- Beautiful styling
- Objectively better in every way
- Goodbye, natural aspiration
- High price
Aston Martin DB11 Expert Review
New for 2017
The DB11 is an altogether new model for 2017—and the most important Aston Martin has launched in years, if not its entire lifetime.
Aston Martin's latest twelve-cylinder, 2+2 grand tourer is as much about luxury as it is performance. The 2017 Aston Martin DB11 replaces the long-running DB9 and ushers in a new era for the British automaker.
For too long, bemoan critics, Aston Martin has skated by on the same platform, the same powertrain, and the same familiar design language. That all ends with the introduction of the 2017 Aston Martin DB11. Based on completely different architecture, the DB11 packs a new engine, enveloped in fresh styling, and encompassing the latest technologies.
Almost everything that Aston has made over the past coupe of decades has been powered by a 5.9-liter naturally aspirated V-12 based on Ford building blocks. But the DB11 is motivated by an all-new, 5.2-liter twin-turbocharged V-12. With 600 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque at the ready, the new V-12 is more potent than the old atmospheric unit, and will send the 2017 Aston Martin DB11 to a top speed of 200 mph.
While the styling is fresh both inside and out, it's still immediately recognizable as an Aston Martin—albeit one of an entirely different generation than those that have come before. Following the company's centennial celebrations just a few years ago, the DB11 is the first step in Aston's "second century plan," and looks to be a promising one at that.
Aston Martin has fitted the new DB11 with dual-stage front airbags, plus side curtain, knee, pelvis and thorax airbags. It also features emergency brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution.
What We Think
More than the engine response, exhaust note, the brakes, or the steering, "the first thing that impresses about the 2017 Aston Martin DB11 is the quality of its ride." That's what we found upon driving a pre-production prototype on a test track. A few months later in our official First Drive of the DB11, we were "pleased to report it's no less impressive out on the road."
In Sport mode, we discovered, the DB11 "turns in smoothly the moment you pull the steering wheel off-center and tracks faithfully through wicked mid-corner heaves, delivering a well-judged balance between grip and ride quality." But "even in the softest damper setting, GT, the DB11 changes direction with commendable precision and control."
For better or worse, "the crackling snarl of the naturally aspirated, 5.9-liter engine has been replaced with a deep-throated roar." We also concluded that the new eight-speed automatic may be "the DB11's weakest link" due to software issues (which the engineers were working to fix) in an otherwise "impressively accomplished car."
The bottom line is that "with the DB11, Aston Martin has entered the 21st century," emerging as "the best, most completely resolved new Aston Martin in the company's history."
In a First Test review, the 2017 DB11 accelerated from 0-60 in 3.8 seconds.
The DB11's new twin-turbo V-12 is built in Germany by Aston Martin on the premises of Ford's engine plant in Cologne. The Blue Oval automaker built Aston's powertrain facility there when it owned the luxury marque, and a decade now under independent ownership, Aston still builds its engines there.