Over the course of the last few years, I’ve managed to fall more in love with the Aston Martin brand. I’ve been fortunate to experience nearly everything the company has to offer in a wide range of locations and climates. That’s part of the reason why I’m most curious about the automaker’s newest machine; the Aston Martin DB11.
For those in need of a quick history lesson, you’ll soon learn that David Brown is the reason behind those two letters on the cars. His run at the top began when his firm bought the company back in 1947. Ever since then his initials have graced tremendously important models spanning decades and running right into today… and the future.
It’s the future we’re talking about today, as Aston Martin’s future has just been revealed in Geneva.
Everyone expected Aston Martin to come out of the gate with a car that was built in part by someone else. That’s decidedly not the case, and the DB11 is clearly a very proud product of the Aston Martin factory team. Under the hood is an in-house designed and built 5.2-liter V12 engine, which is aided by a pair of turbochargers. The resulting power output is 600 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough for the DB11 to hit 200 miles per hour on the top end, and make the dash from 0-62 miles per hour in just 3.9 seconds.
You can’t have an Aston Martin without glorious noise though, and the DB11 appears set to deliver in that regard as well. Aston engineers have delved into every aspect of the many noises produced by the car. This means that everything from the exquisite exhaust note on down to the way the seatbelt warning chimes gently in your ear, have all been studied and seen time spent on creating the best noise possible. So much so, that there’s someone within Aston Martin whose actual title is Attribute Leader for Sensory Perceived Quality.
With an Aston Martin, you have sound and performance on one side of the equation and design and style rest on the other. It’s an important part of the recipe and you have to have both parts to make a truly engaging wing-badged vehicle. I can’t yet tell you how it feels to drive and hear the car, but I can tell you that I do believe my first impressions of the cars visuals are delightful.
I spy clear elements taken from Bond’s own DB10. There are dashes of the supercar One-77 to be found from a handful of angles. It also has new pieces that signify the DB11 is its own machine, and it’s going to provide forward direction for the rest of the family. The rear lighting scheme is absolutely brilliant. Massive rear fenders set the car in motion before you’re even able to slide into the driver’s seat.
There’s probably only one piece I can’t yet find on the outside of the car, and that’s a small bit of badging to tell the world at what it is they’re staring. Yes, the AM logo is there, but I want to see a DB11 badge. There’s a reason for this desire on my part. You see, for the last few DB cars Aston Martin have been putting the lettering on the same line. There was talk of reverting back to the classic style with the letters sitting above the number. It’s a small touch, and I’d hope to find it here but I don’t spy anything like that on the car. Also, if you check out the interior photos it may prove that this isn’t going to be the case at all. If that’s my only complaint with the car, then I think we’re doing rather well.
Speaking of the interior, this is the space where Aston Martin had the most to gain and I believe it’s clear those in charge know this. What was once a space that was a confusing mixture of “okay”, “adequate”, and “surprisingly not great” has seemingly been upgraded to “wonderful”. Aston Martin wisely handed over the electronic reigns to Daimler and that’s why the interior center stack seems to be fitted with a system that will work, and work well. The gauge cluster behind the DB10-inspired steering wheel is now a TFT display, and some of the controls in the center area are handled in a manner that’s equally befitting of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. It’s a modern Aston Martin that actually has modern interior components now. That’s a huge step forward for a car from Gaydon.
Another step forward is that there’s no mention of SportShift-anything here. Gone is the automated manual plaguing parts of the lineup that are due for an update. In its place is the now-proven 8-speed gearbox from ZF. There’s a reason a number of other automakers utilize the ZF cog swapper, and that’s because it provides an excellent driving experience at full cruising mode or at full tilt. It just works, and it does that job exceptionally well.
I mentioned earlier that I was hoping to see the stacked badging on this car. It’s a small quibble directed at a car that I’m sure will be downright legendary. Another great leap forward in the DB range of cars, and a strong step into the second century of Aston Martin. Sure, some of you might be curious why they’d only offer the DB10 as a Bond car and not for public consumption (minus one lucky person who bought the only one that went to auction). I’d suggest you check out the back of the upcoming DBX and rethink your ideas about the DB lineup. If you can’t get excited about the AMC Eagle version of an Aston Martin, I can’t help you… I, for one, can’t wait to see how dirty I can get it.
As for the DB11, stand by for more when I eventually get my hands on the key. It no longer slots into the Start button, which is a bit sad actually. But the fact that the Keyless Entry system will work flawlessly? That’s quite a bit better. Plus there’s still a button you press to bring the new era of Aston Martin to life.
We’ve come quite a long way from that day David Brown saw an ad for a “High Class Motor Business” for sale in his local paper…