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Aston Martin DB11.

BT_20170211_DRIVE11B-H_2735443.jpg
Aston Martin DB11.

Quantum Leap

From styling and construction, to power and technology, the Aston Martin DB11 is new in every way.
Feb 11, 2017 5:50 AM

It is instantly recognisable as an Aston Martin but instead of sensuous, the styling is now muscular.

And instead of just the familiar luxury features, there are new innovations and technology.

In fact, there are so many firsts for the DB11 that it is not just a new model that replaces the DB9 but a quantum leap.

As an iconic brand, the Aston Martin has the usual attributes of heritage and tradition. But the DB11 has also embraced a more modern set of qualities, namely engineering, aerodynamics and a technology partner called Daimler.

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The manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz has supplied the DB11 with its electrics, so if the graphics of the eight-inch centre display and its touchpad controller look familiar, you know why. And the instrument cluster is actually the 12-inch display from the S-Class but split into three screens.

With the new electronics come new digitised functions, such as enhanced navigation and speech recognition.

But while the engineering is now German, the styling, craftsmanship, handling and exclusivity remain quintessentially British.

The DB11's new bonded aluminium body structure with magnesium doors is 34 kg lighter and 15 per cent stiffer.

The 2+2 is only marginally larger than the DB9, but with a wheelbase that has been stretched 65 mm to 2,805 mm, allowing the deeply set pair of rear seats to accommodate adults up to 1.65 metres in height.

The one-piece front-hinged clamshell bonnet wraps around the front fenders so that no shutlines mar the smoothness of the wide nose with its imposingly large front grille.

Even more fascinating is the DB11's aerodynamics. To avoid ungainly wings sticking out, airflow is channelled into wheel arches or rear pillars, and even through the boot lid, where a slim retractable rear spoiler aids downforce at high speed.

Under the hood is an in-house developed 5.2-litre twin turbo V12 engine - the first Aston Martin with forced induction. Also for the first time, cylinder deactivation is incorporated, with each bank of six cylinders taking turns to shut down and improve consumption and emissions.

The unit produces 600 hp and delivers it to the rear wheels via an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission.

Unlike previous naturally aspirated V12s where maximum torque arrived closer to 5,000 rpm, the DB11's 700 Newton-metres of torque is available much earlier at 1,500 rpm. So instead of languid, this new Aston Martin is more aggressive. For the first time, there is electric power steering, which sharpens the DB11 and also supports auto park assist. Also debuting is torque vectoring to brake the inner wheels and minimise understeer in a corner.

But turbocharging and a full stainless steel exhaust mean the trademark Aston Martin bark now sounds different.

Despite its sportier focus, it remains a luxurious grand tourer which will do its best to glide over bad roads on 20-inch wheels.

The DB11's adaptive damping is never harsh, even in Sport + mode, the most extreme of three modes which includes GT and Sport.

The suspension settings are separate from those for the engine/throttle/exhaust, which also offer the same three stages using buttons on the steering wheel.

And comfort is so important that the climate control is GPS-linked so that the dual-zone aircon will adjust the temperature setting accordingly depending on the orientation of the sun.

But that is not the only thing about the Aston Martin DB11 that surprises. Build quality is improved, and Aston Martin promises reliability has too. With the latest equipment and features, the British marque hopes to expand the gender and age profiles of its buyers, allowing it to reach out to women and a younger set.

If it can do that, the DB11 will truly be a quantum leap.


ASTON MARTIN DB11 LAUNCH EDITION

Engine 5,204cc V12 turbocharged

Gearbox 8-speed automatic transmission

Max power 600 hp @ 6,500 rpm

Max torque 700 Nm @ 1,500-5,000 rpm

0-100 kmh 3.9 secs

Top speed 322 kmh

CO2 emissions 265 g/km

Average OMV S$230,000

Price S$899,000 (w/o COE)

Distributor Wearnes Automotive. T: 6430-4888

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