The DB11 is the first new series-production Aston Martin in 15 years to be built on underpinnings other than the firm’s ‘VH’ platform.
Like the VH structure, the new platform is made of pressings, castings and extrusions that are bonded and riveted together.
But the way those elements combine is new, making for a monocoque that’s at once lighter (by 21kg) and stiffer (by 39%). It also intrudes less into cabin space.
The DB11’s body panels are mostly aluminium, except for the plastic-composite quarter panels and bootlid and the injection-moulded plastic bumpers and sills. Magnesium door frames also keep weight down.
Those weight-saving measures are needed because a multi-link rear suspension and turbocharged engine aren’t lightweight additions.
While it’s marginally larger and longer than the car it replaces, the DB11 weighed 1910kg on MIRA’s scales. The last comparable VH-platform Aston we tested, the DBS of 2008, was 180kg lighter.
The DBS had bits of carbonfibre bodywork, carbon-ceramic brakes, a manual gearbox and no back seats, of course, yet 180kg still seems like quite a gap.
Built in the same Cologne factory as the normally aspirated V12 still found in other Astons, the DB11’s new engine is essentially the same 5.9-litre unit, with its cylinder stroke shortened to 69.7mm and its capacity reduced to 5204cc.
Twin turbos make peaks of 600bhp and 516lb ft, the latter available between 1500 and 5000rpm. The DB9 went out with 457lb ft at 5500rpm, so it should feel like a transformative difference.
Cylinder bank deactivation also features, but there’s still no stratified direct fuel injection. Aston says changing emissions legislation would have made now a bad time to dip a toe into that particular water.
The styling looks like a deliberate move away from the seductive curvaceousness of Aston’s VH cars towards a more modern and aggressive idiom, but it leaves much of the firm’s trademark gracefulness intact.
Intelligent aerodynamic design feeds air out of the front wheel arches, via the front wing vents, to reduce front axle lift, while inlets in the C-pillars channel air through the rear wings and out of the rear via the ‘aeroblade’ virtual spoiler.