Design //

AUTOLUST | 2017 Aston Martin DB11

The Aston Martin DB11 jumps over its cinematic sisters and emerges as the automaker's new standard in luxury performance coupes.

John Scott Lewinskiby John Scott Lewinski

Over the years, the Aston Martin DB series existed in two realms — the reality of elite performance luxury cars and the adventurous world of 007. James Bond may have owned a Bentley in the novels of Ian Fleming, and he might’ve wandered a bit over the years to a BMW or a Mustang, but — from Goldfinger to Spectre – he’s always been an Aston Martin man in his heart

The two realms never crossed over more than in the last year, when Aston Martin’s DB line ran from showrooms to Q’s MI6 labs and back again. The DB9 was a beloved favorite for Aston Martin fans, a benchmark for speed, sophistication and comfort for more than 12 years. However, when the time came to move on to the DB’s next evolutionary stage, the model stepped exclusively into fiction.

The classic DB5 existed in both worlds, as Aston Martin gifted the production of Goldfinger with the car before the demands of cinematic exploits added rotating license plates and an ejector seat. In the most recent Bond film, Spectre, Daniel Craig was the exclusive owner of the DB10 – as car buyers could only behold on screen. As originally designed by the manufacturer, it lacked rear-mounted guns and flamethrowers, but Q got it up to speed to bring 007 home safely. True to form, Bond left the car wrecked in the Tiber River, so the DB10 was extremely short lived.

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Aston Martin now brings its masterpiece away from spies and femmes fatales and back to real world pavement with the DB11. When the $211,995 car arrives in the fourth quarter of this year, it will offer a fresh, sleek design language. It’s ridiculous to say that a car can look better than the DB9, but it’s in keeping with Aston Martin’s aspirational brand to keep the look of its cars evolving. A bonded aluminum frame maintains structural rigidity while removing weight.

This is an important car for Aston Martin because it’s the first machine of the automaker’s “Second Century” plan — kicking off a theme of looking to the future of the brand. So, the styling of DB11 brings on some changes. First, there’s a front-hinging “clamshell” hood and new LED headlights. Fortunately, the immediately identifiable grille is still on station. There are echoes of the big screen DB10 within the DB11’s long, sloping lines from stem to stern, while strong haunches with newly sculpted taillights finish the aerodynamic line of the car.

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Under the bonnet, the vehicle packs every bit of the power Bond would demand with a fresh, Aston Martin designed 5.2 liter, twin-turbocharged V12 engine married to an eight speed automatic ZF transmission with paddle shifters. Current numbers say that the power plant delivers 600 horsepower at a top speed of 200 mph and a 0-62 mph time of 3.9 seconds. To make the power as efficient as possible, the DB11’s chassis, suspension, steering and electronics are all new and tuned to the special V12.

The onboard AI provides three driver-selectable modes: GT, Sport and Sport Plus. Aston Martin doesn’t mess around with terms like “Normal” or “Eco,” so GT plays up the luxury elements of the DB11 for maximum comfort and sophistication, while the Sport and Sport Plus modes ramp up the performance, tuning the engine’s efficiency and sharpening the handling by adjusting the torque vectoring and firming up the adaptive damping. Aston Martin’s intelligent bank activation keeps the car balanced in motion, while stop-start technology saves fuel in what is otherwise a thirsty engine. You don’t build V-12s for weeds wringing their hands over climate change or Suzy Temp on a budget worried about buying premium gas.

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Inside the cockpit, there’s a sweeping technological collection to enhance driving comfort and convenience. Designed in a partnership with Daimler, Aston Martin fits the DB11 with a 12-inch TFT LCD display to monitor car function options. A separate eight inch TFT screen handles the infotainment. A new satellite navigation and audio system uses via a rotary control with an optional touchpad providing multi-touch and gesture control support.

The front seats are hand-stitched leather and power adjustable with additional legroom. Only actual in-car testing will indicate how effective or necessary the back seats are. In the gorgeous DB9, you could maybe squeeze a vent doll into those rear seats. I always believed Aston Martin had to make that natural two-seater into a four because of insurance reasons. But, I can’t prove that. Regardless, that promise of more leg room should make life more comfortable for all concerned passengers.

Since few buyers grab any Aston Martin off a showroom floor, each DB11 can be personalized with the company’s extensive bespoke color and detailing options — making this latest DB more of a pricey personally statement than mere transportation.

Explore the 2017 Aston Martin DB11 inside and out via the gallery below:

All photos courtesy Aston Martin.