The 2018 Aston Martin DB11 is a blockbuster effort after years of low-budget attempts from the small automaker. The DB11 replaces a car that was growing old on the vine, and it selectively uses components from partner Mercedes-Benz. That, and a new stiffer chassis, make the DB11 a thoroughly modern grand tourer that sticks to Aston Martin’s traditional values of gorgeous looks and primal sounds.
We rate the 2018 Aston Martin DB11 a 7.4 out of 10, giving it points for its smooth and agile dynamics, its powerful and angry engines, and its beautiful looks inside and out. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
More: Read Motor Authority’s first drive of the 2018 Aston Martin DB11
Review continues below
The DB11 debuted for 2017 as a V-12-powered coupe. For 2018 it adds a V-8 engine from Mercedes-AMG, as well as a convertible that Aston Martin calls Volante. All models come with the same basic equipment.
The DB11 is a striking, sexy car. It’s bought as a statement of class and style. Curvaceous, and slender, the DB11 sits low to the ground. It’s wider, longer, and lower than the DB9 it replaces, and many of its exterior details are functional. Strakes behind the front wheels deflect high pressure away from the tires. Deep inlets behind the rear windows direct air into the DB11’s AeroBlade, which sends it through the through the decklid and out the back of the car to create a “virtual spoiler” that increases downforce and reduces drag.
Aston Martin’s other signature cue is a raucous, snarling engine note and both engines deliver it. Aston has replaced its naturally aspirated 6.0-liter V-12 with a twin-turbocharged 5.2-liter V-12 that makes 600 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. The other choice is a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8. It puts out 503 horses and 498 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission with standard steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.
Performance figures are close: with the V-12, the DB11 hits 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and tops out at 200 mph, while the V-8 vaults the car to 60 in 4.0 seconds and pushes it to a top speed of 187 mph.
While the V-12 has a bit of a power advantage, the V-8 weighs less, taking that weight off the nose and creating a car that handles better. In fact, the DB11 is much better dynamically than the DB9, offering a comfortable ride; quick, precise steering; stability at speed; and strong brakes. As a grand tourer, though, it lacks some track gear, like carbon ceramic brakes, a mechanical torque vectoring differential, or rear-axle steering.
Inside, the DB11 is covered in leather and Aston Martin lets buyers choose from a variety of colors. High-quality trim is on the docket, and Aston Martin has even made sure the sound the leather makes when rubbed is unique; the dials and knobs have their own signature sound, too.
The front seats are supremely comfortable, but the rear seats are best left for packages and lowering insurance rates.
While the DB11 comes well-equipped with features such as navigation, satellite radio, and a wi-fi hotspot, it does not offer any active safety features and it will never be crash tested. That’s OK because it would be a shame to ruin something so pretty.