Aston Martin Unwraps Long-Awaited DB9 Replacement

Aston Martin replaces the 13-year-old DB9 with an all-new model, the DB11. The grand-touring coupe features a 600-hp V-12 and significant chassis and interior upgrades.

Greg Kable

March 1, 2016

4 Min Read
DB11 unmistakably Aston Martin
DB11 unmistakably Aston Martin.

GENEVA –Aston Martin unveils the DB11 here, the successor to the DB9 that ushers in an in-house-developed 600-hp twin-turbocharged 5.2L V-12 and contemporary electronics from minority shareholder Daimler.  

Priced at $211,995 when North American deliveries get under way during the fourth-quarter 2016 following its Geneva auto show debut this week, the all-new coupe is described as “the most powerful, most efficient and most dynamically gifted Aston Martin DB model yet.”

The DB11 spearheads a rejuvenation of the Aston Martin lineup, with all its core models due for replacement within the next five years, according to CEO Andy Palmer.

The planned addition of new model lines, including a production version of the all-wheel-drive DBX shown in concept form at the 2015 Geneva auto show, are aimed at bolstering the hallowed British automaker’s production volumes to improve dwindling revenues. 

“We aspire to make the most beautiful cars in the world,” Palmer says. “DB11 is the absolute embodiment of what an Aston Martin should be. A new bonded-aluminum platform, clever aerodynamics, a twin-turbo V-12 engine and class-leading infotainment systems are just a few aspects which make this the car that will spearhead Aston Martin’s second-century plan.”

The DB11 is the direct successor to the DB9, which has been on sale in the U.S. since 2004. As with the move from the DB7 to DB9, Aston Martin has skipped a number to reflect the advances. This time, however, there is a car in between, the limited-production DB10 that starred in the last James Bond movie, Spectre. Just 10 examples were produced, one of which was auctioned last month for $3.5 million.

The DB11 is based on a new aluminum- and carbon-fiber chassis, boasting a modular design that will allow it to be used in upcoming Aston Martin models. It uses similar bonding and riveting principles as the so-called VH structure that formed the basis of the DB9.

The styling of the new DB11 strikes a more aggressive tone than the DB9, with exterior design cues borrowed from recent Aston Martin concepts, including the DBX and DB10. Characteristic signature design elements such as the shape of the grille and side air vents are retained in a reinterpreted form.

However, the DB11 also adopts a series of more contemporary design features, including a front-hinging clamshell hood and Aston’s AeroBlade spoiler fed by discreet intakes located at the base of each C-pillar with air ducted through the bodywork before venting from an aperture in the rear deck lid.

With wider door openings and significantly increased interior room and luggage space, along with mounting points for child seats, Aston Martin refers to the new DB11 as a genuine Grand Tourer in the classic sense.

600-hp V-12 Highlights Tech Upgrades

The DB11 powerplant is a newly developed twin-turbocharged 5.2L V-12 that produces 600 hp and 516 lb.-ft. (700 Nm) of torque, a 90-hp and 59-lb.-ft. (80-Nm) increase compared with the naturally aspirated 5.9L V-12 in the 13-year-old DB9.

Among the engineering developments is cylinder deactivation that Aston Martin refers to as intelligent bank activation, along with automatic stop/start.

Rear wheels are driven via a new ZF-sourced 8-speed automatic gearbox, replacing the ZF-engineered 6-speed used in the DB9. In combination with a new electromechanical steering system and a suspension offering adaptive damping properties, it offers the driver the choice of three driving modes: GT, Sport and Sport Plus.

Palmer predicts 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of 3.9 seconds and a 200-mph (322-km/h) top speed, significantly faster than the DB9, which boasts official figures of 4.6 seconds and 183 mph (295 km/h), respectively.

Underpinning the new model is an all-new suspension featuring double wishbones at the front and rear. While similar in principle to that found beneath the DB9, it is thoroughly redesigned using lighter components, providing the DB11 with what officials describe as vastly improved response.

Another area where Aston Martin says its new model has made big strides is within the cabin. Benefiting from a technical tie-up with Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler, it receives a 12-in. (30-cm) digital instrument cluster and a second centrally mounted 8-in. (20-cm) infotainment monitor – both controlled by a rotary knob with an optional touchpad.

Also included is a new satellite navigation and audio system as well as a parking-assist function and 360-degree bird’s-eye view cameras to ease maneuverability during parking. 

Underlying the importance of the DB11, Palmer says: “This is not only the most important car that Aston Martin has launched in recent history, but also in its 103-year existence. The DB11 rightfully places Aston Martin once again as a leading brand in the luxury automotive market.”

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