It’s not even an overstatement to call Aston Martin’s 2017 DB11 one of the most important cars that the company has ever made. It’s the first of seven models Aston Martin plans to release over the next seven years, and if it’s going to rise to take on Ferrari’s premium brand mantle, it can’t afford to stumble. The DB11 really needs to set the tone.
And it does.
First, let’s take a quick lap around the car.
Yep, pretty jaw-dropping. It’s low, wide, and has the long hood, open front fascia, and clean fastback design — all of which have become emblematic of the modern Aston Martin sports car. It would be hard to say that this design is at all surprising, considering how much it resembles the DB10, but it doesn’t need to be surprising. This isn’t Aston Martin trying to be something that it’s not. It’s a well-articulated, well-proportioned version of what an Aston Martin is all about.
Aston has kept the V12 but ditched the natural aspiration in favor of a twin-turbo. This news is both good and bad. On one hand, this engine provides more power in more places; it generates 600 horsepower, and it produces 516 lb.-ft. of torque from 1500 rpm to 5000 rpm, which is truly eye-popping. It reaches 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds, does the quarter-mile in 12.1 seconds, and has a top speed of 200 mph. For comparison’s sake, the DB9’s max torque was only 457, and you didn’t get there until 5500 rpm. Its 0-60 time was 4.5 seconds.
The downside? That naturally aspirated V12 sounded glorious, and its raw, rugged, heart-pounding, visceral brilliance will be missed. The twin-turbo, more than capable in its own right, just doesn’t have that same sound. It’s a subjective thing, and possibly a minor thing, but it’s worth noting.
Now, how does that all stack up with the competition? Well, if we’re comparing it to the Ferrari California, which many people will — not so hot. The California, which packs less horsepower, smokes the DB11 by a half a second, doing 0-60 mph in 3.3 seconds, and it can finish a quarter in less than 12 seconds.
The question, though, is whether anyone will care. The Aston Martin DB11 is plenty fast, and it’s not like everyone is basing their decision on a 0-60 time. If that were the case, buyers would walk right past both of these cars and buy a Tesla. A sports car gives you something beyond acceleration, and the DB11 offers a style and elegance that competes with Ferrari because it’s different.
In The Driver’s Seat
The interior has been totally redesigned but still bears resemblance to previous models. The DB11 sports a 12-inch display, leather everywhere, and a composed, tidy look. It’s not always easy to keep things uncluttered and uncomplicated, but Aston Martin has managed to succeed while also communicating an overwhelming sense of luxury.
Also, and perhaps this is more specifically a 007 thing, what good is an Aston Martin without a few gadgets? While this one isn’t going to be taking down SPECTRE on your trip to the supermarket, you certainly can benefit from the 360-degree camera and auto-park assist.
While we don’t yet have information about brake distances and lateral acceleration, or a host of other stats to draw specific conclusions about the car and how it stacks up against its competitors, those will be known in due time. Based on what we can see, however, a few things are abundantly clear: Aston Martin’s DB11 will truly be one of the most beautiful cars on the road, and it will be a hell of a lot of fun to drive.