Long the favorite of cinema super-spy James Bond, Aston Martin stirred things up when it handed Agent 007 the keys to the new DB10 for his latest film, Spectre – but more than a few fans were left shaken when the British marque announced there were no production plans for the striking supercar.
Not to worry. The new Aston Martin DB11 unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show today should go down as smoothly as a good martini – while offering all the curves and sex appeal of the best “Bond Girls.”
Meanwhile, there’s plenty of firepower under the hood. No, not the pop-up rockets or machine guns Bond has deployed over the years, but a 5.2-liter biturbo V-12 capable of propelling spy or average guy to 200 miles per hour, Aston claims.
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Visually, the new Aston Martin won’t come as a shock. In designer lingo, it carries the brand’s distinctive DNA, starting with the familiar trapezoid grille. That anchors the long hood – er, bonnet, as the British prefer – and a sweeping roof line that gently flows into short rear boot – deck, or trunk lid, to Yanks.
The headlights and running lamps are LED, of course. Wraparound LED lighting flows from the edge of one bulging rear wheel arch to the other.
Anyone who has seen the latest 007 adventure, “Spectre,” will likely recognize a few details from the film’s DB10, but it’s not a clone.
“We aspire to make the most beautiful cars in the world,” declared Aston CEO Andy Palmer. “DB11 is the absolute embodiment of what an Aston Martin should be and we have worked tirelessly to ensure that DB11 combines both exceptional design with the latest technology throughout.”
Aston designers and engineers had to strike a careful balance while developing the new sports car, the exterior had to be beautiful, yes, but it also needed to enhance aerodynamics.
Notes an Aston press kit: “Front-end lift is reduced by the gill-like Curlicue which releases high-pressure air from inside the wheel arch via a concealed vent within the redesigned side-strake. Meanwhile, rear-end lift is reduced by the Aston Martin AeroBladeTM; a virtual spoiler fed by discreet air intakes located at the base of each C-pillar. Air is ducted through the bodywork, before venting as a jet of air from the aperture in the rear decklid.”
Under the skin, meanwhile, Aston has turned to a new bonded aluminum body and chassis that both lightens the DB11 overall yet improves its structural rigidity compared to the old DB9.
“This,” proclaims Palmer, is “the sports car that will proudly spearhead Aston Martin’s second century plan.” The 103-year-old maker is in the midst of a radical remake. It is developing an array of new products that definitely have shaken up fans, and plans call for Aston’s first-ever SUV, the DBX, as well as a battery-electric version of the four-door Rapide.
Aston sold about 4,000 cars last year – down from a 2007 peak of 7,300. With the launch of the DBX a couple years from now, the British maker hopes to be back up in record territory. But while the SUV might be the brand’s top-seller, the new DB11 is meant to deliver the styling and performance halo Aston needs.
That twin-turbo V-12 should help Aston give Ferrari a rough time. It’s capable of delivering 600 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque – and Aston promises you’ll get to 60 in less than four seconds. But Aston has also adopted features like cylinder deactivation and Stop/Start in order to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions – two major challenges it will face in the years ahead.
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To enhance steering and handling, the DB11 adopts a new, rack-mounted electric power steering rig, and torque vectoring improves cornering.
“This is not only the most important car that Aston Martin has launched in recent history, but also in its 103-year existence,” contends CEO Palmer.
Aston now has to wait and see if customers agree.
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