The Car Connection Aston Martin DB7 Overview
Developed in large part with Jaguar resources, which was also under Ford ownership at the time, the DB7 was, at its core, a re-engineered, updated XJS with an entirely new body--or looked at differently, it was an Aston-bodied version of the shelved E-Type successor. Despite its rather makeshift background, the Aston Martin DB7 proved to be an impressive grand tourer.
Styled by Ian Callum, the DB7 remains a touchstone for Aston Martin's brand philosophy when it comes to exterior design, while drawing out the cues from Aston's history that connect it with its predecessors. With an engine by Tom Walkinshaw Racing, the all-aluminum DB7's performance matched its presence.
The first model, introduced in 1994, was powered by a supercharged in-line six-cylinder displacing 3.2 liters and rated at 335 horsepower. The potent force-fed six could propel the DB7 to 155 mph. Launched initially as a coupe, the DB7 Volante convertible followed in 1996, and it too used the in-line six. Both were available with either a five-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission.
In 1999, a new engine joined the lineup in the DB7 V12 Vantage. The new 48-valve, 6.0-liter V-12 was rated at 420 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, and for all intents and purposes, it replaced the six-cylinder version by mid-1999. The V-12 could be ordered with either a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic.
As the V12's shine wore off, Aston Martin followed with another iteration of the DB7, the V12 GT. Still equiped with the same V-12 engine, but upgraded to 435 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque, the GT was only available with a manual transmission. In addition to the power upgrades, the DB7 V12 GT received a significantly upgraded suspension setup, carbon fiber accesories, and other performance-inspired visual tweaks. Not to leave the two-pedal crowd out, the DB7 V12 GTA used an automatic transmission, and had the same chassis and appearance features as the manual version, but lacked the upgraded power.
Several special-edition, limited-quantity models were made of both the six-cylinder and V-12 versions of the DB7, including the Alfred Dunhill Edition, Neiman-Marcus Edition, Stratstone Edition, Beverly Hills Edition, Jubilee Limited Edition, Keswick Limited Edition, and the 2003-only Anniversary Edition.
Of particular note in the special-edition DB7 field is the DB7 Vantage Zagato, built near the end of the car's model run in a limited run of 99 cars. First shown at the Paris Motor Show in 2002, the total volume sold in short order. Designed by Zagato via Henrik Fisker, the DB7 Vantage Zagato wore unique sheetmetal, rode on a shortened chassis, and packed the V-12 engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission.
By 2004, the DB7 had run its course at Aston Martin, and was succeeded by the DB9.