2003 Aston Martin DB7 GT
Like a DB7, only more so
By MARK VAUGHN
Granted, owners of Aston Martin DB7s are basically happy people. They’d have to be, really, who could be unhappy when you own a DB7? Sure, your portfolio might crash, your mistress (or boy toy) might leave you, your schnauzer might run off with a poodle. But at the end of that terrible day you’d still have an Aston Martin DB7.
Then these happy people would meet Aston Martin North America operations manager Simon Rodd. Now Rodd is not a bad chap, he’s been with Aston Martin 20 years and loves the cars as much as the happy owners do. They’d tell him as much... when he offered them a drive in the DB7 GT.
“Oh no,” Rodd quotes them saying. “Really, I love my car, I’m very happy with it, I don’t want to change a thing.” But then they’d go out on the drive.
“Every one who came back said the same thing, ‘You bastard! Now I have to buy one of these.’”
Seems once the DB7 owners got a chance behind the wheel of the DB7 GT, they were all hopelessly smitten.
Being safely out of the demographic for this beautiful sports tourer, we would suffer no such risk. Temptation, maybe, but luckily for the mortgage, no possible hope of being able to follow through. The DB7 owners were far more vulnerable. The DB7 GT is basically a DB7, but much more so.
The changes start on the outside, with unique hood vents, wire mesh grille and lower air intake, as well as aerodynamic improvements to the wheel wells, decklid and undertray that reduce lift by almost 50 percent. The wheels are unique five-spoke 18-inch alloys, which Aston found handled better than the 19-inchers. Tires are Bridgestones measuring 245/35 in front and 265/30 in the rear.
Underhood, the DB7’s 6.0-liter V12 gets a remapped ECU and an “active sports exhaust system” from the Vanquish to increase power from 420 to 435 hp. Torque goes up from 400 to 410 lb-ft. The single-plate clutch from the DB7 is swapped for an AP twin-plate clutch. The GT comes with a manual transmission, and that gets a quick-shift gear change that reduces lever travel by 16 percent.
“The manual owners are a different breed of owner,” Rodd said. “They see the many technical features that make the DB7 such a performer.” The final drive is shorter, going from 3.77 to 4.09 for better launches and drag strip runs.
The automatic version is called the DB7 GTA, which comes with the Touchtronic automatic.
Bigger, better brakes, stiffer springs, shocks and bushings, and a new steering rack location all add to a better road feel. And boy, did we feel it. We got a chance to pilot the DB7 GT through some nice, tight two-lane roads in the area around Cole European of Walnut Creek, California (“Your exclusive dealer for the entire East Bay”). Who knew there were such nice roads out here?
As usual with Astons, we drove shoeless, wanting to get the full effect of the pedal placement, which was close together for that heel-and-toe stuff. Of the three pedals, we vote the one on the right as most impressive. At full throttle, the V12 really came to life. Both overhead camshafts on each bank and all 48 valves wailed with glee, finally released from their urban restraints. Aston lists 0 to 60 mph in the GT at 4.6 seconds.
Even better was the car’s feel through the corners. It’s a large car, not like a smaller Ferrari or Porsche, and it is set up, even in this trim level, as a luxury car first, but it tracked delightfully through the fast, tight corners and held down perfectly through more wide-open sweepers, transitioning undisturbed between them all. It was so fun to pilot that we asked our man Rodd if Aston considered doing more promotional events at racetracks.
“No,” he said. “It’s still set up more for luxury, for a luxury-car feel.”
And at a luxury-car price. Going from DB7 to DB7 GT takes you from $146,850 to $161,350. That we regretted, a lot, though not enough to call Rodd a bastard.
2003 ASTON MARTIN DB7 GT
ON SALE: Now
BASE PRICE: $161,350
POWERTRAIN: 6.0-liter, 435-hp,410-lb-ft V12; rwd, six-speed manual
CURB WEIGHT: 3960 pounds
0-60 MPH: 4.6 seconds (mfr.)
My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.
My next Ford.....