Upon arriving at the Aston Martin showroom in Happy Valley, I saw the DB11 slowly swing by and park on the side of the road. A man got out and introduced himself. Another female representative from the showroom invited me to their desk and delicately went through the signing papers with me before I could start my test drive. The papers were quite straight forward and after a quick review, I signed my name and then we moved without a further moment of hesitation to the car. The man, who drove here and accompanied me throughout my drive, slipped the keyless-go car remote into my hand as we approached the car.
Quite a Looker
First of all, the appearance. The test drive vehicle was the classic Aston Martin metallic grey colour. It spanned the entire body of the car and had two continuous silver bands covering the edges of the doors flanking each side of the roof. This design is what is being marketed as “Iconic Craft”. The new clamshell bonnet design is a single piece of aluminium that covers the entire front of the car, leaving a clean and singular outlook while, as I was told, significantly improving air flow through the chutes to minimise resistance. Another distinguishing feature of the DB11’s appearance is the new LED headlights and taillights design, with bright LED lines that curved around the lights. The interior is covered in tanned yellow stitched leather, which appeared luxurious, but became a bit of a distraction as its constant yellow reflection distorted my view through the windshield. I would advise customising the interior with a dark colour if you plan to order a GT. My DB11 driving companion just said that I should wear sunglasses on such a sunny day.
It should be noted though that Aston Martin was determined to make the entire interior of the DB11 as luxurious as possible. Apart from seeing and touching smooth and soft leather everywhere, with the press of a button, you can turn on the Infotainment system and the Bang & Olufsen speakers that are embedded in the front corners of the interior and protrude upward. I gather this design is to provide you with even greater sound quality of the Baroque music you play while touring the country side. The centre console also features smooth tan coloured wooden trim. I would think, however, the patterns on the wood are not fine enough to be a suitable match with the yellow tanned leather found everywhere on the inside. All in all, the exterior appearance hits the spot with its “wow factor”; however, the interior colour choice can be more carefully configured from Aston Martin’s astonishingly wide array of choices upon purchase.
As I plopped into the driver’s seat and started the engine, I heard a deafeningly loud roaring sound come from the engine. Sheer power within your control was exhilarating. Packed with a twin-turbocharged 5.2-litre V12 engine, the DB11 offers 600 horsepower and the ability to go from 0 to 100km/h in 3.9 seconds. The car roared to life with just the tiniest push of the gas pedal. Accelerating along, and accompanied by an 8-speed automatic gearbox, the DB11 easily overtook other vehicles. I was able to tightly cut some sharp turns into the side streets of Wan Chai with ease. The power steering felt very light and easy to manoeuvre, and even in sharp and narrow corners, the constant blinking noise of the parking sensors and the view of all sides of the car from the main console’s 8-inch LCD screen, thanks to the 360° cameras, helped me avoid any scratches or simply getting too close. But the blinking noise was a bit distracting at times, especially in Hong Kong traffic.
An important aspect of the DB11 is the incorporation of further innovative aerodynamic designs into its bodywork. Special vents in the arch lining and in the side of each front wheel help dissipate aerodynamic lift on the front end of the vehicle. Additionally, a small and thin blade neatly embedded in the tail of the car, which is electronically controlled to automatically shoot itself outward when absolutely necessary at above 100km/h speeds, appears to enhance stability of the rear end of the car. This is Aston Martin’s way of making aerodynamic design discreet and subtle, while streamlining the entire design of the vehicle.
My driving companion explained to me that the new DB11 also took in certain design concepts from its new conglomerate co-parent, Mercedes Benz. The gear shift flaps on the side of the steering wheel and the infotainment system as well as various other electrical features underneath the dashboard were some of the elements adopted from the Mercedes line. The DB11 may also be offered in a V8 AMG engine in the near future.
The DB11 showed considerable ease and demonstrated immense power when I revved up some of the steepest roads in Hong Kong Island, leaving a trail of loud and lasting engine roars behind me. I was also able to overtake other vehicles confidently with sufficient coverage in the left and right mirrors, as well as its very own blinking sensors. Not to mention, being able to accelerate and reach high speeds very quickly forced me to remind myself to make sure I wasn’t going to get caught on a speeding camera, or even worse, pulled over by a cop. But the point I am trying to make is that the DB11 is more aptly a Gran Tourer than a sporty race car. It may have all the electric switches and driving modes of a sports car, but it feels exceptionally easy to drive around when you’re behind the wheel.
Flooring the DB11 packed an awe inspiring punch on the road and breaking was done with sufficient control and ease. Moreover, at no time was I uncomfortably thrown back or forth while in the driver’s seat. I thoroughly enjoyed my test drive. The DB11 was certainly a great drive.