Change is the only constant in the world of luxury coupes, but some models have stood the test of time. As the successor to the Aston Martin DB9, the new DB11 has big shoes to fill. If you are wondering what happened to the DB10, the name was dropped from consideration due to the fundamental differences in the models. DB9 was the car that brought Aston Martin into the modern era. But customer expectations and automotive technology have seen major advances since 2004. With new owners in private equity and a 5% stake from Daimler, it was time to shed the compromises of the old design and develop a new car from the ground up. A clean-sheet redesign is one of the most expensive undertakings in the automotive world, but it lays the groundwork for decades of innovation.
Starting at the drawing board, Aston Martin have changed the way they build automobiles. Aston Martin has long been hesitant to adopt new construction methods for fear of losing the quality of a hand-built car. The new car is still mostly aluminum, but the compromises of the dated VH chassis are gone. Instead of riveted components, the new structure consists of laser cut panels that are bonded together at every edge. This allows for more cockpit room and a much stronger unibody. Since the car is stronger, the spring rates are more relaxed for a much softer ride. I had an opportunity to get behind the wheel last weekend for the Nashville Auto Show, without having to buy an Aston Martin DB11, as our friends at Music City Motorcars tossed me the keys.
Your first jaw-dropping moment when you buy an Aston Martin DB11 will be when you notive the quality of the interior. No details were overlooked, as the leather and machined metals are crafted into a work of art. Almost every surface is covered in seams of perfectly sewn hides. The pattern of the seats is book matched down the center line of the cockpit, it's almost too beautiful to sit in. Gone is the ancient interface, replaced by Mercedes infotainment and control systems. While other cars are embracing small V8 engines in the name of fuel economy, Aston Martin have added two turbochargers to an a new 5.2L V12. The previous powerplant was naturally aspirated and essentially two Ford Duratec V6 engines in close proximity. You can't deny its power or longevity, but 1996 technology can only go so far.The new engine makes 600 hp at 6,500 rpm along with 516 lb-ft of torque.
Shifting is handled by a ZF 8 speed automatic that uses a traditional torque converter. Remember when dual clutch transmissions were supposed to take over the world? Their weight and complexity are daunting challenges and the brutal shifts can add stress to your drive. The DB11 shifts quickly with a gentle indication while cruising, but it rips through the gears with brutal precision under full throttle. [soliloquy id="100928"] Turn in and braking are unlike any Aston Martin before it, and we hope this level of engineering and quality will find its way into their other models. Development of this car took longer than expected because they wanted to get it right, and if my weekend excursion is any preview of what is to come, we're excited to be able to sell such amazing automobiles. And that's why you should buy an Aston Martin DB11.