The purists need not drop their Martinis in shock however, because the twin-turbos help to make this the most powerful production DB model in the company’s history, with 447kW at 6,500r/min and 700Nm between 1,500 and 5,000r/min. The turbos come in early but it does not mean that the power peak is too early as is often the case with turbocharged engines. You have to push that needle way up to 6,500 in order to hit that peak 447kW and by then you will be screaming along at a fair old pace.
The combination of a turbo and gorgeous V12 do translate into some impressive figures though with the DB11 capable of hitting 100km/h in a claimed 3.9 seconds and heading on to 322km/h. Great figures in themselves but it is the way the whole package has been designed and engineered that makes it very different to anything before it.
Gone is the crystal key, replaced by a simple start button in the centre console, but fire it up and the DB11 roars into life with a sound that remains as satisfying as previous Astons. It can be relatively quiet when you are in town, particularly with cylinder deactivation and stop/start functionality but it doesn’t have to be and honestly, who wants a quiet Aston?
Put it in Drive or flick the paddles and the pull away can be as smooth or brutal as you like. Put it in manual mode and you have to work those paddles as the power comes in and you rip through the gears. On an open stretch of road the rear wheels twitch slightly even with all the nanny controls on but they gather things up without interrupting things and allow you to press on. Switch modes and the controls release their grip allowing for some satisfying antics but be careful unlike the more progressive power delivery of a normally aspirated motor, the turbos create more kick that can flick the back end if you switch the controls off.
It is a phenomenally controllable machine, willing to let you drop down through the gearbox and get the power down smoothly and effortlessly. However this is not a snorting Vanquish or a Vantage V12, it is a DB11 and it has to fit the GT bill too. That it does, cruising smoothly until those Joburg roads get a little bumpy. I found it to be a little more susceptible to some of those bumps than the DB9 in fact but this is not a family hatch, it is a sports car.
The sporting element also comes through in the design. It is a revolutionary change but without compromising on the Aston design. It is leaner and meaner in its looks, carrying more of an athletic look than the brutish appeal of its forebear. The rear in particular features a major departure for the design team, with that narrow window leading into something akin to a speedboat tail. It is slightly more fussy than before but within that are some major design elements. The space between the windows and the c-pillars funnel the air to create additional stability and also push that air towards the air blade.