I will never tire of getting the keys to half-million cars, especially ones as downright special as this Aston Martin DB11. And the great thing – this sexy beast did not disappoint – it is pure glory from every angle.
Without any prior knowledge, I came into this drive with nothing but anticipation for what was my first drive in an Aston Martin. Such an iconic brand, and the DB11 has everything Aston etched on every corner.
On the outside I feel like you could walk around this car time and time again and find new aspects to admire. The subtle aero work around it is a testament to the designers. There’s a small inlet on the rear side windows that feeds into the boot and creates an aero wing, then there are the small slats on the bonnet scoops directing air – it’s amazing to see.
Often with beautiful cars you can find that angle which was a compromise of design, the one that meant that from two other angles the car was downright gorgeous, but from that one specific angle the car wasn’t as great – not so with the DB11 – and trust me, I looked.
The clamshell bonnet opens wide to expose the V12 Twin-Turbo powerhouse, lovingly checked over by out mate Barry.
What stunned me about this view wasn’t the thumping 12 cylinder beast, but the exposed corners. Each of the front wheels and suspension mounts were clearly visible and it gave it the sense of an open wheeler or Le Mans racer – this is a fantastic feature that I could imagine other car-nuts loving if it were introduced into cars like the Toyota 86, or GTR.
Push one end of the door handle to have it pop out for you to open and you’re getting closer to driving this DB11 away.
I have to say if I was a buyer I wouldn’t go for the dark blue colours chosen in this Aston Martin – it felt dark and enclosed, I think a more luxurious dark and light combo or offset colours in the trim might have given the sculpted dash and interior more of a fair go – not that I’m suggesting it was ugly, I just think it would look a lot better in other colours.
Bang and Olufsen sound surrounds you with a centre mounted rear speaker matching the one mounted in the centre of the dash, while the tweeters up the top corners of the dash raise and lower from the dash when the radio is powered on.
The infotainment system is the child of the Aston Martin / Mercedes Benz technical partnership, which is disappointing really because it’s the one part of any Mercedes I’d rip out in a heartbeat. Anything but intuitive and would be better served with a larger closer screen to the driver and the latest Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The dial and touch input for Mercedes might be ok once you’ve owned one for a while but there’s nothing good about it the first few times you step in.
If Mercedes is responsible for the touch sensitive “buttons” all over the centre console, I’d sack them for that too. When driving, sometimes a tactile physical button is best to scan your finger from Radio to Media – these are all flat plastic but touch sensitive – you’d get used to it, but I’d prefer it wasn’t like that. Same with the volume, why on earth you’d make it a touch sensitive slider rather than a dial I’ll never know.
If you’re worried about waking the neighbours with the roar of the V12 in the early morning on your way to golf – fear not, foot on the brake and press and hold the engine start button gives the car a quiet start. The standard start is foot on brake and press once the engine start button.
I’m not sure the neighbours will notice the difference, but hey – it’s the thought that counts right?
On the open road this is a joy to drive. The low driving position gives you a great sense of the road, however visibility isn’t great from any angle but straight ahead or directly left and right.
You have three transmission modes, GT, Sport and Sport +. GT was perfectly fine for my entire weekend, except for when I wanted to feel power of this beast. On the Old Pacific Highway I flicked it into Sport + mode and was shocked. Shocked by how great they had tuned this transmission.
Normally in any “auto” shift mode you want to second guess the car and upshift later and downshift sooner. Not so in the DB11. It’s like the engineers watched me driving, learned how I like to drive and hit those shift points in all the right places. Stunning.
It would downshift as I entered a corner at the right time to let me hear the engine, and let those revs grow as I pushed it up to speed.
And while we’re talking shocked, oh boy, the handling. At 80km/h locked on cruise control the Old Pacific Highway became a flat straight road. The turns were effortless and I felt at ease on every bend.
Those folks at Pie in the Sky Cowan on Sunday certainly enjoyed the stop-over too. As did I – great pie and Milkshake folks.
The sound is great, but even with the windows down I didn’t get the same buzz I’ve had from the open exhaust mode on the Jaguar F-Type. Truth be told this car is a lame beast under 110, and after that you’ll hear it roar – just not me this time.
As a daily driver the sound would be a touch disappointing, but don’t worry – tickle the throttle now and then you’ll get the buzz you need.
Reversing camera and all-round camera make the width of the Aston Martin a breeze, though the parking sensors seemed to want to beep at every opportunity, even sitting at the lights waiting for green. Very strange.
To my great surprise, the fuel top up was pleasing (the blokes at the local garage certainly enjoyed the visit too). Just 12.6 l/100km for a V12 I reckon is impressive. My V6 3.0l commodore does worse. But fuel isn’t something you’re worried about when you buy a car of this value.
So you’ve got the cash, what do you buy? Lambo, Ferrari, Aston, Something else? I’ve got to say, the uniqueness of this car appeals to me. I know there aren’t many Ferrari’s on the road per se, but when you’re in this category – there’s something about being unique, and I think a DB11 ticks more than enough boxes.
At $462,000 plus on-road costs, this Aston Martin DB11 Launch Edition hits my top 5 with ease, once the lotto win pours in and I acquire that large shed and private race track I’ll enjoy the sound, the speed and the ride of my own DB11. One day.