2017 Aston Martin DB11 Review

By: Mark Higgins, Unique Cars magazine

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Higgo puts Aston's all-new Grand Tourer to the test

Daniel Craig and I have something in common.

We’ve both driven Aston Martins that we haven’t paid for. In his case, as James Bond there have been many drives, the last being the DB10 in Spectre.

For me, it was the all-new DB11, the bold figurehead of the Aston Martin bloodline.

The DB 11 which replaces the DB9 is the lightest, stiffest, most powerful and most significant DB model in Aston Martin’s 100-plus year history.

From any angle the DB11 is jaw-droppingly gorgeous so before jumping in I had to take a slow walk around it to take in its beauty and feel its soul.

2017 Aston Martin DB11

The flowing lines and gentle curves are courtesy of the penmanship of design guru Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s Creative Chief, and his team.

While it pays homage to the its DB heritage, perched on 20-inch alloys, the DB11 sports its own look with a forward-hinging clamshell bonnet, upswept tail, signature grille, slightly puffed guards and graceful silhouette.

Aerodynamically the DB11 is as clever as it is eye-catching.
Front end lift is reduced by releasing the high-pressure air built up inside the front wheel arches through stirrup vents aft of the front wheels, while rear lift is eliminated by an Aeroblade fed by air intakes at the base of the C-pillars which expels air over it.

Under the long bonnet is Aston’s own 5.2 litre V12 twin-turbo engine that is the most powerful ever to grace a production Aston.

2017 Aston Martin DB11

It pumps out a stratospheric 447kW/700Nm and rockets from zero to 100km/h in 3.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 322km/h.

Aston Martin stresses that the engine is more than a collection of impressive numbers, highlighting for example its authentic V12 soundtrack. I’m a believer.

Not only is the twin-turbo engine devastatingly quick, but when cruising or under light acceleration, (something I didn’t quite master) it shuts off one bank of cylinders for greater efficiency.

It is coupled to an eight-speed (paddle shift) ZF auto gearbox with shift-by-wire technology that renders up or downshifts undetectable.

2017 Aston Martin DB11

Getting the grunt to the ground is a rear-mounted mechanical limited-slip diff.
Also lurking under the bonded aluminium and magnesium body is double wishbone front suspension and, at the rear, multi-link with Bilstein adaptive dampers all round.

The DB11 boasts three driver-adjustable modes, GT, Sport and Sport + which intensify the zeal of the engine, gearbox, steering, handling and ride. Although it wasn’t hard to pick the difference in each, the ride remained cossetting and the handling razor sharp.

Opening the huge doors, the heady aroma of soft leather, the flawless quality appearance, attention to detail and tactile surfaces of the sumptuous interior is almost overwhelming. As you slide down into the soft leather sports seats the bonnet disappears into the distance and initially the DB11 feels quite big.

2017 Aston Martin DB11

After familiarising myself with the basics, (the switchgear and infotainment system comes from Mercedes, as part of their technical alliance), and electronically adjusting the seat and wheel for a perfect driving position, I hit the Aston Martin logo start button on the dash and was greeted by a sophisticated baritone burbling from the large exhausts.

Pushing ‘D’ on the dash, I eased out through the carpark containing my desire to simply jump on the loud pedal.

A few miles down a quiet Banbury back road I resisted no further, flicked the paddle back a few gears and nailed it.

Two things instantly occurred. The baritone erupted into thunder and the once distant horizon was suddenly rushing at me due to the DB11’s ferocious acceleration. A couple of paddle flicks and I was well into three (imperial) digits.

2017 Aston Martin DB11

While the DB11 is a perfect long-distance missile, its ability in tackling corners and nimbleness when rapidly changing direction is deeply impressive. The steering is superbly weighted and as speeds rise its feel and feedback is dialled up making it lively and accurate, allowing precise placement of apexes while envouraging corresponding grins from the driver.

Mash the brake pedal and you can feel your face trying to come off as speed is swiftly abated.

Being a 2+2 the back seats had to be tried. While it was a tight squeeze to get there, once in it was okay for a short trip.

All too soon my time with the DB11 was up and I found myself back at Aston Martin HQ, reluctantly, very reluctantly, handing back the keys to the gleaming DB11. It was much more than a drive; it was an experience.

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