Review: Twin test, Aston Martin DB11 v Porsche 911 Turbo S

Review: Twin test, Aston Martin DB11 v Porsche 911 Turbo S
Review: Twin test, Aston Martin DB11 v Porsche 911 Turbo S

Aston’s mighty newcomer faces the daddy of the B-roads

GT cars aren’t always as all-round excellent as you’d hope. But the Aston Martin DB11 is a new breed of GT car, and from what we’ve seen so far it’s pretty incredible at most things.

Incredible enough to take on the master? Let’s find out.

The master, or rather Der Meister, is of course the Porsche 911. A sports car, not a GT – but given the DB11’s remarkable ability to devour exciting roads at huge speed, a relevant benchmark.

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ASTON MARTIN DB11
Engine: 5,204cc V12, turbocharged
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 608@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 516@1,500-5,000rpm
0-62mph: 3.9 seconds
Top speed: 200mph
Weight: 1,770kg (dry)
MPG: 25.0*
CO2: 265g/km*
Price: £154,900 (As tested £199,300)
*Provisional figures

First things first. The DB11 is the replacement, and a long-awaited one, for the DB9. And by the time the DB9 was discontinued, its interior had become a cramped, archaic albatross of a thing.
Quantum leap time. You slide into the DB11’s driver’s seat and oh, yes. It feels big, and glorious, and unlike the DB9 it has modern tech that adds to the marvellousness of it all. As tested, the DB11 would cost you just shy of £200,000 – yet its cabin is so beautiful, that doesn’t sound like too much money.

Certainly, the 911 feels ordinary in comparison. But then, it would cost a full £50k less than the DB11 we have here, and while it doesn’t have the same sense of grandeur to it it’s still superbly made and full of the sporty intent you expect from Porsche.

And that’s how it drives, too. Show it a B-road and the 911 is in its element, blending mighty power and drama with incisive steering and brakes that leave you feeling forever in control. That said, this much performance does have the potential to put the wind up you – 2.9 seconds is getting into hypercar territory, and even with Porsche’s brilliantly grippy all-wheel drive, sure-footed four-wheel steering and truly world-class chassis, you still need to watch your step.

Back off to the tune of a percent or so and it goes from live-wire supercar to being as controllable as anything else. But we’re still not talking about a car that can match the DB11 on a steady cruise. Here, the Aston’s longer wheelbase and greater weight make it feel more planted, so you’ll emerge fresher at the far end.

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PORSCHE 911 TURBO S
Engine: 3,800cc, flat-6 twin-turbocharged
Transmission: 7-speed PDK, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 580@6,750rpm
Torque (lb ft): 516@2,100-4,250rpm (on overboost 553@2,200-4,000rpm)
0-62mph: 2.9sec
Top speed: 205mph
Weight: 1,600kg (unladen DIN)
MPG: 31 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 212g/km
Price: £145,773 (As tested £148,930 comprising of £1,805 for Carmine red paint, £930 for wheels painted in black, £300 for light design package and £122 for Isofix child seat mounting points on front passenger seat)

Those same characteristics are why the 911 is the more entertaining B-road weapon. However, and this is the defining factor in this comparison, while Porsche may have the edge the DB11 is also nothing short of sensational. But while roads that beg to be driven are the 911’s raison d’etre, this is meant to be where the Aston is at its weakest.

Which just goes to show how strong it is everywhere else. This is a big, heavy GT car with an incredible – it smoothes out bumps in the road like a top luxury saloon. But somehow, its suspension is also able to impart a totally masterful level of body control. It’s an utter joy to steer, making every corner an adventure to be savoured – and all while you’re being propelled by that sublime new 5.2-litre V12, whose delivery of power and vast low-down torque means it’s on song just about everywhere.

Fact is, if you’ve got a DB11 in your life it’s unlikely you’ll ever feel the need for anything else. The chances of anything catching up with you on a B-road are tiny – but if it does, we’d take a flutter on it being a 911 Turbo S.

Which is us saying that yes, Porsche’s mighty masterpiece does still rule the back roads. But only by a sliver – and in every other way, from its ride and refinement to the sheer class of its cabin and outward image alike, the DB11 is more than a masterpiece. It’s a work of genius.

 

 

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