 million, doubling its stake. 

“We rate this deal as very positive for Aston,” Mediobanca analysts Andrea Balloni and Isacco Brambilla said. The Geely partnership will bring a much-needed influx of cash and improve Aston Martin’s sales reach in China, they said. Geely Holding Group also has ownership stakes in Volvo, Polestar, Lotus and Smart, among other automotive brands. 

Deliveries for the DB12 is slated to begin in autumn. — Bloomberg

  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition