There are a handful of moments in life you’d be hard pressed ever to forget, and chasing a McLaren 570S through the National Park with an Aston Martin DB11 Launch Edition, is one of those. Don’t worry, the farcical fact that my buddy and I were darting through Sydney’s Southern Highlands in a million dollars worth of British engineering wasn’t lost on either of us. We laughed about it, while on the phone with each other from our respective supercars.
I mean, what are the chances that both you and a friend are heading to Trivett Bespoke on a Thursday morning to pick up a McLaren and an Aston Martin? And both in Silver? We decided it was an opportunity too good to miss.
While we didn’t set out to make a comparison of the two cars, it’s something we couldn’t help but discuss over the course of the day. A twin turbo V8 and twin turbo V12. Both incredible cars in their own right but very different cars at their core. One a super sports car, the other a super luxury car, separated by about 1 second to 100km/h and about 100,000 dollars.
On paper, a second seems like a big deal, on the track, it is a big deal. Where it isn’t a big deal, where it doesn’t matter in the slightest, is enjoying it every day, and I haven’t driven many cars that are more enjoyable than the Aston Martin DB11 Launch Edition.
The DB11’s new 447kW 5.2-litre twin turbo V12, also from Ford’s Cologne facility, is a triumph – one that Aston engineers are taking credit for. And they’ve got every reason to be pleased. For a car that feels unbelievably luxurious and ‘wafty’, almost Rolls-Royceish at times, you can access fathomless torque and take it to mind-boggling extremes, almost as if you are cheating the system with your allegedly cumbersome gentleman’s launch.
When you put your foot down, it’s easy to forget you’re in the Riva equivalent of the road car, quickly consumed by the insatiable growl of the V12 and a flick of the paddles. The actuated soundtrack is by no means the same erection enticing rumble from the 5.9 litre naturally aspirated unit in the Vanquish Volante I drove in the UK, but it’s beyond capable of making you lol. Three modes; GT, Sport and Sports Plus adjust the chassis, suspension, steering and soundtrack accordingly, offering razor sharp gear changes from the eight-speed gearbox in Sports Plus.
The Aston Martin DB11 handles speed as well as anything I’ve piloted, superbly poised and benefiting from the brand’s new technology Aeroblade (Aston have been working hard on their Aero with the development of the Valkyrie). Air flow is directed towards an opening at the car’s C-pillar and channelled into ducts within the bodywork. That air then exits out of a small opening on the boot lid, creating downforce similar to a rear wing. It’s an elegant solution to aerodynamics that allows the DB11 to reach a top speed of 322km/h.
Slowing the 1770kg beast from the catastrophic speeds, it’s so capable of achieving is a slightly more involved task, especially when you’re trying to keep up with a skilled driver in a McLaren. Once the brakes have warmed to your advances, they’re efficient enough for a very spirited drive, but I did wonder what carbon ceramics would bring to the table had they been on offer.
While I descended into Thirroul, I thought to myself where do Aston Martin go from here? What do they do with the next Vanquish due in 2018? I can only assume the defining theme between the forthcoming Vanquish and the DB11 will be raw aggression. Regarding suspension, weight, tuning and braking, they’ve certainly left some room to refine, but many will ask what the point is after driving the DB11.
When we climbed out of the cars at Scarborough Hotel, the first thing my friend in the 570S said was, ‘Holy shit, that car is no slouch!’ And he’s right, it’s far from it, and that in itself is an exciting prospect to consider.
Inside (and underneath) the Aston Martin DB11 is as stately as you’d imagine. Deserving hands sheathed in deerskin gloves, Edward Green Oxfords on the accelerator and nothing less than a vicuna overcoat to protect the seat from the Abalone shell buttons of your mohair trousers.
My test vehicle featured a rich blue leather interior, 1000w Bang and Olufsen sound system and embossed DB11 logo seats while the new touch-operated centre console performs without a moment of hesitation. Admittedly I was somewhat disappointed to see yet another car featuring the Mercedes infotainment controls.
To me, the Aston Martin DB11 Launch Edition is absolutely everything Aston Martin Lagonda is about, pedigree, grace, luxury and 12 glorious cylinders. It’s a fabulous successor to the DB9 and a superb foundation to an exciting new generation of cars from the storied British manufacturer. Finally, with a starting price from $395,000 (my test model was $462,000 plus on roads, roughly $502,000) I think it presents itself as an alluring package. Happy to step up to its performance orientated brethren through the bends and even more pleased to give it a lesson in luxury afterwards.
Configure your own Aston Martin DB11 Launch Edition at Aston Martin.