Aston Martin DB11 V8 First Drive: Fewer Cylinders, More Fun

The Aston Martin DB11 is the first of a new generation of models from the sports car company entering its second century of business and a shining example of British design, engineering and manufacturing. 

Until now, the grand tourer has been exclusively available with a twin-turbocharged 5.2-litre V12. Yet the decision for Aston Martin to expand the range with a twin-turbocharged 4-litre V8 is an important one, not only giving its customers more choice, but allowing Aston to compete in markets where taxation is driven by engine capacity, not emissions. 

Aston Martin DB11 V8

First impressions

Visually, there’s very little to distinguish the V8 and V12 DB11s. There are new wheels, fewer bonnet vents and some dark headlamp bezels but that’s it. The design remains both clever and striking, from its cut-off side strakes, relieving air pressure from the front wheelarches, to the vents in the C-pillar, funnelling air through to the boot and out through a slit on the bootlid, creating a vertical jet of turbulent air that acts as a virtual spoiler.

Under the bonnet, the changes are more noticeable. Where once sat a 60-degree V12 now rests a much shorter, wider and lower 90-degree V8, mounted entirely behind the front axle. The engine has been sourced from Mercedes-AMG – parent company Daimler owns a five percent share in Aston Martin – and features a re-designed sump to align both engine and transaxle. All the bits known to engineers as ‘tuneables’ are also different, including the air intake, throttle ...