Aston Martin DB12 vs. Ferrari Roma: Here's How They Stack Up

Introduced by the luxury British high-performance car maker as "the world's first Super Tourer," the DB12 has nothing to do with station wagons, luckily. Instead, it is more like a superpowered take on grand tourers. Alas, this point of view might be a little hard to justify when it also has nothing to do with a traditional V12 but rather an AMG V8.
Aston Martin DB12 vs Ferrari Roma 17 photos
Photo: Aston Martin / Ferrari
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Ian Fleming's fictional character James Bond was created in 1953 as a British MI6 secret operative with the codename 007, and the world of popular culture adopted its persona as soon as the first Hollywood movie appeared in 1962. A couple of years later, the Aston Martin DB5 sports car debuted in 'Goldfinger,' and the rest is history. Interestingly, the car made such a long-lasting impression that it was featured in six more films: Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale, Skyfall, and Spectre. Curiously, during that time, Aston Martin evolved the DB series up to the DB12 iteration, but the James Bond flicks have an even higher count of 25 official Eon Productions.

But why are we talking about Hollywood, James Bond, and movies when the subject is the new Aston Martin DB12? Well, truth be told, it is simple. As much as we hate to say it, some of the spy blockbusters were kind of recycled from the past – and that also happens with the Aston Martin DB12. More precisely, instead of being all-new compared to the DB11, it has the same McLaren 720S to 750S syndrome of carefully upgrading just about all but keeping almost everything the same. Well, that is not necessarily dreadful when the competition makes automobiles that have nothing to do with common sense – we are looking at you, BMW, and some of your latest creations, by the way!

Anyway, DB12 still makes a good start for Aston Martin in its bid to usher in a new era of next-generation sports cars, complete with an "assertive exterior design" that is instantly recognizable as an Aston from any angle. Under the hood resides the M177 version of the 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 from Mercedes-AMG, which can be found in a wide variety of models like the C, E, S, G, GLC, GLE, GLS, and SL classes from Mercedes, AMG, and even Maybach. As part of the long-running agreement with Aston Martin (can anyone believe it has been a decade since they signed it?), AMG also delivers versions of the M177 for application in the Vantage, DB11, or DBX models. And now, also the latest DB12, which on this occasion is proud of a "best-in-class" power output of 671 hp (680 ps) and 590 pound-feet (800 Nm) of torque.

There's mind-bending performance in store for the customers, to the tune of hitting 60 mph (96 kph) in 3.5 seconds and a maximum speed of 202 mph (325 kph). Deliveries are scheduled to begin just as fast if everything goes according to plan, starting from the year's third quarter. According to Aston, the new DB12 "is the product of a holistic approach" that begins from tailored Michelin Pilot Sport 5 S tires, goes through an all-new suspension system with adaptive damping, the first-ever electronic rear differential (E-Diff), unique transmission shift calibration for the eight-speed automatic gearbox, and ends with the 7% stiffer bonded aluminum structure. Even better, the V8 has seen a 34% power increase compared to its predecessor, a "500% increase in bandwidth of force distribution" for the "state-of-the-art dampers," and a 56% rise in cold air flow thanks to the larger aerodynamic apertures.

Aston Martin DB12 vs Ferrari Roma
Photo: Aston Martin / Ferrari / McLaren / Chevrolet
Well, that is really not bad when you think about it in solitude. But what about if you add a main rival plus a couple of surprises? That probably changes the equation, right? First and foremost, aside from other potential candidates for grand touring greatness, the new Aston Martin DB12 will clash with the Ferrari Roma front mid-engine RWD 2+2 supercar. The Maranello-born grand tourer has been on the market for some time – since the 2021 model year, and also rocks a neck-snapping engine of its own – a 3.9-liter F154 BH twin-turbo V8 mill. Power is sent to the wheels through an eight-speed Magna 8DCL900 dual-clutch automatic instead of DB12's classic ZF 8HP75 auto gearbox, though. And that is not the only difference – power for Roma is down to 612 hp (620 ps) as the Brits had enough time to coordinate with the Germans at AMG and provide a proper 671-hp response.

However, while dimensions are mostly comparable – Aston's DB12 is longer, and the Ferrari Roma is slightly taller, the difference between a win and a loss at the local racetrack or quarter-mile dragstrip might have more to do with the weight handicap than anything else. Here, the 1,570 kg (3,461 lb.) The Italian sports car has the advantage, whereas the British grand tourer is a tad fatter at 1,685 kilograms (3,715 lb.). Logic tells us these two will be utterly balanced when facing each other, as even the torque is almost the same – 800 Nm or 590 lb-ft for DB12 and 761 Nm (561 lb-ft) for Roma. Naturally, when it comes to looks, everyone is entitled to a personal opinion, as beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.

However, we will also give the new DB12 and older Roma a run for their money with two glorious mid-engine alternatives. First is the 670-hp naturally aspirated FPC (flat-plane crank) record breaker – the C8 Chevy Corvette Z06. Starting at $105,300, it is a veritable bargain and has comparable power compared to any of them. However, some people may not like the lack of low-end torque, with the C8 Z06 showing 'just' 480 lb-ft (624 Nm) at 6,300 rpm compared to DB12's spread across the 2,750 to 6,000 rpm.

Secondly, there is also the mighty British option we mentioned – McLaren's equally fresh 750S. Sure, this one is more of a proper supercar as it is also a mid-engine RWD affair, just like the Corvette Z06. But it also shows how easily some expert powertrain magic can oblige a 4.0-liter M840T twin-turbocharged V8 to churn out 750 ps (740 hp) instead of 720 ps (710 hp). With a carbon fiber monocoque and butterfly doors, plus a seven-speed Graziano dual-clutch, this is obviously the more exotic and utterly expensive alternative to the DB12 or Roma grand tourers. Alas, it's one of those models that, once seen, the heart can never unsee anymore!

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About the author: Aurel Niculescu
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Aurel has aimed high all his life (literally, at 16 he was flying gliders all by himself) so in 2006 he switched careers and got hired as a writer at his favorite magazine. Since then, his work has been published both by print and online outlets, most recently right here, on autoevolution.
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