By Alexandra Cheney
This story originally appeared in the January/February 2018 issue of Elite Traveler.
Aston Martin’s reinvented DB11 is a skinny, striking coupe perfectly suited to escape the everyday.
The swift and mighty rise in elevation from sea level in North County San Diego to the crest of Palomar Mountain, some 6,000ft and 60 miles northeast, is thick with switchbacks and blind, tight corners. A cloudless foggy sky gives way to a tepid morning, the kind that lends itself to a windows-down kind of drive and a promise of forthcoming sunshine.
It’s almost as if the road rises to meet the Aston Martin DB11, the iconic grand tourer that’s been slimmed down and stiffened up into a V8, shedding four cylinders and 243lbs from its V12 predecessor. Beginning with fewer cylinders is common practice for many car manufacturers, but the fact that Aston Martin released the DB11 V12 first, followed by the V8, marks a curious yet finely executed move, and one that’s sure to be wholeheartedly embraced.
A lower and ever-so-slightly rear-biased center of mass invigorates the British-bred V8, which utilizes a biturbocharged 4.0-liter Mercedes-AMG motor, albeit with a retuned intake and exhaust. The result is the bark of German efficiency with the bite of a British disposition; less of an aggressive growl,more of a throaty fervor that eagerly embraces these winding country roads.
It was here that the stiffest of three adaptive damper settings suited, allowing for unfettered changes of direction, buttressed with a grip and thrust granted by bespoke Bridgestones. Their moniker, S007, I’m assured is absolutely coincidental despite Aston Martin’s long association with a certain beloved MI6 agent.
According to AstonMartin’s senior dynamics engineer Ian Hartley, the largest single piece of aluminumin automotive use forms the clamshell hood. The DB11’s curvilinear front rounds out with a familiar grille, recalling the first David Brown Aston of 1948. While this vehicle marks the first implementation of both electric-power steering and a virtual spoiler (a small deployable one that creates downforce via air channeled through interior vents), the cherished whiskers on the front fenders continue the unbroken design lineage evident on every coupe since the 1958 DB4.
Although Imanaged to fit four full-grown adults and their respective weekend luggage in the DB11, it wasn’t without some hearty stretching and morning yoga. That is to say, this grand tourer is best enjoyed as a party of two.
From $198,995, db11.astonmartin.com