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Aston Martin DB11


Jaguar F-Type

Summary

Aston Martin DB11

It might look like a stealth fighter, but this dramatic example of Aston Martin’s DB11 AMR didn’t fly under anyone’s radar during its time in the CarsGuide garage.

Forget the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, this piece of British royalty caused jaws to drop and camera phones to rise more effectively than any mere ginger celebrity or ex-TV trouper. 

AMR stands for Aston Martin Racing, and this performance flagship replaces the ‘standard’ DB11, delivering even more fire under the hood and fury from the exhaust. Aston also claims it’s faster, dynamically superior, and sleeker on the inside. 

In fact, the DB11 AMR’s 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12 now produces enough grunt to accelerate it from 0-100km/h in just 3.7 seconds. 

More than just a flash Harry, then? Let’s find out.

Safety rating
Engine Type5.2L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency11.4L/100km
Seating4 seats

Jaguar F-Type

There's an old automotive saying that says “only milk and juice comes in two litres”, but that’s not the case anymore. Now, you can get liquid fun in a 2.0-litre mechanical package, too.

That’s because of cars like this, the new 2018 Jaguar F-Type, which has seen the addition of a new four-cylinder engine that still packs plenty of power and torque, is lighter than its big-engine siblings, and – perhaps best of all – in base model guise, is more affordable than any F-Type to date.

Sounds promising, huh? Well, there are some really convincing parts to this car – but also some things that are downright questionable.

Allow me to explain…

Safety rating
Engine Type3.0L
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency8.9L/100km
Seating2 seats

Verdict

Aston Martin DB118/10

The Aston Martin DB11 AMR is fast, capable and beautiful. It has a unique character and charisma its Italian and German competitors can’t match. That said, some important media and safety-tech features are absent. So, it’s not perfect... just brilliant.

Is an Aston Martin DB11 AMR on your sports car wish list? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


Jaguar F-Type7.1/10

The 2018 Jaguar F-Type in four-cylinder spec is a very intriguing option in the sports car segment. 

It’s clearly not without its faults, but the entry-grade engine offers a thought-provoking alternative to the pricier supercharged V6 and V8 versions. 

Would you consider a four-cylinder Jaguar F-Type? Let us know in the comments section below.

Design

Aston Martin DB1110/10

For a while there it looked like Aston Martin had fallen into the ‘everything looks the same’ trap, with Ian Callum’s breakthrough DB7 design in the mid-‘90s writing the script for the DB9 that followed, and heavily influencing everything else in the brand’s subsequent portfolio.

But in 2014, Aston’s design chief Marek Reichman sent a message with the DB10 Concept that things were about to change.

James Bond had Q and MI6 to thank for his DB10 company car in Spectre, but real-world Aston Martin customers were soon offered the DB11, which combined the muscularity of Reichman’s work on the ultra-exclusive One-77 from a decade earlier with the swooping, long-nosed proportions of his track-only Vulcan hypercar.

The hallmark of a well executed 2+2 GT is that it looks bigger in photos than it does in reality, and the DB11 is a perfect case in point.

Appearing limo-sized in our accompanying images, the DB11 is in fact 34mm shorter end-to-end than a Ford Mustang, but it’s exactly 34mm wider, and no less than 91mm lower in overall height.

And as any fashionista worth their salt will tell you, dark colours are slimming, and our ‘Onyx Black’ AMR, with gloss black 20-inch forged rims and black ‘Balmoral’ leather interior accentuated the car’s tightly drawn, shrink-wrapped surface treatment.

Signature elements in the shape of a broad, tapering grille, divided side vents, and sharply curved, two-level (smoked) tail-lights clearly identify the DB11 as an Aston Martin.

But the smooth integration of the car’s broad haunches (very One-77), gently tapering turret (optional exposed carbon) and flowing bonnet is masterful and fresh. The dash-to-axle ratio (the distance from the base of the windscreen to the front axle line) is Jaguar E-Type-esque.

And it’s all subtly aero-efficient, For example, the door handles fit flush to the body, the mirror housings double as mini ‘wings’, and the Aston Martin ‘Aeroblade’ system channels air running from carefully crafted openings at the base of the C-pillar, through the rear of the car to generate downforce (with minimal drag) across a lateral vent on the trailing edge of the bootlid. A small flap rises at “high speed” when more stability is required. 

The interior is all business, with a simple instrument binnacle showcasing a central 12.0-inch digital speedo-within-tacho combination, flanked by configurable engine, performance and media read-outs on either side.

Aston has form with squared-off steering wheels and the DB11’s is flat on the bottom and decidedly straight on the sides, affording a clear view of the gauges without compromising purpose. A leather and Alcantara trim combination is (literally) a nice touch. 

The teardrop-shaped centre stack sits in a slightly recessed section (optionally) lined with ‘carbon-fibre twill’, while the form and function of the 8.0-inch multimedia screen at the top will be immediately familiar to current Mercedes-Benz drivers, as the system, including the console mounted rotary controller and touchpad, is sourced from the three-pointed-star brand.

A band of proudly illuminated buttons across the centre includes gear settings for the transmission and a winged stop-starter in the middle. Strange, then, that the plastic knobs on the adjustable air vents look and feel so cheap and bland. This a $400k-plus Aston Martin, where’s the knurled alloy? 

Other highlights include elegant sports seats trimmed in a combination of premium leather and Alcantara. Aston offers various levels of leather and our car’s black ‘Balmoral’ hide is taken from the top shelf.

The key accent colour inside and out on our test example was a screaming lime green, picking out the brake calipers, centre strips on the seats, and contrast stitching throughout the cabin. Sounds awful, looks amazing.  


Jaguar F-Type8/10

The most interesting thing about the F-Type four-cylinder model is that it’s almost indistinguishable as being the most affordable version in the range.

I mean, unless you know that the trapezoidal central tailpipe is the only real giveaway (and the noise that comes out of it, for that matter!), you’d be hard-pressed to notice a difference. That’s because most F-Type buyers add heaps of styling options.

For instance, the cars we drove at the launch of the new model were all the R-Dynamic version, which exchanges the newly developed 18-inch light alloy wheels for bigger, heavier 19s. And then—why not?—those 19s were changed again for a different looking set of 19s, but still wore Pirelli P-Zero tyres. 

It still sits low and looks mean, and the newly added LED headlights with LED daytime running lights are quite fetching, even if their addition has meant the front-end looks less cat-like than before.

It’s still a stunner, though – even more than four years after its launch.

Practicality

Aston Martin DB117/10

On one hand it’s hard to describe a supercar like the DB11 as practical when its primary purpose is to go ridiculously fast and look incredibly good in the process.

But this is, in fact, a ‘2+2’ GT, meaning a couple of occasional seats have been squeezed behind the front pair to allow obliging contortionists, or more likely small children, to enjoy the ride.

No one is claiming full four-seat capacity, but it’s a trick that has for decades made cars like Porsche’s 911 a more practical choice for high-end, high-performance sports car buyers.

At 183cm I can verify the chronically limited space back there, without anything in terms of connectivity, specific ventilation or storage options provided. Good luck, kids.

For those up front it’s a very different story. First, the doors are hinged to move up slightly as they swing out, which makes entry and egress a more civilised process than it might otherwise be. That said, those doors are still long, so it pays to pre-plan a workable parking spot, and the high-mounted, forward-facing interior release handles are awkward to use.

Storage runs to a box between the seats, complete with a two-stage electrically controlled lid, housing a pair of cupholders, an oddments space, two USB inputs and an SD card slot. Then, there are slim pockets in the doors, and that’s about it. no glove box or netted pouches. Just a small tray for coins or the key in front of the media controller.

And speaking of the key, it’s another strangely underwhelming part of the DB11 AMR’s presentation. Plain and insubstantial, it looks and feels like the key to an under-$20k budget special, rather than the heavy, polished and glamorous item you’d expect to be subtly placing on the table in your preferred three-hat restaurant.

The carpet-lined boot measures 270 litres, which is enough for some small suitcases and a soft bag or two. In fact, Aston Martin offers a four-piece accessory luggage set “expertly tailored to match the car’s specification.”

Don’t bother looking for a spare wheel, an inflator/repair kit is your only option in the case of a puncture.


Jaguar F-Type7/10

You don’t buy a Jaguar F-Type if you’re after the last word in practicality. It’s not a pragmatic purchase – but for its, er, type, it’s a reasonably practical space.

The F-Type still has some useful elements to the cockpit, including a decent centre console bin between the seats, a small mesh pocket above that, two cupholders, and a reasonable glove box. The door pockets have bottle holders, and a little extra storage besides.

As it has been made clear before, the F-Type has a boot that is almost small enough to rule out a long weekend trip, particularly in the convertible. The drop-top’s boot capacity is 196 litres, and is interfered with by a spare wheel, while the coupe has up to 407L of space (if you’re going beyond the parcel shelf; otherwise, it’s a 315L hold). 

It’s purely a two-seater, so there are no top-tether or ISOFIX child-seat anchor points. If you’re particularly tall, you might find yourself a bit cramped. 

Believe it or not, vanity mirrors are optional. I mean, I know the slimline visors are pretty hopeless, but sheeeeeeesh.

Price and features

Aston Martin DB118/10

Head into the $400k new car zone and expectations are understandably high. The DB11 AMR’s is a continent-crushing GT after all, and you want your fair share of luxury and convenience features to go with its huge performance potential.

For $428,000 (plus on-road costs), as well as the safety and performance tech (of which there’s plenty) covered in later sections, you can expect a lengthy standard features list, including a full-grain leather interior (seats, dash, doors, etc), Alcantara headlining, multi-function ‘Obsidian Black’ leather-trimmed steering wheel, electrically adjustable and heated front seats (with three memory positions), heated/folding exterior mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, and 360-degree ‘Surround View’ parking cameras (including front and rear cameras).

Also standard are cruise control (plus speed limiter), sat nav, dual-zone climate control, the electronic instrument cluster (with mode-specific displays), keyless entry and start, a multi-function trip computer, 400-Watt Aston Martin audio system (with smartphone and USB integration, DAB digital radio and Bluetooth streaming), plus the 8.0-inch touch-control multimedia screen.

Then there are LED headlights, tail-lights and DRLs, ‘dark’ grille, headlight bezels, and tailpipe finishers, 20-inch forged alloy rims, carbon-fibre bonnet vent blades and side strakes, dark anodised brake calipers and, to reinforce the car’s motorsport DNA, the AMR logo sits on the door sill plates and is embossed on the front-seat headrests.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality is a surprising omission, but our test car more than made up for it with a motherload of optional extras including an exposed carbon-fibre roof panel, roof strakes and rear-view mirror caps, as well as ventilated front seats, the vivid ‘AMR Lime’ brake calipers, plus a ‘Dark Chrome Jewellery Pack’ and ‘Q Satin Twill’ carbon-fibre trim inlays to add presence in the cabin. Along with some other bits and pieces this adds up to an as-tested total of $481,280 (before on-road costs).


Jaguar F-Type6/10

The entry-grade F-Type four-cylinder models are priced at $107,012 for the coupe, while the convertible model adds $18,000 to the asking price ($125,712). Both are automatic – there’s no manual option.

To contextualise that, if you want the supercharged V6 engine instead, you’ll need to spend $126,212 for one with an automatic transmission (there’s a cheaper manual version, which is five grand less).

Standard equipment for the four-cylinder model includes new light alloy 18-inch wheels, LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, part-leather sports seats with electric adjustment, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminium interior trim elements, keyless ignition and auto headlights/wipers. 

The 8.0-inch multimedia touchscreen includes sat nav, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, USB input, plus a 10-speaker stereo system. There is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto phone mirroring tech.

A lot of premium brands are adding heaps of equipment to their cars to keep sales ticking over. Jaguar, though, continues to take buyers for a walk down to path to the old Ripoff Pool in terms of optional extras.
 
Believe it or not, Jaguar asks you to spend more for dual-zone climate control ($1040), keyless entry ($1200), and even a reversing camera. Yes – you read that right: a modern-day car company has the audacity to ask buyers to option a potentially life-saving reversing camera, and at a cost of $1080, too. Rear parking sensors are standard... which is something.

See the safety section below for more disgust on that.

If you’re looking at a Jaguar F-Type, other vehicles that could be on your shopping list include the Porsche 718 Boxster convertible and Porsche 718 Cayman coupe, the Alfa Romeo 4C and the Lotus Exige – all of which arguably have a harder edged sporting intent to them than this car.

Engine & trans

Aston Martin DB119/10

The DB11 AMR’s (AE31) 5.2-litre, twin-turbo V12 is an all-alloy unit, tuned to deliver 470kW (up 22kW on the old model) at 6500rpm, while retaining the previous DB11’s 700Nm of maximum torque from 1500rpm all the way to 5000rpm.

As well as dual variable camshaft timing, the engine features a water-to-air intercooler and cylinder deactivation, which allows it to run as a V6 under light loads.

Drive goes to the rear wheels via a ZF-sourced eight-speed (torque converter) auto transaxle with column-mounted paddles, recalibrated for faster shifting in more aggressive Sport and Sport+ modes. A limited-slip differential is standard.


Jaguar F-Type9/10

The F-Type’s 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine is one of the more potent engines of this type out there, with a solid 221kW of power (at 5500rpm) and 400Nm of torque (from 1500-4500rpm). 

It is only available in rear-wheel drive, and only with an eight-speed automatic with paddle-shifters. For reference, the supercharged V6 can be had with a six-speed manual and rear-drive, while the supercharged V8 is auto and all-wheel drive only.

Jaguar claims a 0-100km/h time of 5.7 seconds, which is sprightly, if not manic, and a top speed of 250km/h… not that you’ll ever find it in Australia. 

Fuel consumption

Aston Martin DB117/10

Minimum fuel requirement for the DB11 AMR is 95 RON premium unleaded and you’ll need 78 litres of it to fill the tank.

Claimed economy for the combined (ADR 81/02 - urban, extra-urban) cycle is 11.4L/100km, the big V12 emitting 265g/km of CO2 in the process.

Despite standard stop-start and cylinder deactivation tech, in roughly 300km of city, suburban and freeway running we recorded a figure exactly nothing like that, according to the on-board computer we more than doubled the claimed number on ‘spirited’ drives. The best average figure we saw was still in the high teens.


Jaguar F-Type8/10

Jaguar claims fuel consumption of 7.2 litres per 100 kilometres for the F-Type four-cylinder model, which is more frugal than the supercharged V6 and throbbing V8 models by some margin.

Over our loop, which involved a good stint of spirited driving, some freeway cruising and some Sydney traffic, we saw 9.9L/100km. I think that’s totally acceptable.

Driving

Aston Martin DB119/10

The moment you press the starter the DB11 begins a theatrical performance worthy of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

A high-pitched whine reminiscent of a Formula One air-starter precedes a raucous blast of exhaust noise as the twin-turbo V12 bursts into life. 

It’s spine-tingling, but for those wanting to remain on good terms with their neighbours a quiet-start setting is available.

At this point, rocker buttons on either side of the steering wheel set the tone for what follows. The one on the left, marked with a shock-absorber graphic, allows you to scroll the adaptive damping set-up through Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ settings. Its ‘S’ branded partner on the right facilitates a similar trick with the drivetrain. 

So, throwing urban serenity out the window, we pushed into maximum attack mode for the engine, and by extension the exhaust, selected D and began to enjoy the first act.

A launch-control function is standard, so purely in the interests of science we explored its function and can confirm it works exceptionally well.

Aston claims the DB11 AMR will accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 3.7sec, which is properly fast, and two tenths of a second faster than the standard DB11 it replaces. 

Keep the pedal pinned and two things will happen; you’ll reach a maximum velocity of 334km/h and generate headline news across the country while making your way directly to jail.

With 700Nm available from just 1500rpm, and remaining on tap to 5000rpm, mid-range thrust is monumental and the thundering exhaust note accompanying it is the stuff automotive dreams are made of.

Peak power of 470kW (630hp) takes over at 6500rpm (with the rev ceiling sitting at 7000rpm) and delivery is impressively linear, without a hint of turbo hesitation.  

The eight-speed auto is simply superb, picking up gears at just the right point and holding on to them for exactly the right amount of time. Select manual mode and the slender shift levers on either side of the steering column allow even more control.

In Sport and Sport+ drivetrain modes the howling exhaust is accompanied by an entertaining array of pops and bangs on up and down shifts. Bravo!

The DB11 AMR is underpinned by an ultra-stiff bonded aluminium chassis, with a double wishbone front/multi-link rear suspension set-up attached to it.

Spring and damper rates are unchanged from the previous DB11 and even on enthusiastic back-road runs we found suspension in Comfort and driveline in Sport+ to be the best combination. Flicking the shocks into Sport+ is best kept for track days. 

Steering is (speed dependent) electrically power-assisted. It’s beautifully progressive, yet pin-sharp with excellent road feel.

The big 20-inch forged alloy rims are shod with high-performance Bridgestone Potenza S007 rubber (255/40 front – 295/35 rear), developed as original equipment for this car and Ferrari’s F12 Berlinetta.

They combine with the 1870kg DB11’s near perfect 51/49 front to rear weight distribution and standard LSD to deliver confidence-inspiring balance and ferocious power down on (quick) corner exit.

Braking is handled by huge (steel) ventilated rotors (400mm front – 360mm rear) clamped by six-piston calipers at the front and four-piston at the rear. We might have put them under decent pressure from time-to-time, but stopping power remained prodigious and the pedal firm.

In the calm of urban traffic the DB11 AMR is civilised, quiet (if you prefer) and comfortable. The sports seats can be adjusted to grip like a vice at speed or provide more breathing room around town, the ergonomics are spot-on, and despite its striking looks, all around vision is surprisingly good.

Overall, driving the DB11 AMR is a special event, flooding the senses and raising the heart rate no matter what the speed.


Jaguar F-Type7/10

While I might have some serious qualms about the brand’s priorities in terms of specs and standard safety kit, there’s no doubt you get what you pay for in terms of performance. 

Wait, you could read that the wrong way… I’m not saying that because you’re choosing the most affordable F-Type that you’re getting the most budget-feeling drive experience. This is still a truly sporty car – in fact, it’s more of a purist offering than the muscle monsters that are the supercharged V6 and V8 models.

That’s because it’s lighter, and it truly feels more agile than those cars.

With 52kg less weight to contend with, the four-cylinder is more pointable in corners, and that lower kerb weight makes for a natural driving experience. 

In the gruntier models you can spend time trying to catch the car’s balance in the bends, but not in the four-cylinder – it has beautiful balance, holding a line very nicely. That’s enough you make it feel like you’re sewing a smooth ribbon through a series of corners, where in the V8 model you might end up making a zig-zag stitch. It goes well, and stops terrifically, too. 

The ride is firm, but it’s a sports car, so that’s excusable. You will notice more of the bumps in the convertible, the body of which has been stiffened up to deal with the lack of a fixed roof. And while you will notice big lumps in the road, and you’ll hear and feel potholes, it’s never annoyingly uncomfortable.

After spending a few hours in the car, I think it’d be the ideal coastal cruiser… you just might have to make it a day trip rather than a weekend away because of that teeny-weeny boot. 

If it were my money and I was set on a F-Type four-pot I’d buy the coupe, because it is more resolved on patchy road surfaces and has a bigger boot. If you want the wind in your hair, just wind down the windows.

Safety

Aston Martin DB117/10

Big speed demands serious active and passive safety, and the DB11 comes up short on the former.

Yes, there’s ABS, EBD, EBA, traction control, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Positive Torque Control (PTC) and Dynamic Torque Vectoring (DTV); even a tyre-pressure monitoring system, and the surround view cameras.

But more recent crash-avoidance tech like active cruise control, bling-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, and especially AEB, are nowhere to be seen. Not great.

But if a crash is unavoidable there’s plenty of back-up in the form of dual-stage driver and passenger front airbags, front side (pelvis and thorax) airbags, as well as curtain and knee airbags.

Both rear-seat positions offer top tethers and ISOFIX anchors for baby-capsule and child-seat location.

The DB11 hasn’t been assessed for safety performance by ANCAP or EuroNCAP. 


Jaguar F-Type5/10

This is a hard criterion to score it against. There has never been a Jaguar F-Type flung against various objects at different speeds to ascertain a safety score, so we can’t give it a hat-tip for a strong ANCAP or EuroNCAP score.

And the lack of a standard-fit reversing camera is one of the most absurd things we’ve encountered in a high-end car for a bloody long time. But it's not unusual - you've got to pay for a reversing camera in a Porsche 718 Cayman or Boxster, too.

Admittedly, the addition of auto emergency braking (AEB) and lane departure warning are important additions, but they don’t negate the lack of a camera.

For what it’s worth, you can option the further safety of lane-keeping assist and driver fatigue monitoring. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are optional as well – you can get all of those bits in a pack, if you like, for the sum of $2210.

But honestly, a reversing camera being a $1080 option is simply disgusting on a car that has rearward vision as poor as this one does.

F-Types come with six airbags in the coupe and four in the convertible.

Ownership

Aston Martin DB117/10

While Kia leads the mainstream market with a seven-year/unlimited km warranty, Aston Martin sits further back with a three-year/unlimited km deal. 

Servicing is recommended every 12 months/16,000km, and an extended, transferable 12-month contract is available, including everything from provision of a taxi/accommodation in the event of breakdown, to coverage of the vehicle at “official Aston Martin organised events.”


Jaguar F-Type7/10

The standard warranty offered on the Jaguar range is three years/100,000km, and it includes roadside assist for that period. There’s the option of an extended warranty up to five years/200,000km in total, too.

The F-Type attracts Jaguar’s free servicing campaign – so, according to the company’s website, you won’t have to pay a single dollar for standard scheduled servicing over the first five years/130,000km. Maintenance is due every two years or 26,000km.