You would imagine it would be hard to top my drive Audi TT RS, but step forward the Aston Martin DB11. I’ve seen quite a few of these on the road and I’ve always been a fan of Astons, so the chance to drive one was very exciting. Especially as I was meant to drive an Aston last year before someone else damaged the front wheel… Anyway, that aside, on to the DB11.
The DB11 is the successor to the DB9, a car that had certainly been around the block. In fact, it was made for a total of 12 years, so it was clear it was time for change. For those of you wondering where the DB10 is, that was the car of choice in the James Bond movie Spectre and although it looked stunning, it was never sold to the public. Pity. Having said that, the DB11 is certainly not a bad compromise.
Step in the car are you are greeted with an orgy of leather. The seats, the dashboard and the headlining are all trimmed in said material, making it a luxurious place to be indeed. The cabin certainly felt special – it felt like an occasion. Turning over the V12 is not quite as savage as let’s say a GT8 or a Vanquish S, but don’t forget the DB11 is aimed more towards comfort and grand touring.
Mind you, there is still a fair amount of performance on tap – the 5.2 litre V12 produces 600bhp and an impressive 700Nm of torque, meaning you’ll hit 62mph in 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 200mph. This is jolly fast and although the DB11 will do all this effortlessly, you get a sense that it’s quite happy to cruise along in near silence as it wafts you on your way to a fancy dinner party. However, if you do happen to come over all James Bond, you’ll find that the DB11 is able to make progress rather quickly and the changes from the ZF 8-speed automatic are fast but also smooth.
And that is the word I think sums up the DB11 – smooth. Driving is like being wrapped in silk and even the problem with the bonnet sensor (it kept saying the bonnet wasn’t fully closed even though it was) could dampen the drive. I must stress though, this was a pre-production model, which is why it was a bit glitchy. Despite this hiccup, this was a drive I will not forget for quite some time as it almost goes without saying that stepping in to an Aston is a special moment, let alone to drive one.
Through the corners it remains flat and although this grand tourer is by no means small, it feels rather nimble. Ok, so it’s no Lotus Exige, but it’s not a heffalump either. The DB11 features double wishbone suspension at the front, and a multi-link setup for the rear – a first for an Aston Martin model. This means it deals with the twisty stuff rather well, although you can choose either the ‘Sport’ or ‘Sport Plus’ mode if you want a more dynamic performance.
The square-ish steering wheel – taken from the One-77 – feels odd to begin with, but after a while you don’t notice it too much. The steering itself is electric and not hydraulic but it’s not overly light, and thanks to a quick steering ratio, it’s direct, meaning you needn’t put in a great deal of lock. This makes the car easy to navigate at let’s say a roundabout, but it also means it’s easier taking corners at a higher speed as less work will be needed to kiss that apex.
Having said that though, from where I was sat, I would have been quite happy to just waft along at a steady cruising speed, rather than hunt down every single apex in anger. The DB11 is certainly fast, but it’s smooth, comfortable and of course, luxurious. It’s a V12 iron fist wrapped in a exquisite velvet glove. Bravo Aston, bravo.