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ONE STEP BEYOND

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sun, May 4, 2003

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

MAKING A GOOD CAR BETTER

By JOHN GRAFMAN

What do you do when you already make one of the finest grand touring cars on the market? You make it better! That’s exactly what Aston Martin has done with the DB7. Massaged and improved, the GT manages to wring out the last iota of performance available from the beauty.

DB7 GT

The regular run of the mill DB7 is no slouch with 420 horsepower, super sweet automatic transmission, and an over all package that is inline with the performance that the engine provides as mentioned in our prior article. What makes the DB7 GT special? Like the engine that has the power bumped up by fifteen ponies, the handling, traction, and braking have all been improved upon. Whether they are noticeable is another story as these improvements are at the upper stratosphere of performance and are not normally attained in street use.

So the question becomes why. The GT is set up as a GT ought to be with sport seats and a six speed. If you want a manly car, this is it. Even the pedals are so far from the closest point that the seat will track to all but eliminates shorter drivers (read female). Being that this is a Ford owned company, they can utilize the adjustable pedal technology they effectively use on other products. This isn’t a normal sort of option but when you’re a small boutique car company you can cater to the needs and whims of your buyers (think James Bond) unlike any other manufacture.

DB AR1

The other reason and most probably the more important is the DB7 GT is born from the owners desire to have the very best that can be had. Of the DB7 line, this is the pinnacle. In a twenty or so minute drive radiating from Gaudin Jaguar through the Las Vegas area, the people at Aston Martin made their point. They are very oriented in bringing out the best products possible. They can, very much like they’re products, turn on a dime. The DB AR1 is another such vehicle. They send up a trial balloon in the way of a show car. If they have enough buyers who are willing to ante up some green, they are happy to fulfill the buyers’ requests.

With some great products coming from the design studios of Ford owned companies, it is hard to imagine that some of the very same design studios had to make staff reductions. Does this signal the end of a golden age in design? Will we see Aston Martin and the like churn out such rapid development on new products as we have witnessed lately? Only time will tell, however if time has taught us anything at all, never count Aston Martin out of the game.

DB7 AR1 Specs

Engine: All alloy quad overhead cam 48 valve 5935cc V12. Compression ratio 10.3:1. Visteon EEC V engine management controlling fuel injection, ignition and diagnostics. Fully catalysed stainless steel by pass valve exhaust system.

Transmission: Six-speed manual with optional five speed automatic. Limited slip differential. Ratio 4.09:1

Steering: Rack and pinion, power assisted 2.54 turns lock to lock. Column tilt and reach adjustment.

Brakes: Front: Ventilated grooved steel discs 355mm diameter with alloy four piston calipers. Rear: Ventilated grooved steel discs 330mm diameter with alloy four piston calipers and drum handbrake. Teves anti-lock braking activation system (ABS).

Suspension: Front: Independent double wishbone incorporating anti-dive geometry. Coil springs, monotube dampers and anti-roll bar. Rear: Independent double wishbone incorporating longitudinal control arms, coil springs, monotube dampers and anti-roll bar.

Body: Two door, with 2+0 seating. Steel underframe and body panels. Aluminium front wings, sills, boot lid with integral spoiler and front and rear bumpers/aprons. Side impact protection in doors.

Interior: Bridge of Weir leather interior. Electrically controlled sports front seats incorporating optional seat heaters. Electronic traction control. Six speaker Becker stereo radio cassette system with 6 disc CD autochanger. Alarm and immobiliser system with remote central locking and trunk release.

Wheels and Tyres: Multispoke lightweight aluminium wheels 8J x 19 (front), 9_J x 19 (rear) Yokohama SO2 245/40 ZR19 tyres (front), 265/35 (rear)

Maximum power: 435 bhp (324kW) @ 6000 rpm (manual only) Maximum torque: 410 lb. ft Acceleration: 0 - 62 mph (100 km/h): under 5.0 seconds (manual only) Maximum speed: 185 mph (298 km/h) (manual only)

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