Aston Martin's DB11, the much-awaited successor to the DB9, is its first turbocharged model and an indulgent performance car. Under the skin, it’s totally redesigned with a brand-new engine and feather-light, advanced materials. From the outside, it’s a familiar update that’s instantly recognizable as the most seductive and desirable British performance car. It was engineered out of necessity to be more efficient — no one would ever confuse an Aston and a Prius — but it retains a distinct element of desirability.
Don’t stare too long at the DB11; you might go blind. The thick-hipped curves lend themselves perfectly to a topless figure; you might consider holding out for an anticipated roadster variant, if not only because the first year’s production of DB11 coupes could be sold out by the time you finish reading this sentence. Instead, pore over the sumptuously decorated interior, replete with delicate, brogue-texture leather and complementary surface finishes. It’s a sensory experience. The cabin is like a cocoon, with telematics supplied through a joint venture with Mercedes-Benz, and everything else sourced from and created by the most skilled artisans. The door panels of the DB11 probably weren’t designed to be Instagrammed, but you won’t be able to help yourself.
And while there’s much to be said about the DB11’s lightweight body and turbocharged 600-hp V-12 engine, all you need to know is that it’s as satisfying a tool as an Aston has ever been to drive. The hypersensitive throttle is a pleasure on twisty roads, allowing you to push the graceful DB11 just as much as you’d like. You hardly feel its nearly two tons, as you sail through the esses and power flows freely to the rear wheels. Downshift and lift off the throttle, on occasion, and there’s a most satisfying burble in the exhaust note. Stomping on the throttle is a joy. You might feel the rear wheels breaking away in a corner, but it’s a sign you’re driving the DB11 correctly, and hard.
For its almost quarter-million-dollar price tag, however, the DB11 is relatively down to earth. Pull up to Malibu Country Mart for breakfast and park in a spot of your choosing: Unlike an ostentatious McLaren 570S or blingy Ferrari California T, the DB11 exudes cool in an unusual, charismatic way, and can dial up the wow factor as much on demand.
There is never a boring moment behind the wheel of a DB11, whether while stuck in a traffic jam (ask me how I know) or en route to a workday errand up a canyon road. It might not carry four in numbed, palatial comfort, but it does one better: It can go like hell without compromise. Make your spur-of-the-moment road trips more special. [600 hp, 0–60 in 3.9 secs, $211,995; astonmartin.com]