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2018 Aston Martin DB11
The Aston Martin DB11, the marque’s first new model in a decade, bears responsibility for shepherding the 104-year-old British brand into the next century. In fact, when it launched last year, the V12-powered sports car heralded the company’s Second Century plan, an ambitious undertaking that will see the bespoke automaker build seven new models in as many years. Now the nameplate that Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer called the “most complete and sophisticated car Aston Martin has ever made” is getting a second, smaller variant meant to widen its appeal, this one powered by a Mercedes-AMG-developed, 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8.
Where the 5.2-liter V12 reigns as a 600-horsepower behemoth, the entry-level V8 rides lighter and more compact, with increased agility and control for a sportier drive. The 503-horsepower V8 “is almost egging you on a bit, so it makes you want to drive quicker and as a result, the dynamics support the engine,” explains Ian Hartley, Aston Martin’s senior manager of vehicle dynamics. The DB11 V8 zips from 0 to 62 mph in four seconds, hitting a top speed of 187 mph. In comparison, its larger, V12-powered sibling remains a tenth-of-a-second faster at 3.9 seconds and maxes out at 200 mph.
Inside the two-seater (technically, the DB11’s layout is a 2+2, but you won’t be able to fit more than a medium-sized purse back there), you’ll find a full-grain leather interior, Alcantara suede headlining, and heated front seats, as well as a modern dashboard layout featuring Bluetooth, iPhone integration, navigation, and an infotainment system routed via an 8-inch screen.
As a niche luxury sports car, the DB11 won’t be evaluated for crashworthiness by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but it does come with a few standard safety features: a 360-degree camera with front and rear parking sensors, helpful for reversing out of a narrow spot.
The 2018 Aston Martin DB11’s V12 and V8 versions begin at $216,495 and $198,995, respectively.
What the experts are saying
“The DB11 is something of a triumph for the cause of small, independent automakers like Aston Martin. Thanks to careful management and a relationship with Daimler to provide some of the latest automotive technologies, Aston Martin is in the midst of product renaissance that continues to use the VH platform developed while Aston Martin was part of Ford, but boasts some of the most gorgeous design and style available in the marketplace today. The DB11 is stunning to look at, incredible to drive, and possesses the finesse of a real first tier luxury brand. It possesses color and trim work that is at the top of the game, and whether powered by Aston Martin’s own V12 or the Daimler-supplied AMG V8, it is a performance GT car of the highest order.” – Ed Kim, vice president of industry analysis at marketing research and consulting firm AutoPacific
“Like most everyone else, I’ve admired Aston Martins for their style, sound, and, of course, being the car of choice for James Bond. The problem I’ve had with past models, however, was an interior build quality that instantly took me out of that fantasy. With the DB11, I have nothing to complain about because the cabin now meets expectations for a car approaching the quarter-million-dollar mark. Thanks to a partnership with Mercedes-Benz, this latest Aston Martin has up-to-date electronics and switches that have a substantial look and feel. As a grand tourer, the DB11 is fantastic, even with the V8. It’s entertaining to drive with a level of comfort and refinement to spice-up a weekend getaway. The few competitors include the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe, a well-appointed Porsche 911 Turbo, and the Audi R8. The DB11 has them subjectively beat on style and class, but the forthcoming Bentley Continental could play the part of spoiler. The good news is, all of these choices are great.” – Mark Takahashi, senior writer at Edmunds
“In my opinion, there’s just no direct competitor to the Aston Martin DB11 V8. It’s truly in a class of its own. Other exotics may be able to surpass its mechanical prowess, but an Aston Martin has style and panache that cannot be matched. Six-figure supercars are easily bought by those who have the means, but the DB11 buyer has a reverence for the design and craftsmanship of an Aston Martin that extends well past their wallets.” – Carrie Kim, managing editor at autobytel.com