The first image of the Aston Martin DB11 has leaked onto the internet ahead of the car's global debut at the Geneva motor show.
The image was first posted onto Dutch website AutoJunk, but has since been circulated online. It's now been joined by two new images of the car's interior - the first time it's been viewed in an almost completely undisguised state.
The new model will lead a brand relaunch for the British sports car brand as the company looks to replace all of its core sports cars in the next five years under boss Andy Palmer.
As this latest image and previous, official, spy pictures have shown, Aston Martin has been carrying out final testing on the DB11 before its market launch. Autocar has seen the DB11, the styling of which is notably different from the existing DB9’s, while retaining several core Aston Martin cues.
The DB11’s appearance takes styling influences from recent concepts such as the DBX crossover, unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March, and the CC100, which was created in 2013 to celebrate 100 years of the brand.
Although the DB11 is likely to retain many of the attributes that appeal to traditional Aston Martin buyers, it is set to be a brand-new model with totally fresh underpinnings, interior, engines and more.
The engines will include a new 5.2-litre twin-turbocharged V12 with around 600bhp and, later in the car’s lifecycle, AMG V8s.
The DB11 is the direct successor to the DB9, which has been on sale since spring 2004. As with the move from DB7 to DB9, Aston Martin has jumped a number to reflect the substantial changes, but this time there is a car in between. The DB10 appeared in the latest James Bond film, Spectre, but just 10 examples were made, all for the movie. One will be auctioned off for charity.
The DB11 is believed have a newly engineered chassis, albeit one that has been created using the same principles as the outgoing VH platform. It will be a bonded and riveted structure that will be versatile enough to form the basis of other future models.
Aston Martin decided to create the structure in-house rather than share any of the aluminium structure from the Mercedes-AMG GT, despite the two companies’ partnership.
The new-generation VH platform could, therefore, form part of the next Vantage and potentially the production version of the DBX. The platform has been created by an engineering team headed by long-time Aston Martin employee Ian Minards.
All-new lightweight suspension has also been developed in-house and features double wishbones at the front and rear. Reducing the weight of the suspension components is believed to have been a particularly challenging task. It is likely that the AMG partnership has had an influence here, though, with some parts potentially taken from the German brand.
Despite this, the car’s handling development has had a distinctly British influence, with ex-Lotus engineer Matt Becker in charge for the first time. Becker joined Aston Martin in 2014 after 26 years at Lotus. He was brought in specifically to work on next-gen models such as the DB11.
One element set to return to the Aston Martin line-up is a manual gearbox. This move is thought to be a decree from company boss Andy Palmer. The current DB9 comes with only a six-speed automatic gearbox and steering wheel-mounted paddles, but this is set to change with the DB11. A six-speed manual gearbox is likely to be offered alongside a modern ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Precise details of the engines destined for the DB11 have not yet been revealed, although it is likely that a range of units will be made available. The partnership between Aston Martin and AMG makes it most likely that the DB11 will be offered with a 4.0-litre V8 from the German company. This could be the unit from the Mercedes-AMG GT, which has power outputs ranging from 456bhp to 503bhp.
The company has also confirmed that it is building a new V12 that will embrace twin-turbocharing. Reducing the V12’s capacity to 5.2 litres is part of the company’s quest to drop CO2 emissions below the 333g/km of the DB9. The DB11 is likely to be the most powerful of the DB models yet, though, with a power output in the region of 600bhp a possibility.
The DB11 will grow by a couple of inches over the DB9 and a longer wheelbase is planned to give the new car a more spacious interior. It was felt that the DB9 didn’t have enough interior space to allow it to be used as a day-to-day car, with room in its back seats negligible at best.
Aston Martin plans for the new model to be a more genuine four-seater and Palmer intends the DB11 to be the backbone of the company’s range.
The extra room will be complemented by an airier cabin design, thanks in part to a totally reworked dashboard. The fascia style that has remained largely unchanged since the DB9’s launch has been scrapped in favour of an entirely new layout. It will be a much cleaner design and underpinned by an all-new electrical architecture.
At its centre will be a new infotainment system, which is likely to be the most visible evidence of Daimler’s 5% ownership of Aston Martin. Although it is unclear to what extent the influence of Mercedes parent Daimler will be seen, it could enable the DB11 to take on elements from the latest infotainment systems used in Mercedes models.
Recent spy shots have shown a test mule with a large, digital instrument cluster in the same style as Mercedes’ latest S-Class. The same test car showed a clean central console, but with a set of Mercedes buttons down the side, suggesting the parts sharing will extend beyond the instruments and include a satellite navigation system.
Sales of the DB11 will not kick off until later in 2016, with an autumn or even winter launch date a possibility.
The cars that will shape Aston Martin's new era
DB11 Volante (2017)
The convertible version of the DB11 is expected to go on sale around 12 months after the coupé. As with the coupé, a Geneva show debut is likely before a launch in late 2017, which could coincide with the addition of AMG V8 engines.
The smallest car in Aston’s range will be the next major model for replacement, and a 2018 launch date is predicted. Expect it to use a similar range of engines to the DB11.The styling will draw heavily on the DB10 Bond car. A roadster version is likely again, too.
The biggest new model for Aston, in many senses, is the production version of the DBX concept. The crossover is likely to arrive towards the end of the decade. Prime minister David Cameron has publicly encouraged Aston Martin to build the car at a site in Wales.
A new saloon would be a replacement for the Rapide and is due towards the end of the decade. This is expected to be larger and more spacious than theRapide and could carry the Lagonda name, which recently returned for the £696,000 Lagonda Taraf.
Aston’s two-door flagship is likely to be one of the last models to be replaced. The new Vanquish is set to appear around 2020 and will again be offered in a choice of coupé or convertible bodystyles.