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Aston Martin DB11 V12: Epic appeal

By Ghaith Madadha - Apr 15,2019 - Last updated at Apr 15,2019

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin

A slinky low-slung and wide grand touring 2+2 sports coupe, the Aston Martin DB11 V12 is a comfortable continent crunching personal luxury chariot that is just as adept through twisting roads.

Harking back to a more evocatively romanticised motoring milieu yet engineered with the benefit of modern high tech design, systems and solutions, the DB11 V12 is at once nostalgic and fresh and forward looking. Stylishly uncomplicated is design yet crisply contemporary in detail, the DB11’s hallmarks are its sophisticated leather and wood-lined cabin, seductive design, classically balanced front-mid engine layout and epic V12 engine.


Classic yet contemporary


Beautifully uncomplicated in its basic design, flowing lines, Coke bottle hips, optionally contrasting, arcing and seemingly floating roof outline from A- to C-pillar, the DB11 sits with a gracefully potent posture, and rides on staggered 255/40ZR20 front and 295/35ZR20 rear tyres for steering feel and rear grip. Elegantly designed, the DB11 incorporates subtle aerodynamic and airflow solutions, including a front splitter and a side strake vents which release high-pressure air from under the wheel-arches. At the rear, hidden intakes at the base of the C-pillars channel air through the bodywork and out through a slim rear deck duct to create a virtual spoiler.

Snouty and with a wide grille flanked by all-LED headlights, the DB11 V12’s jutting fascia is echoed at the rear, with futuristic slim boomerang LED lights. 

Meanwhile it is built on a light stiff bonded aluminium platform with its engine sitting low behind the front axle and gearbox mounted at the rear axle for near perfect — 51 per cent front biased — within wheelbase weighting, for stability, agility, adjustability and balance. Featuring a reverse-swinging clamshell bonnet that exposes parts of its double wishbone front suspension, its full one-piece design both allows the DB11 to well dissipate collision energy for pedestrians safety while maintaining taut and low design lines.


Abundant and indefatigable


Positioned below strut-tower mounted cross braces for cornering rigidity, the range-topping DB11 V12’s vast in-house engineered twin-turbocharged 5.2-ltre 12-cylinder power plant is an epic engine with vast reserves and consistent delivery. More charismatic and rewarding than the DB11 V8’s Mercedes-AMG sourced 4-litre, the V12 model in indefatigably abundant.

With huge torque and power and a seeming absence of any noticeable turbo lag, it spools up quickly and thrusts through to its 7,000rpm rev limit in a quick, long and sweeping arc, underwritten by a gut-wrenching 516lb/ft torque over a vast 1,500-5,000rpm mid-range plateau as power surges seamlessly towards its 600BHP maximum peak at 6,500rpm.

Digging deep and pulling hard from down low and building to a volcanic top-end to a soundtrack of languid bass-rich growls and intense high rev howling and wailing, the DB11’s multi-port injected V12 carries its 1,770kg mass with effortless thrust and response. Blasting through 0-100km/h in just 3.9-seconds and overtaking with seemingly disdainful ease, the DB11 V12 tops out at a 322km/h top speed.

Driving the rear wheels through a smooth, quick and responsive ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox with a broad ratio spread for response, flexibility, refinement, performance and efficiency, the DB11 V12 also features seamless cylinder bank deactivation, which yielded surprisingly moderate real world fuel consumption.


Reassuring yet engaging


A comfortably smooth, reassuringly settled and refined high speed long distance grand tourer, the DB11 V12 becomes a connected, intuitive and highly capable sports car through switchbacks. Focusing its sporting talents, the DB11’s adaptable driving modes offer escalating levels of gearbox and engine responses, and firmer adaptive damper settings to minimise roll for a flatter, tauter cornering.

Meanwhile in its default GT mode, with well-calibrated adaptive dampers and despite huge 20-inch alloy wheels and grippy low profile tyres, the DB11 well absorbs and adapts to road textures yet feels settled and buttoned down rebound, if somewhat firm over sudden jagged bumps and road cracks. 

An engaging drive where one feels at the centre of the action, hunkered down between its balanced chassis, the DB11 V12 is eager and crisp on turn-in, with plenty of front grip, quick 2.4-turn electric steering and torque vectoring selectively braking the inside wheel for tidier manoeuvrability.

Taut and well controlled through corners, it feels agile and adjustable should one wish to tighten a cornering line. Distribute power along the rear axle where needed courtesy of a limited-slip differentia, the DB11 is otherwise committed, grippy and well able to harness its enormous output, while vast six-piston front and four-piston rear brakes provide reassuring stopping power.


Warm and welcoming


Heavy on the ground and wide initially, one very quickly develops an instinct for the DB11’s visibility, width and long bonnet and placing it on the road soon becomes second nature. Seemingly shrinking around the driver and seeming lighter with time and as speed picks up slightly, the DB11’s suspension and steering become more nuanced, textured and fluent in road feel and subtle feedback.

Meanwhile its blindspot warning system, parking sensors and 360 degree bird’s eye view camera prove useful, practical and build confidence when manoeuvring in tight confines. Other features notably include standard brake assistance and brake-force distribution systems numerous airbags, and optional parking assistance.

A high-end personal luxury GT, the DB11’s cabin appointment surpasses the average “premium” coupe and is swathed with high-end leathers, metals, quality woods and soft textures. Driven with stitched deep red upholstery and dark wood tones it had a warm and welcoming ambiance. Well-equipped with creature comforts and a powerful standard or optional Bang & Olufsen sound system, the DB11 also features a 12-inch TFT instrument screen and familiar, functional and user-friendly Mercedes-Benz sourced infotainment system with 8-in screen.

Seating is comfortable, supportive and well-adjustable for an alert yet ergonomic driving position. Front space comfortably accommodates large adults while rear seat space and access is improved over its predecessor, but is more suitable for occasional or child use and features Isofix childseat latches. Meanwhile its use of a traditional boot rather than hatch limits offers less luggage compartment access and volume, but still easily accommodates weekend luggage for two.



Engine: 5.2-litre, twin-turbocharged V12-cylinders

Compression ratio: 9.2:1

Valve-train: 48-valve, DOHC

Gearbox: rear-mounted 8-speed automatic

Drive-line: Rear-wheel-drive, limited-slip differential

Final drive: 2.703:1

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 600 (608) [447] @6,500rpm

Specific power: 115.3BHP/litre

Power-to-weight: 339BHP/tonne

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 516 (700) @1,500-5,000rpm

Specific torque: 134.5Nm/litre

Torque-to-weight: 395.5Nm/tonne

Rev limit: 7,000rpm

0-100km/h: 3.9-seconds

Top speed: 322km/h

Fuel capacity: 78-litres

Length: 4,739mm

Width: 1,940mm

Height: 1,279mm

Wheelbase: 2,805mm

Dry weight: 1,770kg

Weight distribution, F/R: 51 per cent/49 per cent

Steering: Electric-assisted rack & pinion

Steering ratio: 13:1

Lock-to-lock; 2.4-turns

Suspension: Double wishbones/multi-link, adaptive dampers

Brakes, F/R: Ventilated discs 400 x 36mm/360 x 32mm

Brake callipers, F/R: 6-/4-piston callipers

Tyres, F/R: 255/40ZR20/295/35ZR20

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