For Aston Martin, no car was as legend-making as the DB5, the car that vaulted James Bond into his status as the world’s greatest playboy-spy. Unfortunately, Aston Martin fell on hard times when the auto industry blew up during last decade. After filing for bankruptcy several times, Ford dumped the brand as a belt-tightening move at the beginning of the financial crisis. As a result, Aston Martin hasn’t had a serious technology upgrade since 2005.
Welcome to the DB11, the automaker’s attempt to shake up its entire line.
Aston Martin has raised hundreds of millions of dollars during the last few years, all with the aim of developing technology that will let it compete with other luxury car makers. CEO Andy Palmer explains that the DB 11 is not just “the most important car that Aston Martin has launched in recent history, but also in its 103-year existence.” That’s a bold claim, but exactly what we should expect from a car that Palmer expects to “spearhead Aston Martin’s second century plan.”
The DB 11 retains the striking silhouette of the DB9 that it replaces, with a slight modification to make the car longer and wider. The electrical setup is borrowed from Mercedes-Benz. As its own designs aged, it was paramount that Aston Martin create a new car that is as light and fast as its competitors. That’s why the core of the DB11 is a bonded aluminum structure – meaning the parts are not welded, but instead glued together, allowing for a strong, light and efficient skeleton. This same core will also be featured in other upcoming Aston vehicles, including the Vantage and Vanquish.
The classic left-hand break has finally been jettisoned for a 21st century electronic break. The DB11 also separates itself from the pack by adding a “silencer” to the Sport Exhaust, which actually lessens the engine’s roar. Such a move may seem anathema in a world where everyone wants a loud look-at-me engine, but it keeps with the Aston Martin gentleman’s aesthetic.
Speaking of the engine, under the hood is an all-new 5.2-liter twin-turbocharged V12 engine that is borrowed from Mitsubishi. In a nod to the eco-conscious times in which we live, the engine turns off unnecessary cylinders efficiently save on gas. Finally, the DB11 does produce big horsepower – 600 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, to be exact. This is enough to propel the 3,900-pound DB11 from 0 to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds and to a maximum speed of 200 mph.
These numbers are very good, but they lag just behind Aston’s main competitors in the space. But that’s okay for now, since Aston Martin is selling consumers on style and drivability as much as speed and power. The elegant frame that Aston Martin is known for is certainly present in the DB11. The interior has quilted, perforated and brogued leather. The “Satin Silver Jewelry Pack,” is a standard feature, which outfits the paddle shifters, door handles, steering wheel controls, and other parts with some fancy styling. The DB11 oozes class, 007-style, rather than the showy Batmobile-race cars elsewhere in the space.
Those who would like to take their Aston for a spin around the racetrack haven’t been left completely in the cold. Aston Martin plans to roll out the limited edition and race car-oriented versions in the future. The DB11 will go on sale in late 2016 at a starting price of $211,995.