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2020 Aston Martin DB11 Review: Exhilarating and Frustrating

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Auto123 reviews the charismatic 2020 Aston Martin DB11.

The DB11 follows in the illustrious tradition of models that have made the brand famous since James Bond first drove a DB5 onto the big screen. The current edition without a doubt one of the most beautiful cars on our roads right now.

In its AMR iteration, the DB11 can be had with either a V8 or V12 engine. The DB11 is also the most beautiful representation of what a GT car is. It's not a pure sports car bursting in adrenaline, and it also offers a surprising amount of comfort, along with a large reserve of power evident within. As a result, particularly of that last quality, the driving experience is frustrating; it's impossible to simply start exploiting the full potential of this vehicle on our roads.

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2020 Aston Martin DB11, profile
Photo: Aston Martin
2020 Aston Martin DB11, profile

So beautiful
Longer, wider and fitted with superior seats than the Vantage, the DB11 exudes the typical GT poise and delivers plenty of front seat space. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about the small rear seats, which are useful mainly for extra luggage or very young children.

To keep the car’s exterior lines clean and avoid having unsightly appendages hanging off and ruining the effect, Aston Martin used a few interesting tricks. Air flows along the body profile to first cool the brakes and then go through the rear and out through the trunk for downward pull at higher speeds. This helps avoids the need for a spoiler, which too often breaks the harmony of a beautiful design.

2020 Aston Martin DB11, three-quarters rear
Photo: B.Charette
2020 Aston Martin DB11, three-quarters rear
2020 Aston Martin DB11, interior
Photo: Aston Martin
2020 Aston Martin DB11, interior

Tradition and modernism inside
Facing the driver, the dials are digital, but keep an analog style in the presentation with a single display, with no possibility of configuring different menus in the style of Mercedes-Benz, for example. You thus have three circles with the rev counter in the centre. Case closed.

The steering wheel is draped with certain functions, notably the S button which controls the drivem ode you want to be in (GT (or Comfort), Sport, and Sport+). The large paddles mounted on the steering wheel automatically slide you into manual mode with a single touch and you return to automatic mode by holding the right paddle for three seconds or pressing the D button in the centre console.

As mentioned, we recommend you don’t torture your friends with a long trip and them in the back seats, unless you want to get rid of them as friends (well maybe that won’t happen, since you’re taking them for a spin in an Aston Martin after all). However, the front seats are spacious and even tall people will be comfortable.

2020 Aston Martin DB11, dashboard
Photo: Aston Martin
2020 Aston Martin DB11, dashboard
2020 Aston Martin DB11, second row
Photo: Aston Martin
2020 Aston Martin DB11, second row

A V8 with character
The original AMG V8 in our tester makes its presence felt as soon as you turn on the ignition, delivering a deep, cavernous sound that's also modulated according to driving style. In GT mode, the engine keeps a fairly discreet purr, but the cat turns into a tiger as soon as you switch to Sport or Sport+ mode. Then you’re treated to a flurry of sounds that sound like fireworks in deceleration. With 503 hp at your disposal, you're never short of power, but if you feel that’s lacking there's always the 630 hp of the V12. You can also listen to the symphony of the engine in an open-air concert by choosing the convertible version.

Keep in mind that on Canadian roads, with our low speed limits, it's impossible to test the potential of the DB11. That said, we did discern during our time with the DB11 a driving precision that is not as incisive as German models. There's not that surgical precision in steering and suspension at higher RPM; instead there’s a bit of hopping around. Like any good GT, this Aston Martin’s ideal playground is a long stretch of highway, not a road-race circuit.

But I circle back to my point regarding our speed limits: Below 120 km/h, you'll never have occasion to complain about its handling, let alone its temperament.

2020 Aston Martin DB11, front
Photo: B.Charette
2020 Aston Martin DB11, front

Who is a DB11 for?
Aston Martin delivers a different driving experience, there’s no doubt of that. David Brown, who bought Aston Martin and Lagonda in 1947, bequeathed his initials DB to the models that carry the DB11 designation today. And naturally enough, there's that very British composure at the wheel that puts comfort at the forefront. Precision enthusiasts will prefer a Porsche 911, and fans of flashy cars will go for a Lamborghini; Aston Martin exudes class and good taste.

The yellow of our test car was a little much, but that doesn't make it lose any of its unique style. In any case, if you're willing to plonk down $250,000 on a car, who are we to criticize you if you go for the yellow? You can do whatever you want.

We like

Grandly elegant
Expressive and powerful engine
High-quality interior
We like less

Quite heavy
Less sporty at high speeds

2020 Aston Martin DB11, rear
Photo: B.Charette
2020 Aston Martin DB11, rear

Road Tests and Reviews

2020 Aston Martin DB11
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