A fun and brave-hearted Aston Martin

Aston Martin DB11

Aston Martin launched the V12-engined DB11 to some acclaim last year. This new version has a V8 under the bonnet – making it effectively a “cheaper, downsized, more environmentally friendly alternative to the full-fat” model, says Stephen Dobie on the TopGear website. It’s a “chunky” £13,000 cheaper than the V12, but it also has a different character. The car’s lighter yet very nearly as powerful, and the suspension, stability control and steering have all been tweaked. The result is that the V12, a “proper GT”, has been brought alive; the calm, well-mannered V12 has been transformed into an involving sports car that’s fun to drive, with all the “brutish thunder” of classic Astons.

If you didn’t know Aston had entered into a partnership with Mercedes, you’d never guess that the DB11 is powered by the same engine used in the “bombastic” C63 S, says James Disdale in Evo. The engine has the same 503bhp of power, but tweaks to the control unit have resulted in a more linear torque delivery and a generally “more cultured approach” than the “American muscle-car burble” of the Merc. It’s still very fast, though: the 0-62mph sprint is all over in four seconds, just a tenth of a second slower than the V12, and the engine is so potent at low revs that you’ll need to be restrained with your right foot if you don’t want to send the traction control into overdrive.

This is a “genuinely great car to drive”, says Andrew English in The Daily Telegraph. “It rides well, looks wonderful and is powerful and charismatic.” Despite having a Mercedes engine, it never feels like anything less than a proper Aston to drive. Some may want the extra cylinders and cachet of the V12, “but I rather liked the V8, not least for its much improved handling, but also for the power unit, which is fun and brave-hearted”.

Price: £144,900
Engine: 3,983cc V8
Power: 503bhp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 513lb ft at 2,000rpm
Top speed: 187mph
0-62mph: 4 seconds