What is it?

This is the Aston Martin DB11. But instead of the V12 that lived under the bonnet of the launch model, this one packs a V8. A very shouty and wonderful V8.

Yeah, the V12 may have been good, and still sits at the top of the range. But looking at the DB11 V8, you won’t be wanting for power. The engine is the fruit of a partnership between Aston Martin and Daimler, so you get the same twin-turbo, 4.0-litre V8 that powers the Mercedes-AMG GT and a host of other AMG cars.

Here, it’s generating 503 bhp and 498 lb-ft of torque. Which is a lot. It’s paired with a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission with standard steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. That means refinement and relaxation when you don’t want to gun it, and racecar performance when you do. And, sure, the Aston Martin Vantage may also pack a similar V8, but while that car is hard and sporty, this is still a GT car that’s best used for devouring continents. As we’ll see, though, it’s pretty handy in the bends, too.

How does it drive?

At great expense, the new Aston Martin DB11 has been developed on an all-new aluminum platform bespoke to the DB11. So this isn’t simply an old DB9 with a fancy new face. The whole car is brand new, and feels it.

In fact, the DB11 brings bona fide Aston Martin values to the sports car market for the first time. Like every Aston Martin, the DB11 is built on a solid foundation of racing technology and unparalleled performance. The upshot is that you get a car built for racing but with superior comfort.

The car is super-fast with a V8 that really announce itself. The sound from the twin turbo is one of the coolest sounds you’ll ever find. Plus, the V8 isn’t even much slower than the V12 – you’re only 34 bhp-per-tonne down on this car’s bigger brother. The 0-100 km/h time is dispatched in 4.0 seconds, and the top speed is 301 km/h.

Through the bends, the DB11 feels light and agile, despite the fact that it’s riding on relatively soft suspension. There’s also a fabulous connection to the road through the steering. Indeed, driving the DB11 takes away the feeling that you’re just driving a car, you feel like you are the car itself.

 

Interior quality and tech

A lot of this stuff also comes from Mercedes, so you’re not going to have to worry about any quality issues on the inside. That’s a sophisticated touchscreen interface that’s user-friendly, and allows you to control everything you’ll need to fiddle about with.

As an exotic car, the Aston Martin DB11 is a statement of taste and style. It’s curvaceous, but slender, though longer, lower, and wider than the DB9 it replaces. It’s absolutely beautiful inside and out, and there is no better way to arrive in style.

Visual distinctions between the V8 and V12 models are few. In contrast to the range-topping DB11, the V8 features smoked headlights and taillights, a lack of centre venting on the hood, a black plastic grille, and the words “Aston Martin” spelled out on the boot lid. Responding to feedback from consumers, Aston Martin added a foot-activated trunk release and chose more homogenous interior trim.

Running costs

Though you wouldn’t believe it, one of the reasons why Aston dropped a V8 into the DB11 was to curb running costs. Not for Middle East buyers, but for buyers in parts of the world where there are big restrictions on bigger engines. Anyway, even in the Middle East, you’ll be pleased to know that the DB11 V8 isn’t all that expensive to run. You should do better than 10 l / 100km in terms of fuel economy, and the car comes with a decent warranty. That said, car insurance will be pricey. Budget up to AED 50,000 for a fully comprehensive policy.

Our verdict

The Aston Martin DB11 rings in a new era of sport cars. It’s a union of two familiar brands that amounts to more than the sum of its parts. You get a wonderful Mercedes-AMG V8, plus the beauty and style of the DB11. Plus, this is the best 2+2 that Aston Martin has ever made.