Full disclosure: I am a Vantage fan. I have owned 5 in total and still own one V12 Vantage Roadster and one V8 Vantage coupe. I love the short, brutal look, the noise it makes and especially the sportier, more engaged drive.
So I knew up front that the DB11 would not be my cup of tea. After all, it is the successor to the DB9, which always has been the more “GT” model within Aston Martin’s portfolio: a comfortable daily driver.
That said, as a long-time Aston Martin fan, I am very interested in the DB11, to find out where Aston Martin is going, in terms of looks, engines, technology, interior, infotainment, etc… if only to get a glimpse of what the next Vantage could be like.
So I was very happy that, even though I am not a DB11 prospect, Kroymans Aston Martin still gave me the chance to test drive the DB11 on public roads around their dealership. To top that, this week they even invited me to come join a DB11 track day in Germany! Couldn’t say no to that!
So what is the DB11 like?
First, it’s a beauty!
You must have seen lots of pics of the DB11 by now, and have probably formed your own opinion about how it looks. I can tell you, in the flesh it only gets better. A clean, modern look, with very nice details: the clamshell bonnet, the new side-strakes that connect to the wheel arches, the roof “blades”, the rear lights, all new but still easily recognized as an Aston Martin.
What’s interesting about the DB11 is that the look very much depends on the colours of the body, the roof, the roof blades and the wheels. Go stylish or go sporty:
And it’s got modern tech, even a sat-nav that actually works!
The interior of the DB11 is what you can expect of an Aston: beautifully designed, leather everywhere, great seats. But now, with a steering wheel that actually looks nice (sorry, never liked Aston steering wheels in the old models), a modern, up-to-date infotainment system, a sat-nav that works(!) and all kinds of modern gadgets that we all have come to expect from cars in this price range: all-around camera’s, keyless go, auto-parking, etc..
That’s all fine, but… how does it DRIVE?
Coming straight from my V12 Vantage, what struck me first about the DB11 is the very light power steering and the power brakes, plus the relatively high seating position. All nice, easy and comfy.
But then you put your foot down. A V12 powered engine always offers a nice bit of torque straight on, but this is something else! Immense amount of torque, starting at very low revs. Even up to the point of achieving wheel spin on every take off, with warm tires on dry tarmac. I could get used to this!
Then the cornering: this is the part that I am not too crazy about. The car comes with 3 suspension settings: GT, Sport and Sport Plus. Even on Sport Plus, the DB11 suspension is not firm enough to my taste. In fast corners, the body of the car leans heavily. The soft suspension is also quite noticeable when braking or accelerating hard.
I am getting the feeling that, in terms of suspension, the DB11 is more of a GT car than the latest incarnations of the DB9 (those were pretty sporty, close to DBS in handling).
Also I must wonder: if you’re going to offer a configurable suspension system, with 3 modes, why not make the firmest one *really* firm and sporty? That would offer the best of both worlds.
But then again, I am not the typical target audience for this car. And I must admit, after a few laps on the track, I got used to the handling and was able to place the car into corners quite nicely and the car felt pretty “grippy” once the tyres were heated up.
All in all, I really enjoyed trying the DB11 on the track, if only to be able to really use the power of the engine. Because for normal daily driver usage, the car may be a bit overpowered 🙂
Conclusion: Now I really can’t wait for the next Vantage!
No, I am still not going to buy a DB11 🙂
However, the DB11 has showed to me that Aston Martin has made a huge step forward, in terms of engine, technology, design, interior, infotainment, and is ready for the future.
I have been impatiently waiting for the next Vantage for quite a while, but after seeing, touching and driving the DB11… now I really can’t wait!