Road Trip Like James Bond in Aston Martin’s DB12
Kanebridge News
    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,655,505 (-0.06%)       Melbourne $994,898 (+0.02%)       Brisbane $991,841 (+1.33%)       Adelaide $889,373 (+1.26%)       Perth $861,566 (+0.49%)       Hobart $729,893 (-1.65%)       Darwin $669,344 (+0.35%)       Canberra $999,769 (+1.27%)       National $1,055,910 (+0.34%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $749,436 (-0.10%)       Melbourne $494,327 (+0.46%)       Brisbane $554,094 (+2.77%)       Adelaide $439,361 (-1.14%)       Perth $456,655 (-0.27%)       Hobart $524,871 (-0.43%)       Darwin $349,455 (+1.52%)       Canberra $494,554 (-1.96%)       National $530,871 (+0.07%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,048 (-72)       Melbourne 14,823 (-272)       Brisbane 7,999 (+9)       Adelaide 2,372 (-66)       Perth 6,238 (-89)       Hobart 1,265 (-29)       Darwin 232 (-6)       Canberra 1,020 (0)       National 43,997 (-525)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,719 (-61)       Melbourne 8,033 (-189)       Brisbane 1,615 (-4)       Adelaide 391 (-5)       Perth 1,570 (-29)       Hobart 203 (-10)       Darwin 394 (-6)       Canberra 1,010 (+7)       National 21,935 (-297)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $820 ($0)       Melbourne $600 (-$10)       Brisbane $640 ($0)       Adelaide $610 ($0)       Perth $670 ($0)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $700 ($0)       Canberra $680 ($0)       National $668 (-$1)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $750 (-$25)       Melbourne $550 ($0)       Brisbane $630 ($0)       Adelaide $500 ($0)       Perth $640 (+$13)       Hobart $450 ($0)       Darwin $513 (+$13)       Canberra $570 ($0)       National $589 (-$2)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,497 (+71)       Melbourne 5,818 (+35)       Brisbane 4,141 (+99)       Adelaide 1,399 (0)       Perth 2,377 (+32)       Hobart 400 (+17)       Darwin 111 (+17)       Canberra 604 (+9)       National 20,347 (+280)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 9,083 (+248)       Melbourne 4,637 (+100)       Brisbane 2,182 (-27)       Adelaide 393 (+2)       Perth 731 (-10)       Hobart 130 (-7)       Darwin 144 (-8)       Canberra 684 (+72)       National 17,984 (+370)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 2.58% (↑)        Melbourne 3.14% (↓)       Brisbane 3.36% (↓)       Adelaide 3.57% (↓)       Perth 4.04% (↓)     Hobart 3.92% (↑)        Darwin 5.44% (↓)       Canberra 3.54% (↓)       National 3.29% (↓)            UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 5.20% (↓)       Melbourne 5.79% (↓)       Brisbane 5.91% (↓)     Adelaide 5.92% (↑)      Perth 7.29% (↑)      Hobart 4.46% (↑)      Darwin 7.63% (↑)      Canberra 5.99% (↑)        National 5.77% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.8% (↑)      Melbourne 0.7% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 0.9% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.0% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.1% (↑)      Brisbane 1.0% (↑)      Adelaide 0.5% (↑)      Perth 0.5% (↑)      Hobart 1.4% (↑)      Darwin 1.7% (↑)      Canberra 1.4% (↑)      National 1.1% (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND       Sydney 30.3 (↑)      Melbourne 31.5 (↑)      Brisbane 31.7 (↑)        Adelaide 25.7 (↓)     Perth 35.4 (↑)      Hobart 33.7 (↑)        Darwin 36.2 (↓)     Canberra 32.0 (↑)        National 32.1 (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND       Sydney 31.3 (↑)      Melbourne 31.9 (↑)      Brisbane 32.1 (↑)        Adelaide 24.8 (↓)       Perth 38.7 (↓)     Hobart 37.6 (↑)        Darwin 46.5 (↓)     Canberra 39.2 (↑)        National 35.3 (↓)           
Share Button

Road Trip Like James Bond in Aston Martin’s DB12

By John Scott Lewinski
Fri, Jul 21, 2023 8:29amGrey Clock 4 min

Aston Martin has been celebrating its 110th anniversary throughout this year. With more than a century under its very expensive belt, you’d think the automaker would’ve already served all of the luxury model types. Still, the experts out of Gaydon, England, managed to coin a first for the company this summer.

The DB12, which has a base price of US248,000, will arrive on the scene christened as not only Aston Martin’s but the world’s first “super tourer,” what the company defines as an elite, immaculately styled powerhouse built for long leisurely drives. While the DB line is recognised for its sophisticated, mature lines, the Super Tourer label stamped on the DB12 puts the focus on the interior cockpit surrounding its front seats with all of the essential luxury appointments.

While there is a back seat in a modern DB model, it’s there more or less for appearances and to make insurers happier. You might be able to fit a ventriloquist’s doll back there, but that’s about it. Practically speaking, this is an ultra-luxury two-seater. Inside the cabin wrapping around the snug, contoured leather seats, the owner finds the interior focused on the driving experience.

The infotainment screen is lowered and out of the driver’s direct eye line. The HUD is clean and centred for the operator’s frequent checks. The adjustable steering wheel offers oversize paddle shifters for confident flicks, and the gauge cluster is tightly arranged as it would be for a track car. Meanwhile, a new Bowers & Wilkins 15-speaker stereo system combined with impressive soundproofing keeps your music inside and the clumsy noises of a rude outside world at bay.

The adjustable steering wheel offers oversize paddle shifters for confident flicks. Aston Martin

The car’s DB9 or DB11 predecessors were just as pretty and equally capable, but neither earned that super tourer title. According to Simon Newton, Aston Martin’s director of vehicle performance, buyers drove that evolution toward this new identity.

“The market and brand expectation are for elevated performance in addition to refinement,” Newton says. “There’s keen interest in more extreme duality of purpose, such as increasing the breadth of capability whilst preserving the grand-touring character.”

The DB12 must offer supercar performance with its indulgent comfort. Newton insists his team met those expectations by focusing on refinement when the car is on the move to overcome the pavements imperfections—while keeping the feel of driving intact.

“The car needed to exude more dynamic capabilities,” he explains. “Our philosophy was to have a structurally stiffer chassis, which would help with comfort and dynamics, then tune the suspension for additional comfort with systems capable of controlling the body in sportier driving. Every control should be predictable and easy to use. Linearity of response, including steering, braking, and throttle, was key to making a refined car easy to drive fast.”

The DB12 can’t help but drive fast with an all-new, 671-horsepower V8 engine. The car builder informs the world it’ll do 0-60 mph in a tick north of 3 seconds and top out around 202 mph. While the car keeps its voice down while idling or cruising, it lets loose a roar when the driver puts a toe down to pass mere mortals along the roadways.

Those performance numbers should put gearheads at ease if they worried about Aston Martin thrills fading away with the company phasing out its largest engines in favour of more efficient V8 units. The V12 is headed into the sunset, but Aston Martin’s in-house tuned eight cylinders achieve power and acceleration in line with previous, heavier engines.

“The high-performance V8 engines are engineered to give the best balance of response, power, torque, and efficiency for any given Aston Martin platform,” Newton explains. “A V8 engine is more efficient and allows for flexibility to match powertrain characteristics to the product.”

The DB12’s engineers employ up-to-date turbocharger technology to achieve V12 power with less weight and more immediate response.

“With our expertise surrounding V8 engines, we are able to engineer the very best combinations of turbochargers, inlets, compression ratios, and camshafts, along with in-house engine calibration, for each and every application,” Newton adds.

With the power more than ample and readily on demand, Newton’s department needed to restrain it when the vehicle was in comfort travel mode over hill and dale.

“Some technologies were a prerequisite for performance, such as the tires and an advanced ESP [Environmental Response System],” he says. “We also invested in technologies which helped define the dual character of the DB12. For example, the dampers and suspension have a greater range of performance, allowing for comfort but also immediate control of reactive, powerful damping when needed for dynamic driving.”

A well-chosen test run through the hills above Monaco put the DB12’s dynamic capabilities to the test around hairpins and past lesser cars stubbornly unwilling to clear the way. Even the occasional glut of well-heeled traffic served a purpose—confirming the cabin seating ergonomics would cozily stand up to long-haul transport.

Any weaknesses remain mere quibbles. The centre console infotainment screen is small for cars at this technological level. However, the engineers at Aston Martin want very little to distract from the driving experience. The satellite navigation is touchy, but the DB12 has the ability to update its onboard software automatically, and Aston Martin should have those wrinkles well ironed out by the time the car heads out to its first buyers.

The designers here kept many of DB11’s lines and flair intact, while lowering the car’s profile and smoothing out the bonnet and haunches. Aston Martin

Finally, Penta’s test vehicle lacked a massage seat option. Admittedly, that would add weight to the machine, but it’s a feature that’s fair to expect in a grand touring, US$200,000-plus ride.

None of those minor complaints detract from the car’s beauty. The designers here kept many of DB11’s lines and flair intact, while lowering the car’s profile and smoothing out the bonnet and haunches. The final effect is unmistakable and eye-capturing.

Like its supercar and hyper-luxury competitors, Aston Martin will lean into hybrids and complete electrification in the near future. Though the automaker recently put its legendary V12 engines to rest, it must please driving enthusiasts everywhere to know that the V8 lives on in the DB12.



MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

Related Stories
Money
The Loneliness of the American Worker
By TE-PING CHEN 29/05/2024
Lifestyle
Should AI Have Access to Your Medical Records? What if It Can Save Many Lives?
By DEMETRIA GALLEGOS 28/05/2024
Lifestyle
How an Ex-Teacher Turned a Tiny Pension Into a Giant-Killer
By MATT WIRZ 27/05/2024
The Loneliness of the American Worker

More meetings and faceless chats. Fewer work friends. How the modern workday is fueling an epidemic of isolation.

By TE-PING CHEN
Wed, May 29, 2024 6 min

More Americans are profoundly lonely, and the way they work—more digitally linked but less personally connected—is deepening that sense of isolation.

Nick Skarda , 29 years old, works two jobs in logistics and office administration in San Diego to keep up with his bills. After a couple of years at the logistics job, he has one friend there. He says hi to co-workers at his office job but doesn’t really know any.

“I feel sort of an emptiness or lack of belonging,” he says. Juggling two jobs leaves Skarda exhausted, with little energy or time to grab drinks with co-workers . “It makes it harder to go in and give it your all if you don’t feel like anyone is there rooting for you,” he adds.

Employers and researchers are just beginning to understand how workplace shifts over the past four years are contributing to what the U.S. surgeon general declared a loneliness health epidemic last year. The alienation affects remote and in-person workers alike. Among 1-800-Flowers.com ’s 5,000 hybrid and fully on-site employees, for instance, the most popular community chat group offered by a company mental-health provider is simply called “Loneliness.”

Consider these phenomena of modern work:

It is a marked shift from even a decade ago, when bonds fostered at work helped compensate for declining participation in church , community groups and other social institutions. As the American workday becomes more faceless and scheduled , the number of U.S. adults who call themselves lonely has climbed to 58% from 46% in 2018, according to a recent Cigna poll of 10,000 Americans.

The faceless workday

The disconnection is driving up staff turnover and worker absences, making it a business issue for more employers, executives and researchers say. Cigna, the health-insurance company, estimates that loneliness is costing companies $154 billion a year in absenteeism alone.

“Work is social, it’s a lot more than a paycheck,” says James McCann , founder and chairman of 1-800-Flowers.com.

Earlier this year, 1-800-Flowers.com moved from three days in the office to four to boost a sense of connectivity among workers. It has also begun tapping workers across teams to serve as designated hosts during lunchtime, encouraging people to sit with colleagues they don’t know in common areas and chat, and suggesting conversation topics.

While today’s workers have more ways to connect than ever, “there are only so many memes and jokes you can send over Slack,” says Maëlle Gavet , chief executive of Techstars, a pre-seed fund that has invested in 4,100 startups. “We tend to have more and more people with back-to-back calendars, more meetings and less connections.”

Gavet says that is especially the case for hybrid workers on in-office days, which they tend to use to dash from one meeting to the next.

Paradoxically, meetings can make people feel lonelier—and even more so if the meetings are virtual, behavioural researchers say. A 2023 survey by employee experience and analytics company Perceptyx found people who described themselves as “very lonely” tended to have heavier meeting loads than less-lonely staffers. More than 40% of those people spent more than half their work hours in meetings.

In Cincinnati, Kelly Roehm says she came to chafe at the meetings—sometimes as many as 12—consuming her day after joining a consulting company in 2021. She would often feel her eyes glazing over as she multitasked on other screens.

“It’s like you’re a zombie, there but not there,” says Roehm, who lived 10 minutes from the office but worked mostly remotely because she says few colleagues typically came in. It is a more common setup as companies distribute teams across more locations: At Microsoft , 27% of the company’s teams all worked in the same location last year, compared with 61% in 2019.

She compares that experience with her time more than a decade ago at a company now owned by AstraZeneca . There, she enjoyed lots of social outlets at work: a Weight Watchers group and a lunchtime crochet club.

“Now if I were to think about asking, ‘Hey, do you want to participate in something like this,’ it would just sound weird,” says Roehm, who left this year to focus on her own career-consulting business. “There wasn’t that emotional attachment that made it difficult to say, it’s time to move on.”

The power of small talk

Office chitchat, sometimes an unwanted distraction, seems to provide more benefits than many people realise, says Jessica Methot , an associate professor at Rutgers University who studies social ties at work.

In a study of 100 employees at different workplaces, Methot and fellow researchers surveyed participants at points throughout the day. They found those who had engaged in small talk reported less stress and more positivity toward co-workers.

Even exchanging pleasantries with a co-worker you barely know can help, says Sarah Wright , an associate professor at New Zealand’s University of Canterbury who studies worker loneliness.

“We used to think loneliness has to be overcome by developing meaningful relationships and having that degree of intimacy,” Wright says. “More and more, though, we’re seeing it’s these day-to-day weak ties and frequency of [interactions] with people that matters.”

Such interactions are substantially harder to replicate in a virtual environment. “The default now is, I have to schedule time with you, even if it’s five minutes, instead of just picking up the phone,” says Katie Tyson , president of Hive Brands, an online food retailer founded in 2020 as a fully remote company.

The frictions add up, she says. Last fall, the company added an office in New York where employees voluntarily gather a couple of times a week to foster more cohesion.

Coming to the office, even on a hybrid basis, tends to yield a roughly 20% to 30% boost in serendipitous connections, according to Syndezo, which analysed survey data and email and messaging traffic from more than two dozen large companies.

Yet there are diminishing returns to time in person, says Philip Arkcoll , founder of Worklytics, which analyses workforce data for Fortune 500 companies. Coming in once a month provides a significant boost in ties; two or three times a month adds a little more, Worklytics data show. Once or twice a week results in a smaller increase, though, and working in-person four or five days a week makes almost no difference.

A business priority

Ernst & Young has asked managers to use the first five minutes of team calls to engage in conversation “as real human beings,” says Frank Giampietro , whose title, chief well-being officer for the Americas, was created in 2021 to help support employees during the pandemic.

The professional-services firm is also training employees to spot and reach out to co-workers struggling with issues such as isolation. To date, more than 1,600 employees have taken the training.

One challenge is that American workers have sacrificed connection for productivity, says Julie Rice , co-founder of fitness chain SoulCycle. These days, with more business contacts preferring video calls, she finds breakfast meetings and coffee dates on her calendar have been replaced with Zoom. Though efficient, such video calls are less likely to yield conversations that can turn into useful professional connections or lasting friendships, she says.

Julie Rice says that her work schedule, once packed with coffees and in-person meetups, is now an avalanche of Zooms. PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER GREGORY-RIVERA FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

“Even people I’m meeting with here in New York, we’ll just Zoom,” she says.

Last year, Rice co-founded Peoplehood, a company that runs “gathers” to improve connectivity and relationship skills, and employers are signing up. One, a beauty-services business with hundreds of field employees who never see each other, asked Peoplehood to host a series of gatherings for workers to meet and share job advice. Another, a marketing company with far-flung employees, requested help after surveys showed staff wanted to feel more connected.

“Whatever relationships we had pre-Covid have sort of run out of gas,” Rice says.

Good luck prodding employees to socialise, though. Nearly all the 150-odd staff at the Pleasanton, Calif., headquarters of Shaklee, the nutrition-supplements company, used to attend annual Earth Day gatherings, which involved community service, lunch and breaking early for the day, says Jonathan Ramot , the company’s North American human-resources director. Office happy hours, bowling outings and “mix and mingles” were also robustly attended.

Now that the workforce has gone remote, last year’s Earth Day event attracted 20 staffers, even though most workers live nearby.

“We have a lot of people asking for in-person events, but when we plan them, they don’t show up,” Ramot says. “Then they complain they’re lonely.”

This past April, Shaklee instead held a mandatory get-together with the chief executive, who had relocated to Florida during the pandemic and was in town. About 100 employees gathered at a brewery for food, drinks and conversation—and no speeches from the bosses.

There was a buzz in the air, Ramot says, as staff hugged and delighted in seeing each other, some for the first time. “People were saying, I miss this,” he says.

MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

Related Stories
Money
The Loneliness of the American Worker
By TE-PING CHEN 29/05/2024
Money
Boost for World Economy as U.S., Eurozone Accelerate in Tandem
By JOSHUA KIRBY 25/05/2024
Lifestyle
How an Ex-Teacher Turned a Tiny Pension Into a Giant-Killer
By MATT WIRZ 27/05/2024
0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop