CAR (UK)

‘The colour hooked me – then I drove it’

As­ton Martin first-timer David Collins wasn’t sure – but now has ab­so­lutely no re­grets about splash­ing out on an ex-demo DB11

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‘The V12 is quick when you want it to be, but it feels like it’s tick­ing over most of the time’

IT’S A CAR TO FALL IN LOVE WITH

I’d pre­vi­ously owned a cou­ple of Porsche Boxsters, and then in 2017 bought a new McLaren 570GT. How­ever, I had re­li­a­bil­ity is­sues with it, so I re­jected it. I then looked at a Mercedes C63 S and the AMG GT, but my step daugh­ter said why not an As­ton Martin? I hadn’t re­ally con­sid­ered an As­ton be­fore be­cause of their pre­vi­ous Ford own­er­ship, us­ing Ford and Volvo parts, per­ceived re­li­a­bil­ity is­sues and an age­ing model line. In April 2018 I vis­ited my lo­cal dealer in Chich­ester to test drive the V8 ver­sion of the DB11, which was im­pres­sive, and then saw their 66-plate, 2017model year demon­stra­tor V12 Launch Edi­tion on the fore­court. It’s the Shang­hai Fash­ion­ista spec in Frosted Glass Blue (from As­ton’s ‘Q’ per­son­al­i­sa­tion ser­vice) with the con­trast­ing black roof, B&O sound sys­tem, heated and ven­ti­lated seats and blue and ivory leather in­te­rior. The colour hooked me, and once I’d driven it, I knew it was the car. My wife also fell in love with it, not hav­ing been a fan of the McLaren.

SO FAR BE­YOND EX­PEC­TA­TIONS

Hav­ing had the car for 16 months now, I’m still re­ally pleased with it. We’ve been on ex­ten­sive trips around the UK, and it is so com­fort­able and e or­t­less to drive. The V12 sounds lovely, it’s quick when you want it to be, es­pe­cially when you’re in Sport mode, but feels like it’s tick­ing over most of the time. Around town I get 20-25mpg, and up to 30 on a long run. It draws a lot of at­ten­tion as well. Not that it’s been com­pletely fault-free. The day af­ter I col­lected it, the en­gine man­age­ment light came on, which turned out to be a failed cat­alytic converter; I thought they lasted the life of the car. One of the soft-close bon­net latches failed twice. The ser­vice from As­ton Martin has been ex­cel­lent to date, and an As­ton cour­tesy car was pro­vided each time.

FOR AN EX­PEN­SIVE CAR, IT’S CHEAP IN PLACES

I wasn’t a fan of the tablet-style in­fo­tain­ment screen when I first saw it. I much pre­fer in­te­grated ones. Although it works very well, I’m aware it’s last-gen tech from Mercedes. For a car that costs £170k new, I’m sur­prised there is no auto high beam, tra c sign recog­ni­tion, or Ap­ple CarPlay. My Fi­esta run­about has all these as stan­dard. The chrome-e ect con­trol knobs on the air vents feel very cheap and are plas­tic. A bit of cost-sav­ing there, I think. The rest of the in­te­rior seems well put to­gether, though. In­sur­ance and road tax are around £500 each. The first five years ser­vic­ing are in­cluded in the cost of the car from new, so I have three more free ser­vices. As the car is only used as a week­end car and for oc­ca­sional long trips, I’ve done only 6000 miles.

COLOUR ME CON­VERTED

The re­tail val­ues for early DB11s is now around £100k, and I would prob­a­bly lose about £50k if I traded it in now, so the gap to a new model is grow­ing. But I en­joy driv­ing it so much that this one would be a keeper any­way.

 ??  ?? David Collins and DB11 at Good­wood race track: ac­tu­ally fly­ing the flag
David Collins and DB11 at Good­wood race track: ac­tu­ally fly­ing the flag
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