Aston’s DB9 replacement sits on a new structure, packs a new 600bhp twin-turbo V12, covers 0-62mph in 3.9sec, hits 200mph and costs £154,900
This is the new Aston Martin DB11, hailed by its maker as “the most powerful, efficient and dynamically gifted DB model” in the firm’s 103-year history. The first product from Aston’s ‘second century’ expansion plan, the DB11 features a new engine and body structure, fresh styling, improved packaging and motorsport-derived aerodynamic features. Following its public unveiling at this week’s Geneva motor show, the front-engined, rearwheel-drive grand tourer can be ordered now, priced from £154,900.
NEW V12 ENGINE
Perhaps the stand-out feature in this most significant of new Astons is located under the one-piece clamshell bonnet. Designed and built in-house by a team led by chief powertrain engineer Brian Fitzsimons, the new twin-turbocharged 5204cc V12 is the most powerful unit yet fitted to a DB road car. Its 600bhp and 516lb ft outputs are sufficient to accelerate the DB11 from zero to 62mph in 3.9sec and on to a top speed of 200mph. It’s also the first series-production Aston Martin to use a twinturbo unit.
The DB11 doesn’t have a synthesised system to augment the engine noise. The new engine sends its power to the DB11’s rear axle via a ZF eight-speed paddle shift torque-converter automatic gearbox. The car features a mechanical limited-slip differential with active torque vectoring, the latter a being first for Aston Martin. Aston hasn’t revealed official figures, but it is targeting a 20% improvement in fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions over the DB9. That should equate to combined economy of about 24mpg and CO2 emissions of roughly 270g/km. Key to that dramatic improvement is a host of technology including variable valve timing, stop-start and intelligent bank activation, which shuts down six cylinders during periods of light throttle usage.
Aston set its engineering team the target of creating a body structure that is lighter, stronger and more space-efficient than the one that underpins the DB11’s predecessor, the DB9. Using a mix of new bonded aluminium pressings, extrusions and castings, the structure “sets new standards for mass versus stiffness”. The new DB11 is longer, wider and lower than the DB9, at 4739mm long, 2060mm wide and 1279mm tall. Additionally, the wheelbase is 65mm longer, with Aston emphasising the car’s capabilities as a true 2+2 grand tourer. Compared with the DB9, the front and rear track widths have increased by 75mm and 43mm respectively, and overall width has been extended by 28mm.
The front overhang has been reduced by 16mm and the rear overhang increased by 11mm, with an overall gain in length of 50mm. By making the wheelbase 65mm longer than that of the DB9, Aston has been able to mount the V12 further back in the chassis to improve weight distribution to 51% front and 49% rear. The body panels are made from a mix of pressed aluminium (for the clamshell bonnet, roof and doors), composite material (the rear haunches, front wings and rear decklid assembly) and injection-moulded plastic (the front and rear bumpers, sills, front splitter and rear diffuser).
The new car’s chassis, suspension, steering and electronics have been completely reworked under the watch of ex-Lotus handling guru Matt Becker, now Aston’s chief of vehicle attribute engineering. Aston’s target was to give the DB11 a broad range of capabilities. Using a steering wheel-mounted button, the driver can select from three dynamic modes — GT, Sport and Sport Plus — which progressively intensify the responses of the engine, transmission, electric power steering and torque vectoring by braking system.
A separate button also increases the firmness of the Bilstein adaptive dampers. The DB11 rides on 20in tyres and wheels as standard. Its Bridgestone tyres have a bespoke tread pattern, construction and compound.
Electric power-assisted steering has been incorporated to offer greater scope for tuning and improvements in fuel efficiency.