When the time comes to analyze a landmark work of art, one can only be both intimidated and filled with awe of its stature. Worthy heir to the legendary line of DB, the coupe displays an extraordinary panache. Faithful to almost perfect coupé proportions, it also takes up the stylistic DNA of the brand whose reference point remains the grille describing this organic shape that could be described as an oval with two concave parts. The side gills crossed in a single line are also present, but integrated into the front wheel arches, giving an impression of perpetual motion. The roof line is of immense purity. Air is catalyzed through openings in the rear pillars to escape through a slit cut behind the rear trunk, creating downforce.
While many rivals flaunt their performance numbers to garner glances and praise, the DB11 plays in a much different vein, grand touring. The door sill with "Hand built in England" may sound pompous, but gives a taste of the great refinement of the interior. The exhilarating scent of fine leathers, perforated with countless topstitching, cover practically everything, real goldsmith's work of rare quality. The design is also uncluttered, which allows you to appreciate the nuances of this haute couture that can be personalized almost infinitely. The only real false note is in terms of touch buttons which do not always respond well to commands. Unsurprisingly, the rear seats are only present in spirit and the trunk has only 270 L of volume.
Under the hood
The huge front hinged hood (clamshell in English) made of a piece of aluminum opens to strip virtually the entire front end of this DB11. Set back towards the cockpit, a small 4L V8 beats there, stuffed by two turbochargers. It is designed and assembled by AMG, the high performance division of Mercedes-Benz. Although less exotic than the optional V12, it nevertheless reduces the starting price by over $ 46,000 and the weight, weighing 115 kg. Aston Martin says its mapping and tone have been customized to better match the temperament of the DB11. It interacts with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, which is still as exceptional as ever. This engine can climb up to 7,200 rpm, giving it the latitude to express itself, allowing a 0-100 km / h in 4 sec.
Behind the wheel
In its original form, the grand touring coupé essentially sought to accompany wealthy Europeans on their trans-European journeys. The DB11 reinterprets this idea. Relying on an almost perfect weight distribution (49:51) between the front and rear axles due to the positioning of the transmission in the stern, the coupe is built on a frame made entirely of aluminum alloy. Its weight is thus quite contained, at 1760 kg. This gives it impressive agility, obtained both from very fine steering in its precision, but also from adaptive damping which greatly minimizes sources of imbalance. Granted, at $ 236,440 as a starting price, it's essential that this DB11 excels, but cars that strike that balance so close to perfect are rare.
This is where the picture is much less glowing. In its partnership with Mercedes-Benz, Aston Martin has chosen to get its hands on an infotainment system from a few previous generations designed by the German brand. The presentation is very dated with a disappointing image definition. Features are limited and navigation is anything but intuitive. This causes a lot of frustration in addition to not being able to relate to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This is hardly acceptable for such a vehicle. We pick up a bit with the readable and elegant digital instrumentation, but, again, the configurations are limited. Also forget about any active driving assistance. In short, if you are tech-savvy, this DB11 is not for you.
In a world where the automobile seeks to become an extension or even a complement to everyday technological devices, the DB11 may seem somewhat anachronistic. However, it would be unfair to summarize its performance as a single technological fact. The DB11 is fundamentally an exceptional car in its artistic sensibility and extremely refined to tackle great luxury. She also displays a grace in her dynamic abilities without pouring into unnecessary overkill of power. The harmony between this platform and this engine is unquestionably worthy of its status. There is also the aura of this brand. Let us now hope that this heritage will be preserved by the new owners, while continuing to develop in a competitive manner, to ensure its survival.
V8 or V12?
Granted, the power difference between the V8 and the biturbo V12 is noticeable (503 hp vs. 630 hp), but the difference in torque is minor (513 lb-ft vs. 516 lb-ft), making the numbers d acceleration very close in 0-100 km / h (4 s compared to 3.7 s).
Used in many applications, the ZF gearbox used in all versions of the DB11 is particularly effective in manual mode due to its speed, but also thanks to the use of paddles attached to the steering column, which allows keep your hands in good position at all times.
The initials DB simply come from David Brown, an English entrepreneur who took the reins of Aston Martin from 1947 to 1972, the brand's golden age.
Very special doors
Substantially conventional in appearance, the DB11's long doors open with concealed handles and lift gradually to avoid inadvertently snagging the curb.
A little sister who comes to play in her flower beds
Taking over $ 60,000 from the base DB11 V8, the Vantage benefits from reduced weight that matches the same mechanics as the latter, but the approach remains more sporty.
Trial version: Aston Martin DB11 V8
Engine: V8 DOHC 4L biturbo
Power: 503 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 513 lb-ft @ 2,000-5,000 rpm
Transmission: eight-speed automatic with manual mode
Engine architecture: front central longitudinal engine, rear-wheel drive
Consumption (EnerGuide): 11.5 L / 100 km (super)
Price (with options, transport and preparation): $ 276,351
Competitors: Bentley Continental GT, Ferrari Roma, Polestar 1
New in 2020? No major changes