1.2-litres less and four cylinders fewer, but the V8 version of the Aston Martin DB11 adds agility for no less speed
It might not be pulling the sort of techno-magic Mazda is but Aston Martin is in a pretty good place for an independent carmaker.
A partnership (and five percent ownership) with Mercedes-AMG brought electronic and engine technology, while a new platform laid foundations for the future.
The fruit of that is the DB11 coupe, launched with a V12 variant here last year, and doubled sales for the British luxury brand.
2018 is looking up with the arrival of the new Vantage as well, but if you can’t wait for a V8-powered Aston, well there’s the lesser of the DB11 model, the 4.0 V8.
Despite losing four cylinders and 1.2-litres of displacement, there’s only a 17 percent dip in power compared to the 608hp, 5.2-litre V12. On paper the V12’s 0.1 seconds quicker but in real life there’s no difference at all.
What is different is 115kg less weight hanging around the nose, not to mention the shorter, compact packaging of the V8 – the engine bay seems so much more spacious.
Of course this is all good news for drivers who want to push things a little. The DB11 is a grand tourer, so it’s not a balls-out sports car, just that the V8 ups the agility and involvement a notch more.
The V8 in question is the same as the one found on the Mercedes-AMG GT S. Mechanically they’re very similar, though the Aston’s engine has a wet sump, and all the tuning and setup is done by Aston Martin.
As a result the DB11 V8 sounds and behaves nothing like the feisty, snarling GT S. The AMG is loud, much more focused and in-yer-face with its signature, aggressive AMG burble.
The Aston is more refined and understated, the power delivery smooth as butter. There are three mode settings for the drivetrain (and dampers too) but in all settings, it’s about smooth, sure progress.
In this sense it’s more real-life MI6 quiet efficiency than constant Bond-like explosions, so much so that we did wish for a bit more snarl at times.
As a GT it’s all about showing up at nice places with tremendous amounts of style, which the DB11 undoubtedly has.
Now that the interior and infotainment live up to the hand-made claims and equally artisanal price tag, unlike Astons of the past, the DB11, already in a good place with its V12 flagship, is now even better.
Aston Martin DB11 4.0 V8
Verdict: Less is truly more when it comes to the lighter, more nimble member of the DB11 duo
|Engine||3,982cc, V8, twin-turbo|
|Power||503hp at 6000rpm|
|Torque||675Nm at 2000rpm|
|Top Speed||4.0 seconds|
|Agent||$799,000 without COE|