GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

Aston Martin DB7 Vantage

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STATS
 
Year: 1997
Class: Grand Tourer
Type: 2-door convertible
 
Country: England
Host: GT1 & 2
 
 
Price: 185,500 (GT2)
 
Length: 185.9" // Width: 72.0" // Height: 49.8"
Wheelbase: 102"
Overhang: @7 feet
Track: 60.0" [F] 60.2" [R]
Ground Clearance: 5.5"
Weight: 4,078 lbs.
Layout: Front Engine / Rear Drive
Tires: 245/40ZR-18
Suspension: Double Wishbone / Coils / ARB
Brakes: Vented Discs + ABS + Vac. Asst.
 
Engine: 3.2 liter DOHC inline 6
Tested HP: 386 @ 7,000 rpm
Tstd Torque:
354 @ 3,000 rpm
 
 
Credits per hP: 506.83
Lbs. per HP: 10.56
Hp per Liter: 119.5
 
Aspiration: Supercharged
Fuel System: EFi
Valves per Cyl: 4
Bore x Stroke: 3.6 x 3.3"
Compression: 8.3:1
Redline: 6,500 // RPM Limit: 7,000
Transmission: 5-Speed Automatic
 
0-60 mph: 6.176 seconds
0-100mph: 14.245 seconds
 
400 M: 14.634 @ 101 mph
1 KM:
25.774 @ 135 mph
 
Test Track: 1:50.472
 
Top Speed @ redline
1st: 27 mph
2nd: 46 mph
3rd: 70 mph
4th: 99 mph
5th: 142.66 mph @ 7,000 rpms
 

 

 

--------------------EXTERIOR--------------------

Who hasn't seen the Aston Martin DB7? We've all raced against this well-crafted but clumsy car, which is featured in a slew of Gran Turismo races, and generally it's been in our rear-view mirrors alot more than in front of us.
 
I honestly can't remember if the DB7 was featured in GT1 events or not; it's been about a year since I've touched the first game, but the DB7 Coupe and Volante are all over the place in GT2. Off the top of my head: the Convertible Cup, European Regionals, Apricot Hill Enduro, Grand Valley Enduro, Grand Touring Series, Front / Rear Series, and I'm pretty sure the Turbo Cup as well, tho I might be wrong on that one. Anyways, that's quite some list, huh? And I'm probly even forgetting a few.
 
No matter where you'll race against the DB7, it'll be easy to spot since it's always... a loser. Yes, unfortunately in GT, it seems this one was BORN to lose! As a race car, Aston Martin got a big fat F on the GT report card.
 
Typically, we can find the DB7 hunkering around...riding into the grass at Deep Forest, or bashing a wall at Trail Mountain. Performing awesomely embarassing full spins into the sand trap at Grand Valley hairpin #1, or losing it alongside a Mercedes AMG at Apricot Hill's 2nd turn. Now how would you feel if you were the exec at Aston Martin who approved the licensing for Gran Turismo to use YOUR cars in their videogame? Not too peachy, I'd imagine. Or maybe they simply didn't care? Who knows. The bottom line is that this $185,000 lemon is featured in more races than the Viper, and it loses in all of them.
 
So the question: Is the DB7 really as bad as the Ai makes it look? Uh, to be blunt...yes. Yes, it is that bad! I purposely am doing this review on the DB7 Volante, which is heavier than the Coupe, and therefore displays more exaggerated behavior. The Coupe is slightly less clumsy to drive, but not by much.
 
The real life car is equipped with the best of the best. If you're a rich guy who wants to show off his wealth overtly, here you go. According to www.Fast-Autos.net, "...the interiors of both Coupe and Volante feature Connolly hide upholstery, deep pile carpet and burr walnut for the fascia panel and centre console unit. Individual components and assemblies are installed by hand, while a series of sophisticated quality control systems are used to complement the skills of the craftsmen who are responsible for the production of DB7. Both Volante and Coupe feature twin air bags, side-impact beams, full on-board diagnostic equipment and a comprehensive range of luxury and safety features, all offered as standard equipment."
 
...Well that beats my coffee-stained Corolla 5-door to the punch.
 
Of course, all of this equipment adds weight. The Volante is part of an exclusive club which I'll call the "4,000 pounders". In the Gran Turismo series, it doesn't have many members, but all of them need to take the first step...to weight watchers anonymous, i.e., let's go to the chop shop. It'll still be a walrus to drive (even with racing parts) but removing maximum weight helps. It is of some interest to note that in 1998, the 2,000th DB7 rolled off the assembly line, beating AM's previous record of 1,850 DB6's way back in the '60s. We can be sure that whoever bought those DB7s never got to see it struggling in all its glory as it bounced off-course down the Grand Valley hill...
 
 

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DB7 race kit (GT1)

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------------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN--------------------

What's really interesting about the DB7 is the way it's geared. This is basically a British muscle car. It's got the weight, the poor handling, and even gearing that is way too short! The only difference between the DB7 and old American muscle is one has a 4-speed and the other a 5, but it doesn't matter, they're both pretty much useless by the time 1000 meters are past.
 
All these criticisms aside, I really love the supercharged engine. The nice thing about superchargers are the way they work. In case you're totally oblivious, they are different from turbos. A turbocharger depends on a car's exhaust to get it going, whereas a supercharger is typically gear, belt, or chain-driven. This is why turbos don't kick in for several thousand rpms...they need the pressure of the exhaust to spin them (hence the term ‘turbo lag’); whereas the effect of a supercharger is usually more instantaneous. Of course, in GT2 they fucked this all up, and none of the cars in this game suffer from turbo-lag, so don't worry about it.
 
Anyways, the acceleration of the Volante is decent, but it could have been better. The way the gearbox is set makes for short throws that totally miss the car's awesome lower-mid torque. 2nd gear redlines at 46 mph, for instance, and it's while we're shifting gears that precious tenths of seconds are lost. It's too bad. Taller gearing would have actually HELPED this car's acceleration, and given it more top-end as well. It almost seems as if Aston Martin gave the DB7 tons of might, but wanted to make sure you (the customer) didn't get to use it; after all, would YOU want to be responsible for the insurance on a $185,000 car if you routinely drove it like a thunderbolt? I rest my case.
 
Oddly, the real-life DB7 is supposed to go even faster than the stock game car--according to this quote, again from Fast-Autos.net:
 
"The maximum speed of both the manual and automatic transmission models is in excess of 160 mph, and from rest to 60 mph is achieved in 5.7 seconds for the manual transmission model."
 
Ooookay. We'll just chalk this one down as yet another Gran Turismo anomaly.
 
If you're still interested in this lemon (ha ha) there are some options available here. Two stages of supercharged power in GT or GT2. Kind of disappointing, but it's okay. The DB7 can be a downright frightening car to drive even BEFORE we load it with super parts!
 

 

------------------CHASSIS / HANDLING----------------------

Do you like seafood? I hope so, 'cause we're about to eat plenty of fishtails! ha ha..
 
Oh yes, the DB7 just looooves instability. Like a bad marriage, it seems it's at its happiest when we're at our most miserable! ...slipping around, understeering one second, oversteering the next with full opposite-lock that DOESN'T look pretty in the replay. Yes, it seems this Aston Martin WANTS to screw up again and again. It apparently doesn't want to win! It simply can't keep up with its own weight and stature, so now we've got a 100% Grade A challenge on your hands: Make it behave. Tame it, make it win.
 
GT2
Super Soft Slicks. Remember those three words, my friend. If you're a regular reader of this ridiculous website, you'll know just how rarely it is that I recommend the use of these gluey tires; but trust me, in this car, we will NEED them. Maybe not at first, but once it's got Stage 2 power (539 hp at the most) they're a must. Not that they'll help much. The DB7 Volante or Coupe isn't really supposed to be a race car. Big surprise, huh? It's supposed to be a highly-refined touring saloon! Almost makes me wonder who contacted who first when Gran Turismo was in its concept stages... Polyphony Digital or Aston Martin? Who was it that actually said “How can we get these cars in this game?” and did they know beforehand how awful they'd be portrayed?
 
All I can say is I hope none of the executives over at Aston Martin / Lagonda never read this article, otherwise, there goes my high-profile British endorsement deal.
 


 

PROS

1). Obviously good muscle from a supercharged 6-cylinder. A couple major upgrades can be bought in GT2.
 
2). With a choice of hardtop or convertible, there's a DB7 for every mood.
 
3). Lots of color choices. A much-needed racing body is available, also, in GT1 or GT2.
 

CONS

1). Extremely expensive! This wouldn't be a problem if the DB7 was a better performer.
 
2). Really sucky handling. Yes, it is possible to win in this car with an inadequate suspension set-up. But even with super-soft tires, this Aston acts like it would rather be back in the garage.
 
3). Too heavy, even after Stage 3 weight reduction. Again, it IS possible to win quite a few races, but it'll take lots of additional steering work to get this moose to do what you want it to do.
 
4). Good power, but matched with a poorly set transmission that is too short. Racing tranny is a good idea.
 
5). Poor brake response. The controller is a good idea, too...preferably dialed with front-heavy settings for those who want to avoid sliding.
 
6). How does it feel to be part of a heritage of losers? Lots of Gran Turismo drivers probly look at the DB7, look at its price tag, watch its mediocre performance as they race against it, and decide never to buy it. Having this car in Gran Turismo would really hurt Aston Martin's real life sales if the people who bought GT could afford to buy an Aston Martin!

Published: June 18, 2005

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