Evolution doesn’t always mean improvement. A cursory glance at the latest BMW 7 Series proves that. (Warning: you can’t unsee it.)

Having grown up in the DB9 era, I always wondered how Aston Martin could improve upon it – at least, in the looks department.

In isolation, its successor, the DB11, was an attractive car. But in the context of the wider Aston canon, somehow it just fell short of the mark. It was also fairly hairy in the wrong weather – or the wrong hands (guilty, my lord).

No such concerns with the new DB12. Aston Martin’s latest GT is all kinds of good.

I hate to suggest it has anything to do with a certain North American billionaire, but something tells me Lawrence Stroll’s input has helped here: not just from the trickle-down tech improvements courtesy of the AM Formula 1 team, but also from a generally more gung-ho mentality: go bigger, bolder, better.

The DB12 is all of these things.

Aston Martin DB12

Forgive me for being superficial, but let’s start with the looks. It is undeniably and objectively stunning – like, Zoolander-levels of really, really good looking. Out of a poll of literally everyone who has seen it, 100% of viewers agree.

It’s more aggressive and assertive than its predecessor, yet less brutish than the DBS.

Every element from the gaping grille to the contoured air vents elevate the DB12’s appeal. Especially if you compare it to its rivals in the GT space.

The exteriors of the Ferrari Roma, Porsche 911 Turbo or Bentley Continental GT simply don’t compare; it’s Astons and oranges.

Which is probably why the Gaydon team has declared a new category for the DB12: the Super Tourer.

Aston Martin DB12

Let’s start with the ‘Super’ part. The DB12’s engine is prodigious. It’s packing a Mercedes-sourced twin turbo-charged V8. So far, so DB11? Hold on.

Aston’s engineers have used some kind of mechanical alchemy to elevate this powerplant from the DB11 V8’s perfectly respectable 503bhp to a whopping 671bhp.

The torque has followed suit, bumped up from 675 Nm to 800 Nm. The top speed goes from 191mph firmly into the supercar-certified 202mph. And the zero-60mph has been brought down from around the four-second mark to 3.5 seconds.

And boy, can you feel the difference. The DB12 is properly rapid, especially in the overtaking sweet spot where you need instant power on tap.

Of course, there will be those cognoscenti who shall mourn the loss of the V12 option. But this new V8 configuration beats the DB11’s V12 hands-down – so it’s time to move on with our lives. Instead, expect a plug-in hybrid version in a couple of years.

Aston Martin DB12

What impressed me the most about the powertrain is the gearbox, which seems to have some kind of precognitive power, changing down just at the right moment. You can, of course, put it in manual, and use the reassuringly solid, blade-like paddles, but the auto ’box is mightily accomplished if you’re feeling lazy.

The DB12’s bonded aluminium monocoque has been down the gym, too – it’s seven per cent stiffer – and delivers considerably more poise. The dampers have been toned; there’s a torque-vectoring electronic rear differential; and a firmer set of springs all helping the car to be far more predictable when pushed. I may be no Fernando Alonso, but the DB11 always seemed to ask rather a lot. The DB12, although still exciting, feels much more composed.

There’s no fear with the DB12: it feels well-trained, obedient; you’re never worried that it’s suddenly going to chase after a squirrel. (That said, get too generous with your right foot, and it will start to smell the sausages.)

Aston Martin DB12 interior

If you’re on a long drive, it is supremely comfortable. The ‘Tourer’ part is present and correct. Flick it into GT mode, sit back and enjoy the chill. Just because the seats are sporty, doesn’t mean they can’t cope with piling on the miles. And the rear buckets are OK for, say, a six year old as long as they’re not sat behind a 6ft1in driver.

The interior is vastly improved from its predecessor. I actively disliked the DB11’s layout with its awkwardly angled air vents and vertical display jutting up from the central console, a liquid-crystal afterthought. There were too many repurposed Mercedes bits for a car that prides itself on being Made in England.

Everything now feels both integrated and bespoke. Even the touchscreen is all Aston Martin (which admittedly comes with a few quirks, but isn’t bad for a first attempt).

There are some neat, unique details, too, such as the rotating collar around the start/stop button, which allows you to switch between driver modes. And my personal favourite: the knurled-metal barrels for heater temperature and audio volume control, that have more than a little steampunk about them.

Opt for the tan leather, and you won’t regret it – especially if you pair with the Iridescent Green paint job [as pictured]. There's a whole Instagram account dedicated to this combo: @GreenOverTan has more than 90,000 followers for good reason – it’s extremely aesthetically pleasing.

Something which can be said a lot about the Aston Martin DB12. Super tourer, super model, super star.

From £185,000; see more at astonmartin.com