Rancho Santa Fe, CA – Aston Martin was founded in 1913 by Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin. The company originally going by ‘Bamford & Martin Ltd.’ became known as Aston Martin the following year (1914) following one of Lionel Martin’s successful runs at the Aston Hill Climb in Buckinghamshire, England. Unfortunately the company went bankrupt in 1924 and again in 1925. By 1926 both the original founders had left. The company changed hands two more times, producing small numbers of stunning sports cars until 1947, when it was purchased by Sir David Brown (of David Brown Limited ) an agricultural and engineering entrepreneur answering a newspaper advertisement for just over £20,500. ($25,209.) Brown was a tractor manufacturer, who purchased Aston Martin along with Lagonda for the purpose of getting into the road car business. Ever since David Brown’s initials have adorned the top-of-the-line Aston Martin vehicles – the DB cars. More recently, Ford Motor Company sold Aston Martin for $925 million to a consortium led by Prodrive founder David Richards, Aston Martin collector John Sinders, and Investment Dar and Adeem Investment Co, two international investment companies headquartered in Kuwait, marking a substantial appreciation in value. The latest iteration Aston Martin to launch is the spectacular standard bearer for the company – the 2017 Aston Martin DB11.
The first Aston Martin to carry the DB nameplate was the DB2, which was powered by a 2.8-liter Lagonda inline six-cylinder engine that cranked out 105 horsepower – an impressive figure for the era. The Aston Martin DB2 and DB2/4 reigned from 1950-1957, with the latter based on the DB2, but featuring modest design and styling modifications.
Enough of Aston Martin’s past history and on to the next chapter of the iconic company’s second hundred years. The DB11 is the first of several new products to come as part of the company’s ‘Second Century’ plan. It marks the beginning of an all-new generation of cars, and is the most powerful and at the same time, the most efficient DB production model in Aston Martin’s history.
The DB11 was launched at the 86th International Geneva Motor Show as the most significant new Aston Martin since the DB9’s introduction in 2003. Based on
a brand new bonded aluminum platform combining strength, lightness and increased interior space, the DB11 sets a new benchmark for luxury sporting Grand touring machines. The styling is instantly recognizable as penned by Aston Martin designers, yet it is a distinctively different marriage of form and function. Familiar elements have evolved dramatically. Up front is the iconic, but reinterpreted grille with accentuated lines, the front-hinging clamshell bonnet and distinctive LED headlights. In profile, the gracefully arched roof strakes flow without interruption from the A to C-pillar. Front-end lift is reduced by a gill-like Curlicue that releases high-pressure air from inside the wheel arch via a concealed vent within the modified side-strake. Clean lines continue at the rear, with a sloping decklid that smoothly blends into pronounced sculpted tail-lights creating a new, unmistakable graphic. Rear-end lift is minimized by Aston Martin’s AeroBlade™; a virtual spoiler fed by discreet air intakes located at the base of each C-pillar. Air is ducted through the bodywork, before venting as a jet of air from the aperture in the rear decklid.
The DB11 surpasses anything that 007 James Bond has driven on the silver screen in the past. Sean Connery drove the first DB model – the DB5 in the 1964 film Goldfinger. To date, an Aston Martin has appeared in ten Bond films.
The heart of every Aston DB is its engine, and the DB11 is powered by a 5.2-liter, DOHC, 48-valve, twin turbocharged V12 longitudinally mounted front engine with dual variable camshaft timing, intelligent bank activation and an electronically controlled exhaust. It is the most powerful DB production engine in Aston Martin’s history producing 600 horsepower at 6,500 rpm (115 bhp per litre @ 6,500 rpm), while also developing516 pound feet of torque from 1,500 rpm. The engine’s motive force is delivered to the rear wheels by a rear mid-mounted ZF eight-speed automatic transmission with electronic shift-by-wire control system, through a carbon fibre propeller shaft and Limited Slip Differential. The 5.2-liter biturbo V12 replaces the old naturally aspirated 5.9-liter mill and comes from Ford’s Cologne, Germany, plant, Gaydon Headquarters in Warwickshire,
England. The DB11 is capable of accelerating from 0-62 mph in a scant 3.9 seconds and can reach a top speed of 200 mph.
The chassis, suspension, steering and electronics have all been revised and enhanced, providing adaptive damping and multiple driver-selectable dynamics including a GT mode, a Sport mode and a Sport Plus mode. The latter intensifies suspension settings, steering responsiveness, shift mapping and the Torque Vectoring system.
The DB11 rolls on Bridgestone S007 255/40 ZR20 x 9” front / 205/35 ZR 20 x 11” mounted on 10-spoke directional Silver Diamond turned alloy wheels (there are also two other optional wheel designs) and suspension componentry consists of Independent double wishbone, coil springs, anti-roll bar and adaptive dampers up front and Multi-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar and adaptive dampers aft.
The interior reflects old world craftsmanship delivering superbly elegant fit and finish. A full-colour 12” TFT LCD display, and all-new instrument cluster presents primary vehicle information with absolute clarity, while a second, centrally-mounted 8” TFT screen focuses on infotainment. Controlled via an intuitive rotary control, with an optional touchpad offering character recognition, multi-touch and gesture support, the new satellite navigation and audio system are more effective than ever, sounding better and easier to operate. A newly implemented auto-park assist feature and 360-degree birds-eye view camera assists in providing safe maneuvering at slow speeds and is also operated via the car’s infotainment system.
Safety features include ABS, DSC, EBD, EBA, TC, HBA, PTC and Active Torque Vectoring.
My test 2017 Aston Martin DB11 two-door coupe with 2+2 seating wore an elegant exterior coat of Fiamma Red metallic, while the interior was executed in Black leather with Red accents. The base price was set at $211.995. and the final sticker came to $214,820.
SUMMARY: The 2017 Aston Martin DB11 is an exemplary exercise in emotion stirring elegance. The ultimate focus of its engineering was to provide maximum doses of exhilaration from static elegance to dynamic levels of performance.
This newest gem from Aston Martin is a genuine luxury 2+2 grand Touring Coupe. The increase in wheelbase allowed positioning its mighty 5.2-liter V12 further aft providing a nearly perfect weight distribution and balance. Door openings are larger, headroom is increased for both the front and back seating positions, and the legroom has been increased as well. There are ISOFIX points for securing two child seats, and the boot or luggage compartment is capable of storing two golf bags, but who wants to play golf when driving the DB11 is so much more fun.
The acceleration is instantaneous and the electric power steering with its 13:1 ratio is a speed dependent rack and pinion affair featuring 2.4 turns lock to lock for a precise, spot on responsiveness. Bringing the DB11 to a halt is just as impressive.
The seats are highly supportive and comfortable at the same time, holding occupants in place during even the most spirited maneuvers.
Should one wish to abandon the sweet sound of the engine’s growl and melodious exhaust note, the standard Aston Martin Audio System admirably delivers one’s favorite tunes or one may choose the optional Bang and Olufsen Premium sound system. There is an impressive list of standard features and equipment, as well as a lengthy inventory of available options for both the interior and exterior for personalization.
On a sojourn from California’s Rancho Santa Fe to Mount Palomar, encountering virtually every road scenario from congested inner city travel to challenging, twisty mountain roads with some high speed freeway stints thrown in for good measure, as well as weather conditions from sun to fog to rain to hail and snow, this latest DB Grand Touring Coupe delivered nothing short of the grandest touring imaginable. Passing other vehicles was effortless, even in minimal situations, and maneuvering back and forth over the sharply twisting curves along the way, came across as smooth and “Ballet-like”.
As a final commentary, the 2017 Aston Martin is an exercise in elegant craftsmanship and design execution that provides sensory satisfaction on all levels without compromise. It is destined to become a revered classic, joining Aston Martin’s other iconic crown jewels. James Bond would certainly be proud to own the DB11- I know I would.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Aston Martin DB11
Base Price: $211,995.
Price as Tested: $214,820.
Engine Type and Size: 5.2-liter, DOHC, 48-valve, twin turbocharged V12 with dual variable camshaft timing, intelligent bank activation and electronically controlled exhaust.
Horsepower (bhp): 600 @ 6,500 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 516 @ from 1,500 rpm
115 bhp per litre @ 6,500 rpm
Transmission: Rear Mid-mounted ZF eight-speed automatic with electronic shift-by-wire control system and column mounted paddle shifters.
Drive Train: Longitudinally mid-mounted front engine / Rear-wheel drive with carbon fibre propeller shaft and Limited Slip Differential.
Suspension: Three-stage Adaptive Damping System (ADS) – GT,
Sport & Sport +
Front – Independent double wishbone, coil springs,anti-roll bar and adaptive dampers.
Rear – Multi-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar and adaptive dampers.
Brakes: Power-assisted four wheel ventilated discs
6-piston calipers front / 4 piston calipers rear. / DSC, ABS, EBD, EBA, TC, HBA, PTC and Active Torque vectoring.
Tires: Bridgestone S007 255/40 ZR20 x 9” front / 205/35 ZR 20 x 11”. Mounted on 10-spoke directional Silver Diamond turned alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 110.43 inches
Length Overall: 186.57 inches
Width: 76.37 inches – w/o mirrors – 81.10 with
Height: 50.35 inches
Curb Weight: 3,902 lbs.
Turning Circle: 38.54 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 20.5 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 14.1 mpg city / 27.6 mpg highway / 20.6 combined
Drag Coefficient: .37
0 – 62 mph: 3.9 seconds – 200 mph Top Speed.
• Styling – 5 Stars
• Performance – 5 Stars
• Ride and Handling – 5 Stars
• Utility – 5 Stars
• Comfort and Convenience – 5 Stars
• Economy – 4.5 Stars
• Value and Competition – 4.5-Stars
Summary – 4.85 Stars
The 2017 Aston Martin DB11 is a fitting tribute to the iconic marque. It shines on every level and if you have it, it’s worth the money.