Aston Martin DB7 Vantage vs. Porsche 911 Turbo, Ferrari 360 Modena F1 Comparison Tests – Page 2 – Car and Driver

6 Oct 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Aston Martin DB7 Vantage vs. Porsche 911 Turbo, Ferrari 360 Modena F1 Comparison Tests – Page 2 – Car and Driver
Aston Martin DB7

Aston Martin DB7


Third Place: 1224 Horses, No Cup Holders

September 2000


Enzo Ferrari and Ferdinand Porsche were still low on their torque curves when the name Aston Martin first appeared on a car. That was in 1913, in England. Those ancient roots, of course, in no way ensured that the DB7 would be the traditionalist of this group, but there’s a certain poetry here nonetheless, because this long and curvaceous coupe is a beauty in the way sporting cars tried to be in those olden days before wind tunnels. Back then, the reach for speed meant streamlining.

Mostly it was done by eye, on paper, with a pen. If it looked fast, the thinking went, then the air would let it be fast.

Well, if it looked fast, it probably looked good, never mind what the air thought.

This DB7 looks faster than a lascivious gambit, and it looks wonderful. Moreover, it’s as fast as it looks. Top speed, average of a two-way run: 182 mph.

But the Porsche Turbo steamed past with a 10-mph advantage, a clear payoff for all its aerodramatically correct slots and slits.

The Aston is a traditionalist in another way, too. Its V-12 makes beautiful noises. Back in the decades before catalytic converters, we road testers doubled as music critics, reserving our most creative imagery for the paragraphs about exhaust note. Just one time through the gears had your author regretting all those superlatives sprayed away on lesser cars.

For the record, the Aston Martin Symphony for 12 cylinders and 2 exhausts is the sweetest sound on tuned pipes this side of J.S. Bach himself. The evenly spaced pulses blend into a purr at constant speeds; they turn round and hard as the throttle goes down, then soft and fluffy when you lift.

And they’re always loud, just rightif you had to go backfor a grand departure from the high-school parking lot.

As traditionalists would expect of a front-engined GT coupe, the cockpit is snug. The low roof pulls the lid down tight on tall guys. The tunnel, made wide to accommodate almost six liters and six speeds, squeezes footroom down to dark and narrow passages under the dash.

Still, the 60-degree V-12 is less intrusive than a 90-degree V-8 would be.

Aston Martin DB7

Aston Martin is a Ford brand now, and the engine architecture began with two Taurus four-cam V-6s placed end to end. The light-alloy block and heads are produced by Cosworth. Output is 414 horsepower at 6000 rpm.

Redline is 7000. The torque curve is smooth and progressive, not punchy.

The Vantage makes numbers that would be heroic in any other context. Here it’s merely a very quick machine. Zero to 60 mph happens in 5.1 seconds on the way to a 13.6-second quarter-mile at 106 mph.

Skidpad grip is a creditable 0.85 g. Stopping from 70 mph takes 178 feet.

Out in the twisties, the DB7 behaves itself, except for overly eager brakes. There’s no such thing as a brush of the pedal; you always get a brake application, whether you want it or not. The steering lacks sharpness, yet the long nose swings smartly into the turn as you trail the throttle to load the front tires.

Stability is excellent when you pick up the power. At 4054 pounds, this beauty is immensely drivable, but never flingable.

Despite its solid performance, this sporting coupe makes us feel rich rather than aroused. Its long, flowing lines clad in metallic sweet-pickle green remind of enduring values. Inside, carbon-fiber trim makes a high-tech statement against the soft black-leather upholstery, but the darkgreen carpeting reasserts a loyalty to the finer things.

The winged Aston Martin emblem appears occasionally, in white outline on the black-faced tach and speedo and in full chrome splendor in the center of the dash; after all these years, so comforting to see it again. Built into the underside of the trunklid is an umbrella hanger, and a small compartment belowat first glance, could it be a floor safe?has just enough room for the owner’s manual.

If Sean Connery were still 007, this is the car he’d drive.

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