OK, the overall proportions are familiar and it's still recognisably a traditional front-engined Aston Martin GT. But after that initial familiarity subsides and you start to take in the details you realise how big a step this is for the brand.
Those contrast roof rails will probably be the first thing you pick up on, the polished aluminium an applique trim piece offering all manner of customisation options and configurability for customers. High margin additional spend luxury brands depend on these days and a neat visual signature to draw a line between this and the cars that have gone before. There's some really clever stuff going on in the bodywork too, the enormous, front-hinged clamshell bonnet showing the influence of the Vulcan in the way it uses exaggerated side vents to extract air from the wheelarches via so-called 'Curlicue' vents. Detail extends to a rippled surface on the underside of the aluminium trim strakes to help speed this process up. At the back channels in the C-pillars draw air through the rear decklid and out through a special vent, creating a virtual wing Aston has trademarked as 'Aeroblade'. This can be further enhanced by a deployable Gurney flap that appears at speed.
The basic mechanical layout of a V12 driving a transaxle-mounted version of ZF's familiar eight-speed automatic gearbox is similarly familiar. But the engine itself is all new and, against expectation, claimed as all Aston's own work. 5.2 litres, two turbos, 608hp and 516lb ft from the outset and a 200mph top speed are all impressive opening gambits. 0-62 is just 3.9 seconds but the real gains over the normally aspirated V12 in current Astons will be in the low- and mid-range torque. Whether this can be achieved without diluting the character is a nettle all sports car brands are having to grasp; we've heard it on tickover and from a sound point of view it's promising.
In the current style there are three driver modes to play with too, ranging from GT to Sport and Sport Plus. Adaptive dampers are familiar tech but there's more too, torque vectoring by braking working with a more traditional mechanical limited-slip differential to help make best use of that new turbocharged grunt. It's not a light car mind, the dry weight quoted as 1,770kg meaning you could be knocking on two tonnes fuelled up and ready to go. Leaner than possible rivals like the Mercedes-AMG S63 and S65 coupe and comfortably less than a Bentley Continental GT V8 S but still on the hefty side.
Pricing has been confirmed as starting from £154,900 for UK buyers with deliveries starting in the autumn. We await the first drive with interest...
[Show photos: Max Earey]