Can a mere machine have soul? Can an inanimate, man-made object such as a car be described as sensuous? Before you answer those questions, picture what the constituent raw materials of a car would look like piled up on the ground in front of you: large sheets of shiny metal, some rubber, glass, plastic, lots of wire and a few cow hides. Now feast your eyes on what a car manufacturer such as Aston Martin can create with these materials to work from, the inarguably gorgeous DB11 V8 Coupe.
The DB11 is the latest in seventy years of the DB bloodline, named for the British industrialist David Brown who bought the company in 1947. For fifty of those years, Aston Martin DB cars have been associated with James Bond, the film character, and there’s no doubt that the association has helped bring the beauty of these cars to a wider audience. Many will have seen the iconic photograph from 1964 of a rather young and handsome Sean Connery posing with the then-new Aston Martin DB5. And while Aston Martin is rightfully proud of its DB heritage, there’s nothing retrospective about the style of the DB11.
Indeed, the DB11 signals a new and edgier design direction for the brand, led by Marek Reichman, Vice President and Chief Creative Officer. It oozes presence, especially at the rear, where there are ultra-thin LED lights and an aerodynamic diffuser that emphasise the width of the car. And while the DB11 is undoubtedly a beautiful creation, its styling also has function, with clever new airflow measures to stabilise the car at speed, reducing unwanted lift. Hidden within the front wheelarches, for example are something called ‘Curlicues’ that help keep the nose of the car down at speed, while the rear bodywork hides further air ducting for the same reason that channels air to an automatically deployed (yet still subtle) rear spoiler. Crucially, these don’t detract from the overall appearance.
When you can no longer resist the temptation to open the door, the sense of occasion continues. The DB11 doors don’t just open out, they gracefully rise at the same time in a motion that is likened to that of a swan’s wing. It’s subtle, but in keeping with the special feel of the car. That continues when you ease yourself into the supportive front seats. Aston Martin believes in using ‘real’ materials (i.e. not plastic) where possible, so you’ll discover actual metal on the interior door handles and gearchange paddles, for instance, while the leatherwork deserves a special mention. There’s a seemingly infinite array of colours and finishes to choose from, and we particularly love the brogue effect stitching that gives the cabin a finely tailored air.
That said, the DB11 is no stuffy gentleman’s club lounge, as it heralds a new era of technology for the brand. In front of the tactile, but oddly square-looking steering wheel, for example, is a super-crisp TFT display system in place of traditional analogue instruments. The appearance alters depending on driving mode and it’s complemented by another display in the middle of the dashboard for the satellite navigation, etc. This is operated by a rotary controller and touch-sensitive pad, positioned prominently in the centre console and very easy to use.
But enough of all that. You’ve waited long enough to use the only control that matters right now, the crystal engine start button. Hold it down and you’re greeted to a guttural roar that could only be from a V8 petrol engine. There’s something stirringly alive about it, even when sitting still at idle. This is a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre engine, developed by Mercedes-AMG in Germany, and in the DB11 it puts over 500 horsepower and 675Nm of torque to the back wheels, enabling a 0-100km/h time of four seconds and a top speed of 300km/h.
We have no reason to doubt any of those figures, as the DB11 feels fast at all times, regardless of driving mode, gear or your mood. And yet, numbers seem to matter little to the whole experience. The roar from the exhausts, the direct steering, the figure-holding seats, the smile it all puts on your face—these things are not easy to quantify. The DB11 is an occasion no matter how long your journey or what type. There’s adaptive suspension to allow you to make it more comfortable for long drives or firmer for when you really want to drive. And you won’t want to stop driving it.
When you do park up and turn it off, the world seems to be turned to mute. Less interesting than it was minutes before. Did you ever think a machine could make you feel this way? Welcome to Aston Martin ownership. Welcome to the sublime Aston Martin DB11.
For more visit www.astonmartin.com
Image 01. Photo by Neue Luxury.
Image 02. Photo by Neue Luxury.
Image 03. Photo by Neue Luxury.
Image 04. Photo by Neue Luxury.
Image 05. Photo by Neue Luxury.
Image 06. Photo courtesy of Aston Martin.
Image 07. Photo courtesy of Aston Martin.