Aston Martin DB11 (2016) Review

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Aston Martin DB11 (2016) At A Glance

4/5
Honest John Overall Rating
The DB11’s appeal is strong, largely down to the allure of the Aston Martin badge, and its sensational looks, but as a true GT it’s bettered by some.

+Brilliant fun to drive, thunderous soundtrack, beautifully styled.

-Expensive running costs, disappointing cabin, harsh ride quality on less than perfect roads.

New prices start from £149,715
Insurance Group 50

Introduced in 2016 the Aston Martin DB11 is a beautiful ‘Grand Touring’ (GT) car that harks back to an era where wealthy owners would pack lightly and drive briskly to glamorous foreign locations for fun. The Aston Martin DB11 retains that spirit, so under its bonnet is a choice of effortlessly powerful V8 or V12 engines, mated to a chassis that’s more agile and sporting than many of the GT cars it rivals. 

That competition includes rarefied models like Bentley’s Continental GT, Ferrari GTC4 Lusso and Portofino line ups as well as McLaren’s GT and Porsche 911 Turbo. Higher volume premium manufacturers like BMW’s 8 Series and the - soon to be discontinued - Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe also offer compelling alternatives to the DB11.

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Incredible, easy performance, a luxurious interior and an enjoyable drive wrapped in the sort of knee-tremblingly shape makes cars like Aston Martin’s DB11 enduringly appealing for those who’ve worked hard enough to afford to buy them.

While the romantic idea of a Grand Touring car might now be outdated in a world of inexpensive air travel, the qualities that make for a good GT car do still make sense today. And when it comes to looks, Aston Martin has always been among the most desirable among its contemporaries, the DB11 a sensational looking car. 

Drive a DB11 and you’ll get used to the many admiring glances, the British brand apparently appealing to everyone - something that can’t be said of many of its more overt, divisive rivals. Even in this exclusive marketplace buyers aren’t completely ignorant to running costs, so Aston Martin offers a choice of either a 503PS V8 or a 630PS V12 engine in the range-topping AMR model.

Both drive through automatic transmissions which offer the option of manual control via wheel-mounted paddle-shifters. Aston Martin is a small company compared to the majority of its rivals, so its V8 engines are sourced from Mercedes-Benz’s AMG performance division, though the company is developing its own new in-line six cylinder which could come with electric hybrid assist for future models. 

Either engine offers superb performance, Aston Martin’s take on the GT theme erring more towards the sporting end of the spectrum. As a result the chassis is more alert and agile than some of its softer, more comfort-focussed rivals, but the trade-off for that engaging, entertaining drive, is the expense of some long-distance comfort. 

Outwardly it’s beautiful, and inside, too, the DB11 feels luxurious, and offers an extensive, and expensive range of options to personalise to your own tastes.

Soft touch leather in almost any colour you like, contrasting or matching stitching throughout, even things like the headlining (inside roof fabric trim) can be personalised to your tastes.

Likewise, there is aluminium, carbon fibre or wood trims, a choice of excellent, upmarket, HIFI choices and plenty more options that means each DB11 really is unique to their first owner. Aston Martin occasionally releases special edition model series, like the Classic Driver, or Shadow Edition, these built in low numbers 

That personalisation and choice is true of the DB11’s rivals, too, and while initially the big Aston Martin impresses, there is some evidence of the company buying in parts from other manufacturers to save costs.

The infotainment system is a lightly re-programmed lift from Mercedes-Benz’s stock parts, and things like the air vents feel cheap to touch in the otherwise beautifully finished interior. Those do jar slightly in a car costing as upwards of £150,000, but it’s not actually that unusual in this segment, though most other manufacturers do manage to hide any parts sharing a bit more successfully. 

There are a pair of ‘seats’ in the rear, but the DB11 is very much a 2+2, so long as those +2 are either very small (children ideally) or incredibly flexible. Occasional use only, then, and if you need a true four-seat Aston Martin the company offers cars with more accommodating passenger compartments.

On the right road, it’ll rival sports and supercars for agility, making it a talented all-rounder. It’s just a shame that some of the interior trim doesn’t feel befitting to a car which commands such a sizeable price tag, even before you’ve been busy adding expensive options. 

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