2017 Aston Martin DB11 — Road Test

Posted on Jul 16, 2017 by
Aston Martin DB11
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Review Summary:

Silky V12 engine and such road composure make the new DB11 the quintessential Grand Touring car, so don’t approach with too many sporting pretensions.

Pros

* The cabin sees the biggest refinements made in design and quality - this is the first Aston that is on par with the Germans
* Turbochargers don’t ruin the car, they just improve its touring ability

Cons

* The upcoming DB11 V8 might be even more agile…

aston martin db11

Introduction

These days Aston Martin is hogging headlines with the outrageous Valkyrie road race car designed by Red Bull’s genius Adrian Newey and Woking’s own Marek Reichman. But road cars pay the bills, and the new DB11 is the much anticipated successor to the DB9 (DB10 went straight to some silver screen superspy…) leading Aston Martin’s Grand Touring range.

Exterior

Aston Martin’s design boss Reichman penned another beautiful car with all the virtues of an Aston: the swan grille, highly pronounced rear shoulders, and a bonnet that goes on forever. In order not to spoil the clean shape of the car, the DB11’s aerodynamic components are concentrated underneath the vehicle, and there is no garish spoiler at the back because of an ingenious concept Woking calls the ‘Aeroblade’. Air enters the car through an opening concealed by the C-pillar and is channeled through the rear bodywork out a slit on the deckled, creating downforce without a wing.

aston martin db11

Interior

Woking has vastly improved overall fit and finish in this DB9 successor, and one of the highlights is the use of brogueing like you find on decorated leather shoes. The new TFT display and infotainment system is also miles ahead of the old system (which was easy to improve on) and the satellite navigation responds like you’d expect from a 2017 car. The quiet interior is only slightly spoiled by what seems like a little more noise intrusion at high speed than you’d get in a Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupé, but then again no S-Class we’ve driven handles as well as this 1,770kg Aston.

aston martin db11

Features

Controlling the car’s infotainment system is now much more intuitive with a touchpad combined with a rotary control knob that we’re all accustomed to. No more tiny, fiddly little plastic switches, everything that looks like metal is metal. A parking control system is also mighty helpful for a car 4,739mm long and nearly two meters wide, and the optional Bang & Olufsen sound system is too good to pass up.

Drive

Although a kerb weight of nearly 1.8-tonnes sound like a lot, the DB11 is actually a lightweight in its segment with an aluminum chassis and plenty of composite bodywork. The car utilizes an electronic limited slip differential and electronic steering, which disguises the bulk further giving you the impression of driving some more lithe than it is. It’s a good trick, but the DB11 still excels most on long, smooth roads where the constant, turbocharged torque puts the car into a flow. Where we tested it in Italy, the DB11 also demonstrated a great ride quality considering the poor pavement, on 20-inch wheels and Bridgestone tyres.

aston martin db11

By its very nature, with a 5.2-litre V12 engine up ahead (but behind the front axle for a near 50:50 weight distribution) making 600 horsepower an 700Nm of torque, the DB11 isn’t going to be the sprightliest car around but that’s not what it was designed to do. Instead, it’ll do 0-100kph in 2.9 seconds and top out at over 320kph without creasing your jacket. The eight-speed automatic transmission, ubiquitous in the segment and sourced from ZF, changes gears imperceptibly, or you can play around with the pleasing, satin-finished paddles behind the wheel yourself in the DB11.

aston martin db11

Verdict

With the DB11, Aston Martin has for the first time made a car truly able to stand up to the Germans in terms of quality and execution, to go with the traditional ‘hand-made charm’. At over AED1,000,000 the car has a lot of competition from Bentley (new Continental is coming soon…), Ferrari (… as is the 812 Superfast) and Mercedes-AMG or Mercedes-Maybach. The Woking company will be finely represented in the ultra-luxury GT segment with the DB11, safe in the loyalty of its dedicated customer-base. After 104 years of making cars it’s good to know an independent carmaker like Aston Martin can cut it with the best.

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