Driven - May 2017

If Idris Elba doesn’t want to be James Bond, maybe the Aston Martin DB11 will convince him.

We drive the Aston Martin DB11

Besides being one of the coolest people in Hollywood, Idris Elba is also a petrol head. If you don’t believe us, Google it. The fact that he is a car lover gives the makers of James Bond an even better reason to make him the next 007. If I were in the unique position to be considered for that role, I’d have a specific request though, besides being made to look taller – I’d want the lead car to be an Aston Martin DB11. We don’t need to explain why this car would be perfect for the next James Bond movie because Aston’s have long been synonymous with the 007 brand.

Old man gets some work done:

Let’s be honest, the Aston Martin brand was always the car for the “mature”. You know, the expensive cigar smoking, trench coat wearing types that look you up and down as you approach them. With technology and innovation making leaps and bounds, many manufacturers are looking to appeal to a different target audience nowadays. The internet has made many younger people wealthier so a sports car for the refined gentleman won’t appeal to that rich kid who swears by his Adidas sneakers and hoody from college. What that guys wants is something smart and powerful, something the Aston Martin DB11 is.

The new car has learned from its older siblings in terms of style and pizzazz, but its packaged in a different way. The DB9 and Vanquish for instance feel old school with their sonorous naturally aspirated V12 engines. Having driven a Vanquish recently, I can confirm that it’s quite an event-nothing beats the raw nature of the engine. The power delivery is a build up, giving you an exquisite crescendo at the end of the rev range. The only problem with that, is that in everyday traffic, you’ll barely reach that crescendo because of a little thing called traffic.

This is where the Aston Martin DB11 comes in, since it’s turbocharged it has boost very early in the rev range – allowing you to access the power easily. The car is a GT vehicle, meaning that it’s meant to be driven a lot. It’s not meant to be a Sunday car, but for it to be an “everyday car” it needs everyday features. The modes in the DB11 were made specifically for that purpose.

GT mode is the one you’ll use to go to the office,  Sport mode will be used by those who still want to go to the office but very loudly. Sport Plus mode will be used by those who still want go to the office but loudly and less comfortably. In whatever mode the Aston Martin DB11 is in, it’s never terrible though. It’s always good. Underneath it all, the car is basically a Mercedes-AMG GT and the people at Merc know a thing or two about comfort. The surprising thing is that the Aston drives better as an everyday car than the AMG GT. The engine is also nicer. A unique 5.2 litre V12 Twin Turbo is the life of the party and with 447kW/700Nm at your disposal, you won’t get bored easily. This engine makes any other Aston seem slow, but it still has soul.

Driving the DB11 teaches you that you don’t have to drive fast for you to enjoy a car with so much power. With your cell phone paired and the engine in its most docile mode, you often forget you have a weapon under your right foot. The 8 speed automatic gearbox adds to this as it can feel non-existent, but in Sport mode it changes quicker than you’d expect. The seating position also doesn’t make you feel like you’re in a long car, as does the Vanquish. Instead you’re surrounded by luxury and technology and you don’t feel like you’re driving “daddy’s car”. The Aston Martin DB11 has done well then to appeal to younger guys.

Sure it’s not as exciting as a super car but it’s not mean to be. It’s meant to offer everyday thrills nestled in luxury and sophistication. If I was a wealthy 35 year old, the DB11 would be a very tempting car to own. Better yet if I were Idris Elba, I think it would add to the James Bond swagger I would already bring to the role. Imagine the scene, Idris driving up to a lavish hotel, pulling up in the Aston Martin DB11 with a gorgeous girl. As the valet approaches he says, “park the old girl won’t you, but keep it running, I won’t be long…”    

 

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