Worthy piece of automotive charisma
"A lot of inspiration from the One-77 and Mr. Bond’s DB10 can be seen strewn upon the new car."
"Right from the word go, the flow of power is flawless and just keeps on coming and coming."
"It may not as dramatic as its Italian counterparts but carries a lot of grace and poise-more like a well-made sculpture."
"The DB11 is one of the best GT cars around and this one just loves to keep going on and on," said Ershad.
Having lived through an era seeing big bamboozle turbos being bolted onto fire-breathing engines and currently living through a time when turbochargers are employed to reduce engine sizes and increase engine efficiency; it is evident that those cubic centimeters alone cannot decide how fast you go.
Today’s cars are loaded with tech, clever enough to be quick and be easy on fuel bills at the same time. Car scientists have found ways to squeeze out every last bhp from the minimum cylinder volume available and it is getting harder by the day to catch a V12 or V10 screaming down the road.
The above intro serves best for our weekend test car, the Aston Martin DB11 Coupe.
‘Love at first sight’ would be an understatement; this car takes you to cloud nine at first glance. It may not be as dramatic as its Italian counterparts but carries a lot of grace and poise, more like a well-made sculpture. Right from the one piece clamshell hood up front till those signature boomerang taillights, everything seems to follow one unending smooth pencil line.
Replacing the DB9, the new Aston Martin DB11 sports a new design language for the ‘Second Century’ series production. Unmistakably an Aston Martin, one of the first things you notice is how crisp the front end of the car is. On first look, you may even be confused, wondering how the hood even opens up. The whole affair is a single sculpted aluminum piece hinged at the front. The ever-inspiring Aston Martin grille looks freshened up with minimal plastic cluttering on the lower grille and lip sections. All-LED set-up for the headlamps looks striking and adds to that wide and low Aston Martin design lingo. From the sides, the swooping down roofline hints at the coupe seating configuration and ‘go-fast’ character of the car. The roofline is also given a special finish in a contrast color that looks distinct and helps a bit in shaving off some pounds from the visually large DB11. Cleverly blackened sections between the roof and the lower part of the car can give you a floating roof feel. The 20-inch wheels look well proportioned and carry a classic design. Side vents near the front wheel arches look great but they also are very important to the DB11 aerodynamics. More on this later. Rear end looks chic again with 3D-look brake light sections and no huge spoilers to spoil the elegant lines of the DB11. The rear bumper incorporates some interesting profiles and two slightly outward facing exhaust tips wind up things here. A lot of inspiration from the One-77 and Mr. Bond’s DB10 can be seen strewn upon the new car.
One of the best features of any coupe is the huge doors which allow for easy entry and exit into the driving pod. Settling into the cabin light years ahead of the DB9, the updated interiors of the DB11 have been developed in conjunction with Daimler. A 12-inch TFT screen displays the instrument cluster and the new sculpted steering wheel looks up to date. A secondary 8-inch screen on the center console takes care of the infotainment systems and you can access it through an intuitive rotary control. The system also features touch and gesture controls, but they are best left alone. Interiors of our Magnetic Silver DB11 were layered in a combination of black and white leather with interesting looking stitch patterns. To me it looked like wind patterns over the DB11 in a wind tunnel! You have almost limitless options to personalize the material and color of the interiors so that you can have a DB11 that is truly unique. Seats provide excellent support and bolster the GT badge on the DB11. This is one car made to cover long distances with minimal stress, albeit for two grown-ups. Aston Martin claims that the rear passenger roominess has been improved, but still it remains good for only kids. A 1,000W Bang & Olufsen audio system ensures that you are entertained if ever you get tired of the beautiful exhaust note. There is also use of psycho-acoustics throughout the DB11, so that everything you hear in the car right from the door shutting close, to the seatbelt lock-in, all warning chimes, till the switchgear click; everything is rendered a positive tone. (Never heard of anything like this before!) So, time to let go of the quiet and calm, let’s fire up this baby.
The DB11 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 5.2-liter V12 unit spitting out 600 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and generating 700 Nm of torque right from 1,600 rpm. Through an eight-speed gearbox and a limited slip differential, this power is transferred to those huge 295/35 rear wheels. Bridgestone has developed a unique tire exclusively for the DB11. Right from the word go, the flow of power is flawless and just keeps on coming and coming. Zero-to-one-hundred comes up in an impressive 3.9 seconds and the DB11 keeps going until 322 km/h with the right leg glued to the floor. I wouldn’t mind if the DB11 engineers forgot to put some sound deadening carpets in the cabin as long as they maintain this exhaust noise! Standard ceramic brakes with a 400mm diameter six-piston unit up front and a 360mm diameter four-piston unit in the rear ensure that you slow down at an impressive pace as well. On the DB11, you get to enjoy actual engine notes emitting from the intake and exhaust instead of synthesized noise from speakers as in some modern day cars.
You get three drive modes: GT, Sport and Sport Plus. The basic GT mode works well for most of your daily drive needs and our test car spent most of its test kilometers in this mode. The exhaust settles into a light humming noise in the basic mode, but you have Sport and Sport Plus if you ever feel the ‘Need For Speed’ creeping into you. The latest generation Bilstein adaptive damping coupled with the electric power steering and torque vectoring ensures that the DB11 is never shy to attack any corner or to catapult out from one. The lighter chassis and 51:49 (front:rear) weight distribution adorns excellent handling prowess to the DB11 and you sometimes wonder how such a big car handles like a toy.
The DB11 is one of the best GT cars around and this one just loves to keep going on and on. I am yet to drive the new V8 variant, which has got the German twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine (seen in the AMGs) and with near identical torque outputs. It’s more compact and lighter, so I’d imagine it’s more on the sporty side. While the V12 DB11 is here to address the fat luxury, hyper shoot craving drivers, the V8 DB11 completes the range. With extensive personalization options and niche Bond tag, the new DB11 is one worthy piece of automotive charisma.
Ladies and gents, we are talking about one of the best Astons in a long time. Is the competition shaken?!
Pros: Ride control, cabin quality, GT credentials, handsome enough to be a 007
Cons: Rear seats-not interested
Rivals: Bentley Continental GT, Rolls-Royce Wraith, Ferrari GTC4 Lusso
one word: 007 Bond
5.2L bi-turbo V12, 600 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 700 Nm @ 1,600 rpm
8-speed automatic transmission, RWD
0-100 km/h: 3.9 secs, top speed: 322 km/h, fuel consumption: 13.5 L/100 km
Weight: 1,770 kg