If you ever doubted the importance of the new DB11 to Aston Martin’s future, then proof is in the fact that the company refers to it as the first of its ‘second century’ products. Aston may have had its actual centenary a couple of years ago, but this is where the second hundred years really start.
Replacing the gorgeous and (in Aston terms) big-selling DB9 is no easy task – the big, V12 coupe has been around for more than a decade and has always been a strong model for the small sports car maker. Sales, across the Aston board, have slumped in recent years though, and it’s clear that this DB11, and the other coupe, saloon and even SUV models which follow, are critical to keeping the brand alive and prosperous.
The styling is very familiar, but with a little more visual muscle than the DB9. The truncated front-end we saw on the DB10 cars built especially for the James Bond film Spectre doesn’t make an appearance here – instead, there’s a more classically Aston nose, with very curvaceous sculpting in the manner of a sixties DB4 GT or DB5. The overall effect is similar to what went before, especially the outgoing Vanquish model, but hopefully fresh enough to entice new customers.
Under that sculpted bonnet is a heavily reworked Aston Martin V12 engine. It’s lost 800cc but gained a pair of turbochargers and now has 600hp and 700Nm of torque. Aston claims a 0-100kmh time of 3.9secs. Once again, power is sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox supplied by ZF, which also now incorporates torque vectoring to distribute power to the wheel that can best cope with it.
Inside, we’re starting to see the fruits of Aston’s recent collaboration with Mercedes-AMG. Instead of physical instruments, the DB11 gets a 12” digital TFT screen for its primary dials, while entertainment and sat-nav are taken care of by a centrally-mounted 8” touch screen. There’s a full battery of controllers too – a rotary dial, backed up by a touchpad and even some gesture controls. That’s the sort of tech Aston simply wouldn’t have been able to develop by itself, so the benefits of joining forces with Mercedes are now clear. There’s even an automatic parking assistant, just to help you avoid scrubbing those gorgeous alloys.
The DB9 was never what you’d call a practical car but Aston reckons it is exploiting the inherent flexibility of its carbon-and-aluminium VH platform by making the DB11 a little roomier. There are even ISOFIX points for child safety seats in the back, and you can specify starlight-style ‘Celestial’ headlining too if you like.
Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer, Dr Andy Palmer said: “We aspire to make the most beautiful cars in the world. DB11 is the absolute embodiment of what an Aston Martin should be and we have worked tirelessly to ensure that DB11 combines both exceptional design with the latest technology throughout. A brand new bonded aluminium platform, clever aerodynamics, a new characterful twin-turbo V12 and class-leading infotainment systems are just a few aspects which make this the sports car that will proudly spearhead Aston Martin’s second century plan.”
Sales will start in the summer and don’t expect much change from €300,000 if you want one.