It’s not every day that you get the chance to get behind the wheel of a true British thoroughbred car, but today was my day and the car? Well an Aston Martin DB11 of course. From its relatively humble workshop beginnings and through its let’s just say ‘pretty turbulent’ times, this iconic brand seems to have not only simply endured but has grown from strength to strength – the new DB11 is a perfect case in point.
The new DB11 is a thing of pure beauty. It grabs your attention from the very first glance of its Arden Green body and then continues to hold it as you walk around the entire car open mouthed; ogling every delicious angle. Despite being redesigned and effectively rebuilt from the ground up, there are (thankfully) still some things that haven’t changed, maybe just evolved a little. The Grand Tourer’s already muscular stance has been bolstered, the rear arches look like they have spent some time in the gym but not to the point of steroid abuse. The grille is instantly recognisable as DB lineage (although it has been – as they call it – reinterpreted), and then there is of course; the unmissable Aston Martin wings badge. Both of the latter Aston staples hold dominance over the DB11’s quite delectable new clamshell bonnet.
Speaking of new; the Gloss Silver roof strake guides your gaze towards the innovative Aeroblade, essentially the black voids near the rear quarter windows that harness the airflow and remove the need for a rear spoiler and to top it off, the DB11’s new bonded aluminium structure hunkers down low over the stunning 20” 10 spoke fat feet – like I said; it’s a thing of beauty.
I was proudly and ceremoniously talked through the car’s operational highlights (of which there are plenty) before being handed the keyfob and let loose into the Auckland traffic. Bringing the DB11 to life is achieved via a centre console push button (with the major gear selects nestled either side) it’s simple and elegant all at the same time. Normally I am racking my brain as I pull away, trying to ensure I haven’t done something stupid like leaving the park brake on or the bootlid open; but surprisingly enough I felt instantly at home in the DB11(that’s of course if someone had miraculously given my home a complete luxurious makeover). The seats welcome you like a sycophantic publicity agent and the deep musky scent from the leather filled cabin conjured up a myriad of images in my mind, settling on somewhere between the furniture found in an exclusive members only gentlemen’s club and riding the plains of the wild wild west.
It has intricate brogue detailing on the celestial perforated, nexus quilted leather that covers the front and rear seats (it is a genuine 2+2) and in this launch edition, the leather and design continued onto the headlining. The Copper Tan and Bitter chocolate colouring blends in perfectly with satin silver and black accents, while the 8” TFT infotainment screen and 12” TFT LCD instrument cluster merges the classic with the modern.
It also has a 1000 watt B&O Beosound stereo but I have no idea what it sounds like as under the Clamshell lies a 5.2L Twin turbo V12 that played the soundtrack for the day. It boasts 600 bhp (447kW) and 700 Nm of torque, (which makes the DB11 the most powerful DB production model in Aston Martin’s history) but it’s how the power is delivered that really makes the difference. It feels like it’s always there, no massive surges as Turbo’s kick in, just a no nonsense (and seemingly relentless) amount of power underfoot. From a standing start it will get you to 100kph in around 3.9 seconds but like I said, it feels like that is the tip of the iceberg and that the power will simply go on and on – way past its top speed of 200mph (322kph) – I so want to prove myself right on this one day!
From a driver’s point of view, there is plenty of room to stretch your legs and although I’m not tall (so not really an issue here) it has an extra 10mm of headroom (plus there is an extra 54mm headroom and 87mm more legroom for the rear) but I’d certainly prefer to be up front for any ‘long’ drive. The boot will apparently take two golf bags (if you’re that way inclined) but suffice to say, it will handle enough gear for a long weekend away should you need to take a break from driving – as if!
As I only had a few hours of behind the wheel time, I headed straight to the motorway and out of the confines of the city, the DB11 is a GT and as such deserves the open road. Drive modes are steering wheel accessible, you can toggle from GT (a softer more sustained drive), Sport (toughens up the suspension and increases the car’s agility), to Sport Plus which turns the GT to Sportscar (Increasing Suspension, Torque Vectoring, Steering and response rate from the 8 speed Auto). I spent most of the time in Sports mode but used the paddles like I was navigating rapids – which in many ways I was. I wanted to hear the V12 sing and bellow its lungs out, especially in tunnels or off walls – It was worth driving like a moron, it’s a truly thrilling sound.
The DB11’s off the mark speed is good, great in fact but it’s how effortlessly it gets into licence losing territory that is really impressive. At lower revs (and in Intelligent bank activation) it’s quiet and smooth and I have no doubt that after a long drive you would arrive at your destination as refreshed as when you first began but there is a lot of fun to be had upping the revs and getting stuck in to sweeping country bends. As rush hour started to build it meant that my playtime was essentially over, so I headed back to the city and back to the showroom.
For a car brand that essentially started it’s life off in a shed, this latest evolution shows how far they have come and yet how true to their roots and heritage they remain. The DB11 is a car that feels passive and malleable around town or on longer tours but has the unyielding power to exhilarate when really needed or just wanted. The Aston Martin DB11 isn’t just great, it’s Aston-ishing!
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