Aston Martin’s DB11 has been setting quality standards and breaking sales records. What is its winning formula? Grand Touring: a journey where the destination is not as important as the journey itself. A journey where the joy is not in arriving, but in driving on the open country roads as they meander through pastoral villages, through hills and valleys, through woodlands and coastlands, through mist and sunshine. Few cars have embodied this spirit in their DNA as have the DB line of Aston Martins; with the heart of a thoroughbred, enveloped with simple yet elegant lines on the outside, and while being comfortable enough inside to make long journeys a joyful experience.
“The DB11 is the perfect symbiosis between a beautiful design language and clever engineering to create a wonderful diving experience. No wonder then that at its premiere, over 1,400 DB11s were booked”
In 2016, Aston Martin unveiled the newest offspring of its illustrious DB bloodline. The DB11 is the perfect symbiosis between a beautiful design language and clever engineering to create a wonderful diving experience. No wonder then that at its premiere, over 1,400 DB11s were booked. By the end of 2017, Aston Martin was breaking sales records, thanks to the success of the DB11.
The DB11 has the burden of spearheading Aston Martin’s ‘Second Century’ plan. Therefore, the design language had to be bold, something new, yet unmistakably Aston Martin. So, as usual, the lines are uncomplicated yet elegant, flowing seamlessly from front to rear, and the poise is confident. But the overall design, the “clamshell bonnet,” the grille and the headlights are unmistakably new. The bonnet, sculpted from pressed aluminium is aesthetically pleasing while conforming to pedestrian safety regulations. The all-new all-LED headlights feature daytime running lights and low-speed cornering lights for the first time. The distinctive new roof is deceptive. It has a smooth, seamless, and simple curve, but requires a long and complex process to manufacture.
Aerodynamics is an essential ingredient in the performance characteristics of the DB11, but it has been so seamlessly integrated into the design that they are mostly concealed. The clean surfaces and continuous flow lines are the foundation. The side strake, an ever-present design element on Aston Martins, now also forms part of the ‘Curlicue’ vent which extracts high-pressure air from the front wheel arch to reduce lift. The DB11 also debuts the “AeroBlade;” an innovative virtual spoiler. Air sucked in via discreet intakes at the base of the ‘C’ pillars are channelled via ducts to the exit slots in the rear deck lid to create a jet of disrupted air that reduces rear lift. These enhancements allowed the designers to do away with physical spoilers that hinder flow lines, but more importantly, they add immeasurably to the sense of confidence and joy one feels when going through the bends in a DB11.
The symbiosis between form and function is carried into the interior as well. Like the DBs of the past, the interior space of the DB11 is generous and inviting. The old familiar features persist but have been tweaked to new levels. The finest materials have been finished to perfection by the hands of skilled craftsmen. Soft leather trim dominates the interior space, with some open-grain wood without the high-gloss finish, and metal surfaces with mostly mat finishing. The leather, with detailing features such as Nexus quilting and Celestial perforation along with ornate leatherwork, such as intricate brogue detailing create an interior space that feels inviting, intimate, and delightful. Throughout the interior, gentle lines flow into sensual curves and loops.
The “Infotainment” system is contained in the central console that cascades from the dashboard down to the transmission tunnel. It features an 8” TFT screen with an intuitive rotary control mechanism, as well as an optional touch screen control mechanism. Some other novel features include keyless entry and keyless go, parallel and bay park parking assistance, and a 360-degree camera.
Aston Martin has also gone to great lengths to create a distinctive sonic identity which includes pretty much all the sound generated by the car: the many warning sounds, the click of the switch gears, the creaks of the leather upholstery and so on. Each sound is tuned such that it is unobtrusive and also to have harmony with all the other sounds produced by the car. This also includes the exhaust note made by the 600 bhp 5.2-litre V12 powerhouse which can vary from mellow to malevolent with the squeeze of the accelerator. A 503 bhp V8 version is also available.
“If you’re ever in Paris, at a party at 3 am, and suddenly remember you are playing in a tennis tournament in Monte Carlo the next afternoon, this is the car for the job. You’d arrive feeling like you’d just got out of the bath. It’s not just a pretty face. This is an extremely good car. Phenomenally good”
All the effort put in to create the symbiosis between form and function has resulted in a grand tourer that is par excellence. Jeremy Clarkson had this to say about the DB11 (The Sunday Times, 2016): “If you’re ever in Paris, at a party at 3 am, and suddenly remember you are playing in a tennis tournament in Monte Carlo the next afternoon, this is the car for the job. You’d arrive feeling like you’d just got out of the bath. It’s not just a pretty face. This is an extremely good car. Phenomenally good.”