Aston Martin DB11
A True GT That Can Hang With The Fast Boys
Aston Martin is an interesting company. Content to build cars which are dripping with both luxury and exclusivity, they’ve not sought to be the fastest on the street (though they are seriously quick) but instead a rare combination of black-tie elegant and grand prix performance. The words “Grand Tourer” come to mind, especially since James Bond has been inextricably linked to the Aston Martin brand since Ian Fleming started providing Sir James with an Aston in those 007 stories.
Although Fleming honored Bond with an Aston Martin DB Mark III, the newly-released Aston Martin DB5 was the logical automotive movie star, especially when fitted properly – a button to activate revolving number plates; a device for leaving an oil slick in its wake; a switch to operate machine guns on the wings of the car; yet another lever allowed the driver to use tire slashers that extended from the front wheels; and who can forget that, hidden in the gear shift knob, was a button to activate the passenger ejector seat. Fortunately, “my” DB11 was a a real-world version, arriving with prodigious V-12 power, gorgeous lines, a sumptuous interior and its incredible exhaust sound.
Mr. Martin started the company with a partner in 1913 and then renamed it in 1914, in part after his success in the then-famous Aston hill-climb race in England. Thus began a period of over 100 years of creating some of the most powerful, beautiful, elegant and sought-after cars on the planet. And the DB11 does not disappoint.
The first impression of this car, as with most, is visual. We all have heard that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I have yet to meet a beholder who doesn’t immediately love the look of this car. It presents with the classic long hood and short tail profile of supercars past, modernized with flow lines, low roof and greenhouse, but with additional edges and swoops and falls that give the car a look of motion even when stopped. The distinctive Aston Martin grille is present, of course, despite another brand’s desire to emulate the form. The design pièce de résistance is the rear “Aeroblade”, as coined (and trademarked) by Aston Martin, which eliminates the need for the obligatory rear spoiler required of other cars capable of reaching 200+ MPH by providing adequate downforce with a more elegant design.
A hugely important component to the gestalt of the vehicle is its signature sound. Is there a better vehicular song than a V-12 motor, both on start-up and full acceleration? While mufflers have their place in life, the song of the open road is as American as it gets. Apparently, it’s a universal love since the car is sold in many countries. I love the sound of the DB11, which makes the driving experience that much more more engaging.
Next up is the performance category- with a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 200 MPH, it’s really just a tick slower than the DB11 V-8 model (the V12 checks in at 600/516 horsepower/torque compared to 503/513 horsepower/torque for the V8). However, the base price differential is about $13,000 ($211,995 base price for the V12). As the V8 engine weighs less, the smaller motor (with a surprising amount of torque) may allow for quicker times on a race track but, personally, I wouldn’t trade that V12 sound for anything.
The engineering on the car is interesting as well. The hood is a one-piece aluminum creation, a “clamshell bonnet” per Aston, which covers the engine bay and also both sides, serving as the top of the wheel well too. With the hood open the front of the car resembles a race car as there’s no body work between you and the motor, yet the lights stay in place as the hood has cut-outs for them.
Last, but not least, are the driving impressions. Sitting in the DB11 is to be swathed in leather, surrounded by luxurious touches and bathed in the terrific sounds emanating from the resounding exhaust note and Bang & Olufsen sound system.Whether it be bumper-to-bumper traffic or a full blast, this car was ready for whatever I threw at it.
It’s an experience in rolling luxury with equal parts performance and comfort. Hit the start button, pull the right paddle shifter and away you go. It truly is a car for the senses.