Canadian pricing for the 2020 Aston Martin DB11 starts at $236,400.
The DB11 is a high-performance GT car enthusiasts dream.
When a small-volume luxury automaker launches an updated or new car, the world stops and takes notice. This is what happened in 2016 when the 2017 Aston Martin DB11 was first introduced.
The DB11 is the latest iteration of the most famous product lines at Aston Martin. Thanks to Bond, the DB cars are as desirable as they are revered for their performance and, as or more importantly, their styling. All DBs, from the iconic DB2, immediately recognizable DB5, unique DB7 and now, the DB11, all make and have made a statement just by being.
Lack of visual cohesion
And yet, I write words and think back to the tested Sunburst Yellow DB11 that I was able to get “close” to and spend time with. Honestly, there’s something off about the DB11’s styling, most of it upfront. I can summarize my thoughts by saying that the outer edges on each side of the grille are too pinched and the strakes behind the from wheels, on the fenders, break what should be a clean surface.
The final word on my impressions of the DB11’s styling was confirmed in Aston Martin Montreal’s showroom where an example sat between a Vantage and a DBS. This car’s cabin is, on the other hand, an incredibly sumptuous and luxurious place. My unique gripe revolves around the 8-inch screen and how its plastic encasing clashes with the gorgeous leathers and other accents that surround it.
Truly, the thinking and attention to detail within the Aston Martin’s interior are second to none. There’s presentation, ergonomics, special and unique touches all rolled into the intimate passenger quarters.
Refined monstrous power
And it’s that wherewithal from Aston Martin’s designers, engineers, and thinkers that I think I appreciate most. Any automaker can make a fast car that handles but Aston Martin took an incredible component from AMG (among other Mercedes-Benz elements) and not only did it justice but blended AM’s way of operating to it.
The hand-built twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 produces 503 horsepower and 498 lb.-ft. of torque was tweaked to complement the big GT’s personality. Now, it’s still plenty brutal, capable of sending the DB11 to 100 km/h in only 4 seconds, but it delivers its power with mannered restraint, compared to the Vantage, and Mercedes-AMG C 63 S. And, as this is AM’s flagship car, they also engineered out a dash of the V8’s excessive low-end bass.
This desire to refine the drivetrain is evident throughout the driving experience. There are three drive modes, which operate independently from the damper settings, and they are “GT”, “Sport” and “Sport+”. The GT mode is self-explanatory and is the mode that best suits the car. Sport tampers with driving inputs and the standard 8-speed automatic transmission. Gears are clenched on longer and throttle is sharper. Sport+ takes it all to the next level.
Tuned to perfection
All, however, does not involve the adaptive dampers. They too have three modes which can be selected regardless of drive mode. For spirited driving, Sport with dampers in normal is the ultimate combination for civilized speed. Having said that, even in the sportier modes, the dampers are tuned to do their job, which is dampening.
On the topic of gears, the transmission is also given freedoms. I mean to say that, by default, the “box is in automatic. Should I opt to shift manually, the transmission automatically remains in manual mode – there’s no button that needs to be selected to remain in manual. This literally hands back some control to the driver where he/she becomes responsible for some driving functionalities.
The sole issue I have with driving the Aston Martin DB11 was its uneven brake pedal response. Initial travel is long and response is delayed. This gap makes for annoying jerkiness at lower speeds as the beyond the slight “void”, the calipers clamp hard on the large vented discs.
Exceptional and special
My brief time with the 2020 Aston Martin DB11 re-opened my mind to the brand. I’d not driven an AM in roughly 8 years which explains in part why the experience was overall extremely special.
I’ve driven a number of high-performance cars in my career and have come to understand that Aston Martin and I’s personalities are quite similar. I love the DB11’s laid-back approach to high-speed motoring and am a huge fan of its incredible level of refinement. In that respect, it reminds me of Porsche cars – the DB11 is the Panamera. And I do tend to get along with the Panamera.
The other Aston Martin I got to drive, the Vantage Coupe, is a very different car to the DB11, much like the 911 is different from the Panamera.