The DB11 V8 is basically the ‘entry-level’ version of Aston Martin’s grand tourer, although it stretches the term to its limits. The V8 version – which starts at £114,900 - is only actually £13,000 cheaper than its V12-powered sibling, although it is quite different in personality.
While the V12 DB11 was designed to cross continents, Aston Martin claims the V8 model is more aimed towards keen drivers. While it may be nearly 100bhp down on the V12, the missing weight from those four extra cylinders means that the V8 recoups 115kg of weight over the V12. It also means that the two models have a slightly different weight distribution, the V8 having a 49:51 split as opposed to the V12’s 51:49.
The main change with the DB11 V8 is unsurprisingly the engine, which has been sourced from AMG – the same that’s fitted in the Mercedes-AMG GT. There are very few design differences between this DB11 and the V12 version although darker headlight bezels, different bonnet vents and darker taillights are the main changes, you’d be hard pressed to notice them, though.
The DB11 V8 is all about the engine, so while there is the V12 option, our main focus here is on the V8 version.
While the engine may have been sourced from Mercedes, it certainly has not just been dropped in and left. Aston Martin has still ensured it is fit for purpose by fitting its own air intake, exhaust and wet sump lubrication system, while also making sure that it feels as ‘Aston Martin’ as possible.
Thanks to the tinkering by the Aston engineers, the 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 develops 503bhp and 675Nm of torque, allowing it to get from 0-60mph in just 3.8 seconds and having a top speed of 187mph. The V12 completes the 0-60mph dash only a tenth of a second quicker, so there is little difference between them in terms of straight-line performance.
Ride and handling
Put simply, the DB11 is sublime. It is not only devastatingly quick in a straight line but it is also excellent when you get to the twisty stuff as well.
The V8’s steering is precise and has just the right amount of weight to it, giving you the confidence to throw it into bends knowing that it won’t suddenly wash out. The DB11 is also incredibly comfortable, as Aston has worked wonders on its damping. It is comfortable enough on rough roads but also firm enough to minimise body roll when you are cornering fast.
The V8 has not neglected its grand touring abilities either, as it is excellent on the motorways and impeccable to cover long distances in. The V8 has power perfectly on tap, and can even pull well in seventh gear too.
Interior and equipment
If you’re familiar with the interior of modern Mercedes, the interior of the DB11 will be familiar. The healthy relationship between Aston and the Daimler Group does just not stop at Mercedes providing engines but also extends to infotainment too, as the system has been lifted straight from the German manufacturer’s model line-up.
Other than that though, the DB11’s interior is unmistakably an Aston Martin. Every surface is covered in leather, and of course the cows the leather is sourced from are ones that have not been caged in - Aston Martin says this is to make sure that its leather is of the finest quality.
As you would expect from a car costing nearly £145,000, it has an excellent level of standard equipment. It is intended to feel exclusive and it truly does. As far as equipment goes, it has a full leather interior, a 12-inch LCD infotainment display and a 360-degree parking camera, to name but a few features that you get as standard.
Cost is probably quite immaterial for anyone lucky enough to be able to afford a DB11, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not important. The DB11 V8 is a bit more expensive than its rivals – the Maserati Gran Turismo, Mercedes-AMG GT and Bentley Continental GT -although its superior drive and handling does make it seem worthy of its £14,900 – it is very special after all.
Saying that, we would definitely recommend driving both the V8 and V12 if you are thinking of purchasing one, when you consider the cost of options, there really is not all that much difference in price between the two engines, meaning you should buy one for how it suits you.
Unsurprisingly, the DB11 will have high running costs. It manages a claimed 28.5mpg and emits 230g/km, which is actually not too bad for a car that offers this kind of performance, and it is much better than the V12, which only manages 24.8mpg and emits 265g/km of CO2.
Despite losing out on four cylinders compared to the V12, the V8 is still a mightily capable grand tourer, but is now a performance car too. Just like the V12 it is marvellous at comfortably crossing huge distances, but thanks to its new lightweight engine, the DB11 is now even more agile than ever. For those who value a car with a superb drive, the V8 may just be the one to go for.