Welcome to Inlee, and welcome to the Astin Martin DB11.
It's a big budget Hollywood style remake of one of the automotive industries most iconic models.
And I don't think I'm overstating things when I say that the future of the company rests on the success of this very car.
It's long, long waited replacement for the DB9, which has been on the market for about 13 years now, which is an eternity.
For the DB11 the slate is wiped clean and we're here at a Bridgestone testing facility to be among the first in the world To get behind the wheel of Aston's new hotness.
This thing is so fresh out of the oven, they haven't even peeled the camouflage off yet.
For the past 13 years the DD9 has served as the foundation to nearly all of Aston Martin's production cars.
Leaned out for things like the Vantage GT and stretched for the four-door Rapide S, still the loveliest sedan on the planet in my book.
I've been lucky enough to drive all those cars and while they all look and sound fantastic, and they certainly get your juices flowing to all the right places Each successive DB9 derivative really just served to show the age of that underlying platform.
Now I know it's a little hard to see with all this crazy swirling vinyl they've got stuck on here.
But the shape of the DB11 is both classic and familiar but modern and fresh.
It starts with this giant clamshell hood that's sculpted in Gives you no doubt about where the engine in this thing lies.
And there's no doubt about where the power goes to the ground either, thanks to the giant flared fenders of the rear.
600 horses worth of power, thanks to a new twin-turbo, 5.8 liter V12.
Yes, turbo chargers on an Aston Martin, but don't worry, it still sounds ridiculous.
It's not all about power, though, this is also the most aerodynamic BB ever.
it's got some crazy sculpting in the rear end.
It pulls the air in around the rear of the car and sucks it up through the back to give you more down force, which is something I think I might need today.
The DB11 is all new from front to back.
It's not just that twin turbo lump under the hood, which for the record provides 90 more horse power than before.
The adapted suspension on all four corners is far more advanced and fits the rear-mounted 8-speed V8 transmission.
It's still an auto box though, which won't be good news for many.
As we're heading out onto the test track with [UNKNOWN] guru and test pilot, Matt you were calling this a validation prototype, what does that mean in the overall scale of engineering a car like this?
So when I arrived in January
We were at the X1 stage at that point which was basically a DB9 custom chassis with the suspension system integrated underneath bolted on.
And then when you go from X1 you go to M1 which is the first car that has the proper structure.
The body structure's all new, as is the entire car.
This BP verification process is basically, is we're a long way down the phase now so this car is gonna make it 5% of what job one, production will be.
[SOUND] We're now really into the software tuning phase.
Because this car has some new technologies which is new to Aston Martin, which is [UNKNOWN] Scott vamping some new software, which allows many more parameter changes Also has [INAUDIBLE] compared to Aston Martin.
Don't panic, the steering is very very good.
I can't wait to find out.
The steering itself is quite a fast ratio, 13:1 ratio as a comparison a Vanquish or [INAUDIBLE] is around 15:1.
What that does is it gives a really nice level of connection and immediacy about the steering
And for the suspension, are you looking to offer a broader range between what will get soft and hard, or is it ultimately doing more fine tuning and tweaking?
We're pretty comfortable where GT mode is right now.
And basic sport and sport plus, what we're doing is we're looking more for a precision in character change, rather than discomfort.
We still want this level compliance throughout all of the range.
We're really looking for A little bit more attack in the car to make the car sort of short and slink around it.
So this is still going to be a grand tour and ultimately be a sharp one that you maybe could take on the track and have a little fun with.
With the systems we have in this car allows us to make it a very good GT car but then we can broaden it's capability Because of the adapting [INAUDIBLE], we also have DTV which is dynamic talk vectoring, which is what we use on the breaks to get the car to turn.
And you get a lot more power to play with too, a lot more torque anyways.
Yeah, [UNKNOWN] horsepower, 600 horsepower.
The most impressive thing is, [INAUDIBLE] comments already driven the cars can't tell [INAUDIBLE] So, I mean the response and the connection to the engine is excellent.
It delivers 700 Nm in torque at 1500 rpm.
It's a challenge for the rear tires and sadly lock the tires Development with that is around concentration or making sure the rear tire can deliver the necessary traction with that amount of torque.
You'll also find you can adjust the Steering the car proper it's quite easily.
It's really nice if you wanna just tuck the car into the corner a bit more.
But it won't jerk suddenly let loose on it.
It just allows the nose to tuck in a little bit.
So that's CT.
So now you'll find in sport that you'll just get a little bit more attack from the car.
Smallest steering wheel angle just to give it a little bit more power to go.
And it just
Reduces some of the roll angle or roll rate.
Reduces the roll rate [UNKNOWN].
What we're looking to do really next for this whole [UNKNOWN] is to reduce some of this under steer just a little bit.
This is to help the car's turning.
Now I guess [UNKNOWN].
The car's a little bit [INAUDIBLE] there.
[SOUND] [INAUDIBLE] the time, the rear of the car's really stable.
The car's easy to ace in position.
It's very composed.
Once Matt had finished showing me around the course it was time for us to swap seats for me to take my turn behind the wheel.
[SOUND] Okay, heading out on the track.
In the priceless, one of a kind, Aston Martin BB11 prototype.
Boy you notice the throttle response pretty immediately.
Definitely no concern about turbo lag here.
And the engine node, well, if you were worried about turbo chargers, don't.
It's perhaps a little less melodic than the outgoing six litre V 12 but it's still more than enough to make the hair stand up in the back of your neck.
It sounds very, very good
It definitely is very nimble, this is a tight little dry hill course we have here at the bridge stone facility.
They still have some work to do to make this thing even sharper.
The torturing he was mentioning is what helps drive this car out of the corners.
it helps the nose stay tucked in basically.
So it should get rid of any....
Any last lingering traces of understeer, not that I'm worrying about that right now.
[SOUND] Well it was short, but pretty sweet.
This new Aston is far sharper than those that have come before.
And not just thanks to that quicker steering rack.
It's a big car for sure, but it feels very poised.
There's certainly no turbo lag to speak of but the engine's power delivery did feel a little bit lumpy at times.
Given it's still just a prototype and that everything is subject to change.
I won't score any points against for that.
However, I will give it low marks for the interior color, even if it did match my shirt.
It's been a tantalizingly brief encounter with the new DB11.
Only about an hour on track.
But given this is the only one in the world, you gotta take what you can get.
It's another few months before the car goes into production and so I'll hold any formal judgments on how the car drives and feels, until then.
But from what I've felt and what I've heard, this car I gotta say, things are looking pretty good for the new Aston.
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