There are few names in the luxury world — hell, in any world — as evocative as Aston Martin. By some measures the last truly exclusive automaker, the quintessentially British sportscar marque gained icon status when Sean Connery first spun the wheel of a DB5 in 1964’s Goldfinger.
Astons have appeared in nearly a dozen Bond films since, culminating with Spectre, wherein Daniel Craig subjects a DB10 to the usual punishment. In 007’s next appearance, known simply as Bond 25 for now, he’ll no doubt do the same to Aston’s latest model, the DB11.
But as it happens, we’ve beat him to it.
Aston Martin DB11 (2 images)
We were among the very first to drive the new DB11 recently in Southern California, not far from Aston’s North American headquarters in Irvine. This was no office coffee klatch, however: Aston set up shop for the occasion at Rancho Valencia, the sort of five-star retreat one expects to see in a Bond movie. In place of Starbucks, we quaffed Cristal. That was at the end of a full day’s driving, of course, an occasion that demanded something worthy of the cellar at the Blades Club.
The $215,000 DB11 is Aston’s all-new grand tourer (GT), a car that — like Bond himself — is equal parts savage and savoir faire. The former takes the shape of the marque’s new twin turbo 5.2-litre V12, rated at 600-HP, which gives it more raw power than either the Ferrari 488 or Lamborghini Huracan (read: 0-62 MPH in 3.9 seconds, with a top speed of 200 flat).
The first of a new generation of Aston Martin cars benefiting from a partnership with Mercedes parent Daimler, the DB11 also bucks the traditional wisdom that the marque has lagged behind on state-of-the-art tech. For evidence, look no further than the “Aeroblade,” a clamshell bonnet that optimizes airflow over the vehicle’s bodywork and also happens to make it look mean as f*ck. A new — and sufficiently menacing — grille helps in this department as well.
But while the exterior of the car hints at the (well-bred) beast within, the interior reminds us that true GTs are designed for the kind of gentlemen who carry a license to kill. Exhibit A: the handsome broguing adorning the buttery leather upholstery, a vintage nod to the perforations you’d see on a pair of wingtip shoes. This isn’t the blatant excess you find in the cabin of a Rolls-Royce: the DB11, is, after all, a driver’s car, but there are enough luxe touches to justify the $215,000 cheque.
Given its exalted looks and abilities, there’s not much competition for the DB11. You could get a Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG or a Bentley Continental GT Speed, but those are more the cars you’d expect to see chasing the DB11 while Bond does indelicate things to the bodywork — and the bad guys.