A direct replacement of the DB9, the DB11 wasn’t just Palmer’s first launch at Aston Martin, it marked the dawn of a new chapter. It began Aston’s departure from the venerable VH platform; it was Aston’s first ever turbocharged series production car, featuring first a twin-turbocharged 5.2-litre V12 and later followed by a 4.0-litre V8 of Mercedes origins.

Unlike an F8 Tributo that you’d use to fling yourself corner to corner, the DB11 isn’t setup with quite the same kind of rapid-fire agility. Not saying you can’t, but it does have a bit more nose-heaviness leading to understeer around the bends, but that’s traded off for straight-line stability prioritized for long-distance grand touring supremacy. Still, set yourself up nicely as you enter the corner, there is plenty of grip at your disposal for you carve that corner at whatever speed you fancy and launch past the apex with maximum conviction.


The DB11 probably won’t be the fastest around Sepang compared to its peers, but out on the open road, few of them make the business of going fast as easy and effortless as the Aston.

Sitting in the DB11, we saw why. Make no mistake, it’s a beautiful car, and there is the usual assortment of sumptuous materials lining all parts of the interior, but we also noticed that fit and finish isn’t as solid as they used to be. Switchgear made from milled metal in Bobby’s Rapide have become chrome-coated plastic. It’s plusher than, say, a Ferrari 488, but the peerless construction quality that Aston Martin was once renowned for has apparently taken a slight compromise.


This, we’ve been told, is something Herr Moers plans to fix, and we saw some of that improvements when checking out the DBX recently.


Still, take nothing away from the DB11’s many talents to entertain on the move. You won’t get an aggressively edgy driving experience like a Ferrari or Lamborghini, but in true Aston Martin fashion, the DB11 rewards you with a great sense of occasion as you build up the revs, the V8 raising its throaty growl as you accelerate.

2020 cost a few people their jobs. Joining the ranks of the unemployed amidst the pandemic recently was none other Andy Palmer, who found himself ushered out of his CEO’s job at Aston Martin amidst tumbling share prices.


It all started promisingly for the ex-Nissan man, however. Hired in 2014, Palmer quickly put together an ambitious turnaround plan to steer Aston Martin on the path of profitability. The ‘Second Century Plan’, he called it, and he quickly followed the plan up with action, rolling out the all-new DB11 just the following year.

Indeed, the DB11 also happens to be Aston’s first model built following their tie-up with Daimler AG, and the result is quite a bit of Mercedes hardware in it. The V8 is built from the same block used to power the entire AMG range, but with internals and software specific for Aston Martin use, and hand-assembled in Gaydon.

One absolutely positive thing about the Mercedes infotainment hardware – the 360-degree cameras have razor sharp resolution and seamless image stitching.


As faith would have it, the Mercedes connection with Aston now extends even to boardroom level, with former AMG chief Tobias Moers pinched to become Palmer’s replacement.


Despite the circumstances of his departure, Palmer’s impact on Aston has been extensive. He fully renewed the line-up and, after retiring the Rapide, oversaw Aston’s weaning off the VH platform. Indeed, much of the development for the recently-launched DBX was done under Palmer’s watch, with Moers overseeing the final refinements of the car, which were said to have focused extensively on massively improving quality.

It’s hard to imagine this not to be controversial among fans, but if you have to outsource a powertrain, there are worse engines than the twin-blown Mercedes 4.0 which, ironically, is paired here with ZF’s 8-speed auto typically found in BMWs.


Inside, you’ll find even more Mercedes barang – a few odd switchgear and the unmistakable Comand ‘diving board’ control pad. Dive in the infotainment and it’s a familiar OS for Mercedes owners. Nothing wrong with outsourced infotainment by the way – you’ll find BMW’s iDrive in a Rolls-Royce and VW Group menus in a Bentley – but Aston’s could have re-skinned the interface a bit more to distinguish it from a 5-year-old C-Class.

Sweaty Palms

As Aston Martin moves on from Andy Palmer’s time as CEO, we revisit the car that ushered the start of the ex-Nissan man’s era – the Aston Martin DB11.


Olympus E-M1 Mark II, f/2.8, 1/640 sec, ISO 64, 0 step, 85mm

Olympus E-M1 Mark II, f/2.8, 1/1000 sec, ISO 64, -0.3 step, 73mm

Olympus E-M1 Mark II, f/2.8, 1/1600 sec, ISO 64, -0.7 step, 115mm

Olympus E-M1 Mark II, f/2.8, 1/1600 sec, ISO 64, -0.3 step, 60mm

What can they fix when that happens? Improvements to the interior, perhaps, but not much in the way it drives. The DB11 boasts a commendable blend of abilities, being an excellent Grand Tourer that still offers decent driving excitement, a great sense of occasion, and not to mention head-turning style, just like any good ol’ fashioned Aston Martin.

In 2015, the DB11 opened a new chapter for Aston Martin, a chapter which the company is slowly leaving behind and charging ahead into a new future under new leadership. Today, the DBX will presumably be the catalyst to even greater success whilst the DB11 is surely due for an upcoming facelift.



A silver car at noon wasn’t anywhere close to the ideal lighting for photography. I needed to drive the car to observe how the lighting changed around the car. As we waited for better lighting, I also tried to find better locations. A more shaded area would have worked better, so the lesson is to always have a plan B on shoot day, adapting to the lights is one of them. This shoot was mostly done on telephoto to eliminate distracting background elements. The narrow field angle also helps better preserve the car's beautiful proportions on photos. - TJ

Driving this car, I feel like I want to do better in life!. – Beng

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The DB11 represents a new thinking behind Aston Martin – Bobby

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Olympus E-M1 Mark II, f/2.8, 1/1000 sec, ISO 64, -0.3 step, 29mm

There is that feeling of nose-heaviness as you dive into a corner too fast, but what this means when you balance it against long-distance touring capability, what you have is a helm that is a lot more relaxed and a lot less edgy, so you require fewer steering corrections on the highway. – Kon

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Olympus E-M1 Mark II, f/22, 1/10 sec, ISO 64, -0.7 step, 26mm

Olympus E-M1 Mark II, f/2.8, 1/2000 sec, ISO 64, -0.3 step, 34mm


Aston Martin DB11 V8

Engine 4.0-litre V8 twin turbo

Max Power 503hp @ 6,000rpm

Max Torque 675Nm @ 2,000 – 5,000rpm

Top Speed 300 km/h

0-100km/h 3.9 seconds

Fuel Consumption 9.9 – 11.4 l/100km

Transmission 8-speed auto, torque converter

Kerb Weight 1,760kg