Aston Martin DB11 review – traditional GT with traditional appeal

Few modern cars are more opulent and luxurious. It’s not the most capable GT on sale, but has its own distinct appeal

Evo rating
Price
from £147,900
  • Superb powertrains; interior materials; that peerless image
  • Interior tech way behind the curve; diminishing returns with the V12

Aston Martin’s gone through something of a challenging period since the DB11’s launch back in 2016. Stagnant sales, over-expenditure, a disastrous floating on the stock market and a revolving door of CEOs have dominated the news cycle, landing the iconic brand once again into a situation it would rather not be in. And yet throughout this tricky time, and the ones it’s been through before, there’s always been a constant. The traditional 2+2 GT.

Aston Martin’s DB11 doesn’t stray far from the proven recipe, offering a choice of either V8 or V12 engines, both now turbocharged and mated to an automatic transmission powering the rear wheels. There’s also an open-top Volante variant, but all channel the same undeniable ‘Britishness’ that has come to define Aston Martin as much as its tedious James Bond link.

Being at the core of the Aston Martin range, it’s surrounded by the smaller and more aggressive Vantage, flagship DBS Superleggera and the DBX SUV, yet Aston’s future path looks set to upend this tradition, and with mid-engined supercars, EVs and a closer relationship than ever to its F1 operations.

So is the DB11 still a relevant model in Aston’s range, or is it the Grand Tourer itself that’s at risk of extinction? Performance saloons and estates, and even the occasional SUV strike a fine compromise to arguably greater effect today, leaving the traditional GT car with just one ace up its sleeve.

That ace is style. Only a GT can offer the sort of glamour and presence typically associated with its most illustrious predecessors – floating down to the French Rivera just isn’t quite the same in a fast German estate. This is something the DB11 along with only a few direct rivals still pull off, and it’s what keeps Aston Martin’s creation relevant in a high-end market where trends generally reign supreme.

Aston Martin DB11: in detail

  • Engine, gearbox and technical highlights > All DB11s are built from an aluminium space-frame chassis with either a front mid-mounted V8 or V12
  • Performance and 0-60mph time > All DB11s have huge performance. Both V8 and V12 models use their excess of torque to impressive effect
  • Ride and Handling > Refreshingly free of performance car rhetoric, the DB11 resolutely sticks to the GT brief. The DB11 is capable, but not quite as multi-talented as some rivals
  • MPG and running costs > Efficiency is not the DB11’s strong point, economy ranging between 18 and 24mpg on paper, which you’ll struggle to match on the road
  • Interior and tech > Ambiance is unmatched, with stunning materials and leatherwork that could only come from the UK. Tech, well, hmm…
  • Design > The DB11’s been left almost entirely unchanged since launch, but it’s aged remarkably well

Prices, specs and rivals

An Aston Martin is always reassuringly expensive, especially when in four-seater form, and the DB11 is no different. The V8 model will set you back from £147,900, with the soft-top Volante model costing an extra £12k at £159,900. The AMR starts at a more substantial £174,995, but given its homegrown V12 engine and chassis upgrades seems like a reasonable increase. Aston Martin won’t sell you a V12-powered DB11 Volante, but the £225,000 DBS is now available if you want the ultimate V12 drop-top experience.

Given Aston Martin doesn’t have a big parent company to lean on, it does perhaps lack some of the modern-car technology one would expect, like matrix headlights or autonomous driving aids, but Aston makes up for this with an exceptionally high standard of material quality and the world of bespoke touches that only smaller companies can provide. There’s an impressive array of standard finishes inside and out, but get creative with Aston’s Q personalisation department and the possibilities are almost endless.

Two new Italian rivals have also come onto the scene. The Ferrari Roma is a powerhouse of a coupe, with more sporting connotations than many in the class, paired to stunning build quality, a clean and modern design and Ferrari’s usual cache. It’s more expensive than its V8-powered British counterparts, but then not by as much as you’d expect. Maserati’s also back in the GT game after a small hiatus, offering its new V6 or full-EV GranTurismo.

The V6-powered model is expected to undercut its rivals on price, but  comes with just as much power and torque, features a new active all-wheel-drive system, and looks just as distinguishing as before. Yet it’s the Folgore EV that’s perhaps the biggest disruptor in the class, as it will outperform all these rivals with a 750bhp tri-motor set-up. We’ll have to see how much of the ‘GT’ vibe is retained when you swap pistons for protons, but it’s a very intriguing prospect.

More on DB11

2020 Aston Martin DB11 AMR review
Aston Martin DB11 coupe

2020 Aston Martin DB11 AMR review

We were less than impressed when we drove the original DB11 V12. So what exactly has happened in the transformation to this more potent AMR version to…
30 May 2020
Aston Martin DB11 AMR revealed
Aston Martin DB11 AMR - front tracking
Aston Martin DB11 coupe

Aston Martin DB11 AMR revealed

New aesthetics and tweaked internals feature in Aston's Martin DB11 AMR flagship
11 May 2018
Startech Aston Martin DB11
Startech Aston Martin DB11 – front quarter
Aston Martin DB11 coupe

Startech Aston Martin DB11

Refinement specialist Startech to debut its upgraded DB11 at the 2018 Geneva motor show.
5 Mar 2018
Aston Martin DB11 Volante review - the DB11 at its best?
Aston Martin DB11 Volante
Aston Martin DB11 coupe

Aston Martin DB11 Volante review - the DB11 at its best?

The sweetest DB11 to drive so far, and a chunk more practical than the last Volante, as well.
19 Feb 2018
Aston Martin recalls DB11
Aston Martin DB11 coupe

Aston Martin recalls DB11

The issue that saw over a million Mercedes and Infinitis needing to be recalled affects Aston Martins too
23 Jan 2018
Aston Martin DB11 vs Aston Martin Vanquish S
Aston Martin DB11 - rear quarter
Aston Martin DB11 coupe

Aston Martin DB11 vs Aston Martin Vanquish S

The Vanquish S and DB11 are both V12-engined super-GTs, but one is naturally aspirated, the other is the first turbocharged Aston Martin.
20 Dec 2017
Aston Martin DB11 V8 review
Aston Martin DB11 V8 - rear
Aston Martin DB11 coupe

Aston Martin DB11 V8 review

Addition of Mercedes V8 means same performance as V12 for less cash, while chassis modifications have sharpened the driving experience
26 Sep 2017
Aston Martin DB11 Volante spied on the 'Ring
SPY - Aston Martin DB11 Volante 5
Aston Martin DB11 coupe

Aston Martin DB11 Volante spied on the 'Ring

Aston Martin's DB11 boulevard cruiser to hit showrooms next year
17 May 2017
Aston Martin DB11 vs Bentley Continental GT Speed
Aston Martin DB11 coupe

Aston Martin DB11 vs Bentley Continental GT Speed

With input from Mercedes-AMG, can the new DB11 help Aston Martin seriously challenge the Bentley Continental in the luxury GT market?
27 Feb 2017
Aston Martin to debut bespoke DB11 by Q at Geneva
Aston Martin DB11 coupe

Aston Martin to debut bespoke DB11 by Q at Geneva

Personalisation service has turned its hand to the DB11; will go on show alongside Vanquish S and AM-RB 001
22 Feb 2017