“The DB11 is the most important car in Aston Martin’s history” says Aston CEO Andy Palmer. That, is a statement of great importance. This Aston Martin DB11 begins what Aston call their ‘’Second Century Plan’’ and it replaces the DB9 which has been with us for around a decade.
Aston Martin has created a new unit for the DB11 and no doubt other Aston’s to come. It is a new, 5.2 lire V12 unit with 48 valves and an alloy construction. Aston says goodbye to natural aspiration through the application of two turbochargers to this new V12. It puts out 600bhp and 515lb/ft. A lot. Other than the One-77, this is Aston’s most powerful car ever. 0-60mph is over in 3.7 seconds and the top speed of the DB11 is 200mph. Not slow, then. The DB11 will end up having a Mercedes 4.0 V8 option in its life cycle, but not yet.
The DB11 is out of this world, for me. I think that the design is appropriate to the decade rather than being something that was, now, almost a decade old. The car is like a ballet dancer, presenting itself gently and without screaming out for attention. Instead, it’s just there and puts on a fantastic performance for the eyes of pedestrians or other drivers. It’s unreal. Due to the different dimensional changes from the predecessor of the DB11 that is the DB9, the design has revolutionised. The wheelbase of the DB11 has increased by 65mm. The car is 28mm wider than the DB9 so not a worrying increase for those buyers who may fear narrow road traffic. These little dimension changes have allowed for Marek Reichman to go absolutely over the moon with the design process. He’s done a fine job of exterior design.
Aston Martin always had decent interiors. The old DB9 had something similar to the current Mercedes C-Class, a sort of sloping console. It was a very fine piece of interior design but then the buttons and switches mounted upon this console weren’t all that beautifully played around with. The new DB11 sources some equipment from Mercedes, Aston’s new partner. This includes the infotainment, switchgear and other controls within the cabin. If you’ve recently sat in a Mercedes, you’ll recognise that this partnership is no bad thing because Merc produce very high quality stuff. The shame comes to other materials found in the cabin, though, because not everything is so fantastic. Some plastics are very unattractive and simply not nice while other bits and bops like the seat controls or the vast array of buttons that just don’t seem to be all that intuitive and ‘nice’. Generally though, decent work.
The DB11 is a bit of a mixed character. Firstly, it scores 10/10 for driving fun. The V12 makes fine noises, the car pushes you thanks to RWD and all in all, the experience is very sporty. There’s little to no body roll and the steering is very well adapted. It’s sharp and precise. The car can feel twitchy and slightly daunting to drive hard in worse conditions but you wouldn’t want to push a 600bhp RWD car in heavy rain anyway. The other side to the DB11 is its comfort. Even on low profile tires, things are managed well throughout because the seats themselves are exquisite and noise insulation is very well dealt with (Apart from some wind noise at higher speeds). After all, this is a GT car which means it needs to be a relaxing cruiser a great deal of the time. It only becomes a fine beast when you want it to and that’s what’s great about this class of car.
You’ll need to know something. This car is not practical. Advertised as a 2+2? Yes. Is it a 2+2? Not really. The rear seats do have ISOFIX points so are definitely somehow acceptable for children. Very small children, though. Even a junior of age 5-8 would struggle in the rear seats. Not fantastic. At least front space is sound and applicable to tall drivers. The boot is enough for a few cases but nothing of large volume. The boot only has 270 litres...
I think that this new DB11 is a great car. It’s a great companion that won’t lose its value as quickly as some rivals and offers mixed personalities. You can drive this car comfortably and cruise to beautiful music on the Italian Riviera or thrash it around amazing roads like the Transfagarasan Highway if you so choose. The choice is yours and because of this fantastic driveability, practicality and minor quality issues can be ignored because you pay for a fantastic power train that is protected by an absolutely gorgeous body. A fine investment, Mr Palmer. Good job Aston Martin.