I suppose the reason I like it so much is because it almost feels like a car built to my specification, to address all the things I didn’t like about the V12. And the car also feels important. There’s more riding on the DB11 than on any other car here, I reckon, and it matters that it fulfils its potential as a sports car and a true Aston Martin. The V8 does that, for me. It’s not the greatest driver’s car in the world, sure, but now it feels like it’s about as good as it can be.
AF: Do you think anyone will have a problem with the fact that you can buy a Mercedes estate with the same engine and another 100bhp? Should an Aston not have the ultimate version of any engine it uses?
MP: No, I don’t mind that. I’ve got a bigger problem with the Mercedes column stalks, just like the Audi ones in the Huracán. At £150,000, you could do me a proper stalk, really. It’s not that much to ask, is it?
AF: Well, it probably is, actually. But it certainly doesn’t appear that way.
MP: What do you think of the engine note, Stormy? I haven’t driven it far, but it doesn’t seem quite as loud as an AMG’s.
MS: No – it isn’t. AMG uses a lot of speaker trickery these days to produce that bassy exhaust noise, and the first thing Aston did was to dispense with that. To me, it’s a bit more breathy and delicate than, say, an AMG GT; just different enough to feel like Aston’s own. It feels like it belongs, no question. But I remember driving six-cylinder DB7s…
MP: Ah – I see the food’s here. That’ll do us, then. Straw poll: if we couldn’t go home in the car we brought with us, how many of us would take the Aston? No one? What about the Suzuki? Another no score. The Porsche? That’s three. And what about the Lamborghini? Two, then. No one for the McLaren? Now that’s interesting...
MS: Well, I’m turning the voice recorder off. And if this is like that radio show and I’m the one talking when the music stops, that means the Aston wins. Either way, could someone ask photographer Stanley to stop scowling at me and eat his fish and chips?
VAUXHALL GRANDLAND X - Such an important car to Vauxhall and they muffed it. To an already underachieving class, it brought modest ability and no real talent, then charged too much for it. If this is where PSA’s Vauxhall/Opel is heading, it must turn back now. AF
SMART FORFOUR ELECTRIC DRIVE - It costs more than a Renault Zoe, is much less practical and neither rides nor handles well in the city. You’re lucky to get a 70-mile range and rapid charging is barely possible. With all the EVs to choose from, don’t let this put you off. MS