Driven

Driven: Aston Martin DB11

What guy doesn’t want to be James Bond? In terms of the good looks, the women, the clothes, the money, the British accent, the license to kill and the car, I’m pretty close. Well, at least I got to drive the car for a short time.

The new Aston Martin DB11 hasn’t appeared in a Bond film yet because it’s so new, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it shows up in the next one. The styling of the DB11 is unmistakably Aston Martin, but a contrasting strip is a new design element, and the rear styling is a bit more angular and edgy. It’s still stunningly beautiful and sexy with a luxurious leather interior and the roar of its ridiculously powerful 600-horsepower, V12 engine. This is a car you can take to the country club and the track.

The suspension and steering are adjustable independent of the transmission, so you can tailor your sport/comfort preferences to meet particular driving conditions. In GT mode, it’s quite comfortable and the shifting is smooth. Crank it up to Sport or Sport+, and the DB11 becomes an ultra high-performance beast you want to drive hard. It represents Aston Martin’s first use of a turbocharged engine, and good engineering has incorporated it seamlessly with nary a trace of turbo lag. Power seems endless, and thanks to almost instantaneous throttle response, there’s always more than enough when you stomp on the skinny pedal. You reach 60 mph in under 4 seconds. In automatic mode, the transmission can kick down a gear or two to give you the desired acceleration, or you can use the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel to select your own gears.

Handling is superb, especially when you tighten up the suspension. Steering is tight and precise; the stiff suspension keeps the body flat even in extreme cornering. It feels like it’s on rails. Brakes are excellent and fully capable of pulling you back from astronomical speeds. Dynamic stability control ensures that, at worst, you’ll be shaken—not stirred—if you overdo it.

Instead of a traditional gearshift lever, the DB11 has buttons on the center console for transmission mode selection. The start/stop engine button offers a ‘quiet mode’ if you don’t want to subject your neighbors to the engine’s loud roar. Gauges are on a virtual video screen that displays much more than just your speed. A larger, 8-inch screen at the top of the center console is controlled by a remote rotary knob and displays infotainment data and camera images. Parking sensors are also a great help. A touch panel has ‘buttons’ to control the dual-automatic climate system, heated and cooled seats, and most radio functions, though volume and tuning knobs are lacking. A volume control button on the steering wheel compensates. Sumptuous leather and wood accents lend characteristic British charm and class throughout the cockpit.

Technically, there is a rear seat, but its use should be reserved for transporting toddlers or torturing bad guys. The trunk is also of modest size, and the opening is not very large, but it could probably fit a set of golf clubs. According to David Humphrey, brand manager at Aston Martin St. Louis, part of St. Louis Motorsports, “The DB11 is the standard-bearer of an all-new generation of Aston Martins. It’s the most beautiful, powerful and efficient DB in the company’s history.”

If you’re willing to give up 100 horsepower to save a few dollars, a V8 version of the DB11 will be out next year.

aston martin db11

price
Base | $233,500 including delivery
As driven with options | $253,500

gas mileage
city | 15
highway | 21

drivetrain
front engine, rear-wheel drive
5.2-litre, twin-turbo V12 engine
600 horsepower
8-speed automatic transmission

Robert Paster (robertpaster.com) is also an attorney in private practice, concentrating in estate planning and probate.

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