Aston Martin’s DB11: A first-class Grand Tourer that can handle it all

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The new DB11 Coupe has been tagged as ‘the Aston Martin you’ve been waiting for’. In fact, many Aston Martin fans have been waiting with bated breath since the announcement that the classic lines of the DB9 would be replaced with this new Grand Tourer.

With talk of major changes, Aston Martin had some big boots to fill, as the DB9 was heralded as one of the most beautiful cars on sale at any price. With a statement like that, I was keen to see what the team of designers had up their sleeves.

As I’m sure many of you will agree, first impressions are vital, especially when you are spending supercar money. With Aston Martin having regularly been voted as the ‘coolest UK brand’, I think it’s safe to say that my expectations were high as I arrived at Jacksons Jersey dealership.

I am also a huge fan of UK car manufacturers, having recently been won over by the Jaguar F-Pace. As I made my way towards the silhouette of the DB11 Coupe, I could sense that I was in for a treat.

There are a few simple rules when it comes to car design. One of the most important ones being does the car look good when it’s stationary? In the DB11’s case it looks better than good. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that it’s a work of art.

Chief creative officer Marek Reichman and his team have somehow created something familiar yet unique, which will please loyal supporters of the brand as well as attracting many new customers. It is safe to say that its presence gives a very clear message. This is a serious Grand Tourer, built for crossing countries as well as parishes.

Time to get technical. If you are in the market for a supercar or GT car, and considering the Aston Martin DB11, then the first decision you will have to make is V8 or V12? My best advice is to seriously consider both, as there are various benefits on either side, especially when it comes to pure power as well as balance, feel and – of course – noise.

I was lucky enough to drive the V8 Coupe on this occasion, which at just over £123,000 is the slightly cheaper option and perfectly suited to both Jersey and any European road trip you may wish to throw at it.

When it comes to engines the new technical partnership between Aston Martin and Daimler has resulted in the use of the AMG 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 with an impressive 503 horsepower.

And it sounds exactly as you would expect, with the mix of raw power and the spine-tingling barking and popping on the over run. The V8 is a compact and very well packaged unit, with the turbochargers sitting in the V between the cylinders of the engine. The engine also sits further back behind the front wheels for better weight distribution.

With a 0-62 mph time of 4 seconds and a top speed of 187 mph, the numbers are still impressive. However they are overshadowed ever so slightly by the V12’s performance.

With all-new suspension, a stiffer subframe and various other handling tweaks, the V8 experience is impressive to say the least.

What does this mean on Jersey’s roads you might ask? The answer to that is that you have the opportunity to use the engine’s fantastic torque. The stop and go nature of driving in Jersey is dealt with easily and efficiently, and as for comfort, there are three suspension options available at the touch of a button which enable you to easily select the drivability and comfort level you require. The classic Aston Martin bodywork styling is back with a number of aerodynamic developments which will increase stability and therefore drivability at high speed. All of which have been added without spoiling the car’s gorgeous shape.

With its low roofline and seemingly small side windows you’d be mistaken for thinking that interior space might have been compromised. However, you’d be wrong. Being 6 ft, I was impressed with the huge amount of space and what can only be described as a perfect driving position.

As expected, the interior is up there with the very best that Aston Martin have created. There are multiple fabric and colour options both inside and out, new digital dials and a large screen with touchpad controls.

I was surprised with how suited the DB11 was to the tight Jersey roads. Visibility, both front and rear, was excellent, with the long front end easy to place both in cornering and slow-moving traffic.

One area that does require a special mention is the gearbox. The car’s electronic brain deals impressively well with all sorts of downshift requests on the paddles behind the steering wheel, allowing either multi or single downshifts depending on road speed and brake pressure applied by the driver. For the tech geeks amongst you, it really is a thing of beauty.

Having competed against Aston Martin in the world Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans during my time with Ferrari, I have first-hand experience of the passion and racing pedigree that the brand represents.

It’s been a real treat to be able to sample the latest road-going offering from such an iconic British manufacturer. I can honestly say that given any choice of GT… this would be it.

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