The Aston Martin DB11, what Aston refers to as their “definitive GT,” rolled out in 2016 sporting a very impressive 5.2-liter twin turbocharged V12 engine. Now, the Gaydon-based builders of ever so British sports cars have decided to add a 4.0-liter twin turbocharged V8 engine to the DB11 portfolio. Aston Martin says this provides “the opportunity to reveal more of the DB11’s sporting character, while expanding its global appeal with a combination of exceptional performance and improved efficiency.”
All that might be true, but it is also a way to expand sales and, most likely, lower the maintenance costs associated with a double-blown V12.
Aston Martin, never being a company to shy away from self aggrandizing manure spreading, referred to the newly-available by saying: “Sublime Choices: DB11 Now Offered With V8 Engine.” This is a very British way to pat yourself on the back, and also makes me roll my eyes.
Which is not to say the DB11 with the newly installed V8 mill is not impressive. It puts out 503 horsepower and 513 lb-ft. of torque, which is good enough to scoot the DB11 from 0 to 62 mph in just 4 seconds, with a top speed of 187 mph. Being situated in the DB11’s engine bay, the V8 gets a newly designed air intake, exhaust, and wet sump lubrication system. There is also new ECU software, engine reprogramming, and additional throttle mapping. All of this was done with the goals of keeping the V12-engined DB11’s high-performance luxury Grand Tourer vibe while also trying to bring out the more dynamic side of the DB11’s character and capabilities with the V8-engine option.
That is all a very polite way of saying, in so many words, the V12-engined DB11 is kind of heavy and all about power, whereas the new V8 option will save you some weight and, therefore, make the DB11 a little more lithe and tossable. The V8 engine is, unsurprisingly, lighter and more compact than the V12 mill, and saves you 253 lbs. of weight versus the V12’s hefty 3,880 lbs. sitting at the curb. And let’s not mince words here: nearly two tons is a lot of car, big honking V12 or not. Aston Martin sought to leverage as many performance gains as they could from the V8 by installing it lower in the chassis, thanks to new engine mounts and a “slimline” wet sump system.
With all this big, heavy, lumpy stuff put more in the center of the car, the V8-engined DB11 is more agile than it’s 12-banger counterpart. This agility has been further enhanced by detailed revisions to the suspension bushings, geometry, anti-roll bars, springs, shocks, and ESP (stability control) software. Aston Martin hopes this will make the V8 version a distinct choice compared to the 12, by appealing to customers who want a more sporting bias in their refined and comfortable GT.
Fit & Finish
It’s not all under the hood that determines the differences between the two either. The V8 version gets a unique alloy wheel finish, dark headlamp bezels, and a pair of bonnet vents instead of the four vents seen on the V12. And you can get those vents in either black or titanium-finish mesh. On the inside, the two cars are virtually indistinguishable with the same standard equipment levels and the same choice of color and trim options, along with the same Option Packs and Designer Specification packages.
Pricing & Availability
And the V8 won’t cost you as much as the V12. As much, being the operative words here. The V8-powered DB11, which is on sale now, starts at a not-insubstantial $198,995 in the US of A. And sure, it’s “on sale now,” but deliveries won’t start until October or thereabouts. And yeah, $198,995 ain’t cheap, but compared with the V12-powered DB11 that rings the cash register at a whopping $216,495 to start with, the V8 does seem like a bit of a bargain.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.