The DB11 is now avail­able with an Amg-sourced V8 en­gine. Si­mon Davis heads to Spain to put the eye-catch­ing GT through its paces

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - News - SI­MON DAVIS

WHAT IS IT? To dis­miss the DB11 V8 as an en­try-level ver­sion of As­ton Martin’s lat­est grand tourer wouldn’t be en­tirely fair. Sure, with a re­tail price of £144,900 it’s £13,000 cheaper than its V12-pow­ered stable­mate, but ac­cord­ing to As­ton this is an en­tirely dif­fer­ent beast.

While the full-fat DB11 V12 was de­signed for cross­ing con­ti­nents in supreme com­fort at a sig­nif­i­cant rate of knots, As­ton Martin claims the V8 model is the one to go for if you’re a keen driver.

Yes, it’s about 100bhp down on the V12, but the lack of those four ex­tra cylin­ders right over the front of the car mean the V8 is 115kg lighter, and it also means this par­tic­u­lar As­ton Martin has a weight dis­tri­bu­tion of 49:51 as op­posed to its big brother’s 51:49.

WHAT’S NEW? The clue is in the name. The most im­por­tant change with the DB11 V8 is, well, the V8. As­ton Martin got its hands on the Amg-sourced unit thanks to its work­ing re­la­tion­ship with the Daim­ler Group. But more on this phe­nom­e­nal en­gine later.

Aside from that new en­gine, the changes you get with the DB11 V8 are rather sub­tle. Aes­thet­i­cally, its darker head­lamp bezels, dif­fer­ent vents in the bon­net, and darker tail lights are the main al­ter­ations the more ea­gle-eyed will pick out. These changes have been in­tro­duced to give the DB11 V8 a slightly more sport­ing and ath­letic im­age than the V12 model.

WHAT’S UN­DER THE BON­NET? Al­though the DB11’S V8 en­gine may have been sourced from Mercedes’ slightly mad in-house tuners AMG, it hasn’t just been dropped into the Bri­tish grand tourer as is. As­ton Martin has fit­ted its own air in­take, ex­haust and wet sump lu­bri­ca­tion sys­tems, and has worked to “As­tonise” the Ger­man en­gine.

The re­sult of this tin­ker­ing is a 4.0-litre, twin-tur­bocharged V8 that de­vel­ops 503bhp and 675Nm of torque. This al­lows the DB11 to com­plete the bench­mark sprint from 0-60mph in just 3.8 sec­onds, while its top speed sits at 187mph. For per­spec­tive, the V12 DB11 will com­plete the same sprint in 3.7 sec­onds, so the V8 won’t ex­actly be left for dead by its more ex­pen­sive stable­mate.

While this likely won’t be a huge con­cern for As­ton Martin own­ers, the DB11 V8 trumps the V12 model as far as fuel econ­omy and CO2 emis­sions are con­cerned. Where the V12 man­ages 24.8mpg on the com­bined cy­cle, the V8 will do 28.5mpg. CO2 emis­sions for the V8 stand at 230g/km, while the V12 rises to 265g/km.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? In a word, the DB11 V8 is sub­lime. As­ton Martin has built a thor­oughly ac­com­plished GT car that’s not only dev­as­tat­ingly quick in a straight line, but se­ri­ously im­pres­sive through the twisty stuff as well.

The steer­ing is pre­cise and has a healthy weight to it, al­low­ing you to point the car’s nose into a bend safe in the knowl­edge that it won’t sud­denly wash out. As­ton has also worked a trick with the DB11’S damp­ing. The set-up is soft enough to al­low the car to ride com­fort­ably over im­per­fec­tions in the sur­face of the road, but firm enough to min­imise body roll through fast cor­ners.

Out on the mo­tor­way, the DB11 re­ally comes into its el­e­ment. It sim­ply eats the miles up, and is an in­cred­i­bly com­fort­able car to cover great dis­tances in. The V8 en­gine has power on tap, and even in sev­enth gear it pulls as­ton­ish­ingly well.

HOW DOES IT LOOK? If there’s one thing an As­ton Martin has to be, it’s beau­ti­ful, and the DB11 is cer­tainly a stun­ning thing to look at. Where its sis­ter car, the Van­quish, is far more ag­gres­sive in its ap­pear­ance, the DB11 is a much more el­e­gant and classy GT.

WHAT’S IT LIKE IN­SIDE? Any­one who has spent time in a Mercedes will no doubt be met with a sense of deja vu, due to the infotainment sys­tem be­ing lifted straight from the Ger­man man­u­fac­turer’s model line-up (an­other fruit of As­ton and Daim­ler’s re­la­tion­ship).

Past that, though, the DB11 is all As­ton Martin. There’s leather all over the place, which has been sourced from cows raised in fields that aren’t fenced in with barbed wire. Ac­cord­ing to As­ton Martin, this helps to en­sure the leather is of the high­est qual­ity. One thing’s for sure: the DB11’S cabin is a great place to spend time.

WHAT’S THE SPEC LIKE? The DB11 V8 bears a rec­om­mended re­tail price of £144,900, so it’s cer­tainly not cheap. That said, it is in­tended to be an ex­clu­sive, lux­u­ri­ous GT car, so an af­ford­able price tag was never go­ing to be on the ta­ble.

As far as equip­ment goes, there’s a full leather in­te­rior, an infotainment sys­tem with 12-inch LCD dis­play, satel­lite navigation and 360-de­gree park­ing cam­era, to name but a few fea­tures. And if you think you’ll tire of lis­ten­ing to the car’s V8 sound­track, you can also or­der your DB11 with a pre­mium Bang & Olufsen au­dio sys­tem.

VER­DICT Al­though the DB11 V8 may be down four cylin­ders com­pared with the range-top­ping V12, by no means should you think that it’s in any form a lesser car. Like the DB11 V12, it’s a mar­vel­lous cross-con­ti­nen­tal grand tourer, but thanks to its new light­weight en­gine, the DB11 V8 is now more ag­ile than ever. For those who value out­right dy­namic abil­ity over chal­leng­ing roads, this might just be the car to go for.

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