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Aston Martin DB11 review – ride and handling

The DB11 is hugely capable; less thrilling than its DB12 successor, but able to transport you and a friend to the Italian lakes without breaking sweat

Evo rating
Price
from £147,900
  • Lovely chassis balance; effortless performance; sumptuous materials
  • Not as rounded and competent as rivals; build quality lacking

The DB11 is most definitely a GT car. There’s plenty of depth in the suspension travel, which gives it a wonderfully relaxed feeling over bigger bumps. It makes the DB11 a very nice place to do a long journey in, which is right on target for its GT mantra. Despite this focus, the DB11 still has that underlying quality of engineering and set-up defined by Matt Becker-era Astons, meaning it doesn’t wilt when the roads get challenging.

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The steering is surprisingly quick, and the inherent balance of the chassis is tenable. Throw the DB11 into a fast corner and you get this wonderful feeling of the car leaning into its outside rear wheel and encouraging you to get on the throttle early to drive hard through a corner. It really does inspire confidence, and even over the limit never feels as intimidating as the car’s size or price might infer.

Push the front end hard on a slightly tighter road and you will hear the front tyres chirrup as they reach their limits, but the long nose never washes out indiscriminately. There isn’t a great deal of feel through the steering, but it is accurate and there’s a definite sense of solidity and connection that allows you to push the big car surprisingly hard.

Only on a bumpy British B-road does the DB11 feel less happy being hustled because although the fundamental balance remains, the rapid-fire nature of the bumps means the damping doesn’t always have time to really control the long travel between hits. Because it’s not ruthlessly tied down it can also feel a little floaty as it moves through its suspension on turn-in; not something that the altogether tighter, more aggressive DB12 suffers with. The flip side is that some might prefer the DB11's more relaxing demeanour during day-to-day use.

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> Aston Martin DBS review

The V12 engine is mighty and really gets into its stride around 4000rpm. In fact, the mid-range is where you have to live to get the best from the V12. It can often feel tempting to downshift an extra gear on the way into a corner, but you’re better off leaning on the readily available mid-range torque and leaving yourself more headroom with the revs as the V12 doesn’t have an expansive top end to reach into like the naturally aspirated cars of old. Move up to the Sport or Sport Plus settings and the exhaust note comes alive, too. The double glazing muffles the sound a bit inside the car (as it’s meant to) but the soundtrack is most definitely distinctly Aston, despite the addition of the turbochargers.

The V8 model by comparison trades on a finer balance; with less mass in front of the driver to manage, it turns in with a little more enthusiasm and verve, even if the grip levels are mostly even.

In any form, the DB11 is a rather lovely thing. In our experiences, it’s proved a great car for eating the miles across Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Italy and was then very enjoyable on the more flowing roads of Tuscany when we got there. Tighter, bumpier roads are not really its thing, but that’s fine. The DB11 is the GT, and when it comes to fitness for purpose none hits quite the same notes in quite the same way.

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