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Aston Martin DB11 review – engine, gearbox and technical highlights

All DB11s are built from an aluminium spaceframe chassis with either a front-mid mounted V8 or V12

Evo rating
from £147,900
  • Superb powertrains; interior materials; that peerless image
  • Interior tech way behind the curve; diminishing returns with the V12

The DB11 comes in both V8 and V12 flavours. Like the VantageDBX and the new DB12, the base DB11’s 4-litre twin-turbo V8 is the same M177 AMG unit that features in a big cross section of AMG models. While it may sound a tad less exotic than the V12, if you’re going to share an engine with someone, it might as well be the best, and AMG’s V8 is close to it.

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Power has been modulated from the original’s 503bhp, now sitting at 528bhp which is a unique rating within the Aston Martin and AMG ranges. Even with the extra grunt, the V8 feels under-stressed and good for its claimed performance figures, with its 498lb ft of torque peaking at just 2000rpm.

The V12 is all Aston Martin by comparison. It’s a bespoke twin-turbo, all-alloy, quad-cam, 48-valve, 5.2-litre V12 found only in this and the flagship DBS Superleggera. It outputs 630bhp and 516lb ft which represent a big on-paper jump over the V8 models. 

In order to keep in compliance with increasingly stringent emissions regulations, the V12 has cylinder deactivation (Intelligent Bank Activation in Aston speak) and stop-start. 

Drive on all models is sent to the rear wheels via ZF’s ubiquitous but very good eight-speed automatic gearbox. Unusually, the gearbox is mounted on the rear axle for a typical GT-like weight distribution, and the prop shaft is made of carbonfibre to keep the driveline as free of inertia as possible. There is also a mechanical limited-slip diff, and active torque vectoring using the brakes, which are iron as standard.

Aston Martin’s VH-II aluminium platform underpins the DB11 alongside the DBS and Vantage. This bonded and riveted structure remains stiffer and lighter than a traditional aluminium one, being inspired by Lotus, and subsequently adopted by Polestar for its next-generation EVs.

Connected to this underlying structure is a double wishbone suspension set-up on all four corners, giving the DB11 excellent wheel travel and an excellent base to tune the standard adaptive dampers and coil springs. There’s no air springs or active anti-roll systems here like you’ll find in a Bentley Continental GT as there’s just not enough mass to require it – which is a very good thing.

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