Menu

Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

You are here

Aston Martin DB11


Porsche 911

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

Porsche 911

The big three automotive icons - VW’s Beetle, the original Mini, and… the Porsche 911.

In continuous production for more than 50 years, a new, eighth-generation ‘992’ version of one of the world’s most recognisable cars has arrived in Australia.

Launching initially in rear-wheel drive Carrera S (CS) and all-wheel drive Carrera 4S (C4S) variants, the headline technical upgrades are more power with lower emissions, all alloy body panels (apart from the front and rear aprons), a new eight-speed ‘PDK’ dual-clutch transmission, a ‘Wet Mode’ driving program that supports the driver in the rain, and availability of ‘Night Vision’ using an intelligent thermal imaging camera.

But there’s so much more to the story.

Safety rating
Engine Type3.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency9.5L/100km
Seating4 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.


Porsche 9118.3/10

In designing a modern sports car, who’d hang the engine over the back wheels? This layout just shouldn’t work in the way it does, but Porsche has continued to evolve and hone the 911 to an incredibly fine point. It’s a simply superb sports car experience.

If it were our money, we'd go for the Carrera S coupe. Entry-price dollars with minimal penalty in terms of dynamics relative to the C4S.

Porsche 911 or Merc-AMG GT? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Note: CarsGuide attended this event as a guest of the manufacturer, with travel and meals provided.

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.  


Porsche 9119/10

In designing a new 911 you’re effectively carrying the Porsche brand on your shoulders, and Porsche design chief Michael Mauer and his team have created a look that’s contemporary, yet unmistakably 911. Quality and attention to detail permeate every millimetre of this car.

The profile, though substantially larger, mirrors that of the 1963 ‘901’ original, with the car’s rear-engine layout a key driver in terms of stance and overall proportion.

First, the front and rear axles have been lengthened (45mm fr - 44mm rr) without any change to the wheelbase, so the car looks broader than ever before.

And for the time being, there’s no such thing as a ‘wide body’. In previous generations of the 911 successive iterations (AWD C4S, Turbo and GT versions) have offered wider bodies, particularly at the rear. But the CS is as wide at the haunches as the C4S.

One of the key external changes is a single LED light bar across the back of the car; a design signature across all current Porsche models. And I for one, love the old school typefaces used for the brand and model badgework.

Another shift is the move to staggered rims on the mainstream Carrera models, with 20-inch alloys up front and 21s at the rear, while the pop-up rear spoiler is a new design incorporating a large slice of the rear decklid and able to raise all the way to a full air-brake position.

The drag coefficient is a very respectable 0.29, and car-spotters will be pleased to know the RWD CS sports black louvers in the rear grille, while the AWD C4S swaps that out for chrome finish.

At the front, a recessed channel at the top of the bonnet (front boot lid) is a tip of the hat to early 911 generations, the headlights look the same as the out-going model but they’re LED (four types offered), and electric pop-out door handles are flush fit.

Inside, the dash design will be immediately familiar to early 911 owners. Parallel horizontal lines define its upper and lower edges, with a sleek 10.9-inch multimedia screen neatly integrated in the centre, and five toggle style-buttons underneath facilitating the switch between key functions.

The instrument display allows for a classic 911 five dial arrangement, or multiple other layouts to be configured across two 7.0-inch “freeform” screens sitting either side of a fixed analogue tachometer in the centre. It’s beautifully executed.

The steering wheel is new, with a drive mode dial sprouting from the four o’clock position on ‘Sport Chrono’ equipped cars, and marginally lighter redesigned seats trimmed in partial leather look as good as they feel (especially with the standard houndstooth-style cloth inserts).

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.


Porsche 9117/10

So, there’s practicality, and then there’s sports car practicality. The latter balances all the smile-inducing dynamic ability you’d expect, with space for luggage and the stuff of everyday life, on a sliding scale from pathetic to liveable.

The 911’s needle is bouncing up against the liveable end of the dial because it’s actually a four-seater, with more than toothbrush and undies cargo capacity.

Yes, it’s a ‘2+2’ with the back seats best for kids or very occasional and short-term adult accommodation. But talk to a 911 owner and despite the limited rear legroom they’ll tell you about dropping the kids off at pre-school, or that time they had to take friends home after a party. Those extra spots are incredibly handy.

As well as that, the rear backrests flip forward to create a broad storage platform, supplementing the 132-litre (front) boot.

Generous boot dimensions mean it’s big enough to swallow a weekend-for-two’s worth of soft bags, or even small hard suitcases, not to mention a modest grocery shop if the need arises.

In the cabin, increased interior dimensions mean front seat occupants are provided with 12mm of extra headroom despite the car growing only 4.0mm taller overall. Part of that trick is the front seats being mounted 5.0mm lower and the cushions being slightly thinner. There’s heaps of room.

Day-to-day stuff includes a fixed cupholder at the bottom of the centre console, and a pop-out device at the end of the dash on the passenger side. Door pockets are slim, but they’re there, and will accept small water bottles laid on their side.

A medium-size glove box is a welcome addition, as are multiple connectivity/power options including two USB ports in a small console storage box, and a 12-volt outlet in the passenger footwell. There are also clothes hooks on the front seat backrests and on the B-pillars.

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).


Porsche 9118/10

The new 911 is offered initially in rear-wheel drive Carrera S, and all-wheel drive Carrera 4S versions with a new eight-speed ‘PDK’ dual-clutch transmission only. Pricing for soft top cabriolet variants has been set with arrival timing to be confirmed.

Base ‘non S’ Carrera models, and the option of a seven-speed manual gearbox an all models will be available later in 2019.

Launch pricing, before on-road costs, ranges from an rrp of $265,000 for the Carrera S Coupe, through $286,500 for the Carrera S Cabriolet, on to $281,800 for the Carrera 4S Coupe, right up to $302,600 for the Carrera 4S Cabriolet. So, very much the premium sports car experience, then.

And despite the rarefied air the 911 flies in there’s some serious competition in the same space, although they all circulate at a slightly higher financial altitude.

In ascending order the key competitive set includes, the BMW M6 ($292,600), Jaguar F-Type V8 SVR AWD ($295,578), Nissan GT-R Nismo ($299,000), Merc-AMG GT S ($301,129), McLaren 540C ($325,000), and if you’re willing to cough up a few extra bucks a month, the entry-level Audi R8 ($367,000).

And aside from the new 911’s comprehensive safety and performance packages, which we’ll cover in later sections, the standard features list is an impressive roll-call.

It kicks off with partial leather trim, complete with chequered flag style cloth inserts, over heated 14-way electrically-adjustable sports seats (with memory package), a leather-trimmed sports steering wheel, dual-zone climate control air conditioning, ‘Porsche Communication Management’ (audio, navigation, communication and assistance systems), 12-speaker Bose Surround Sound-audio (including digital radio), Apple CarPlay (no Android Auto), keyless entry and start, rain-sensing wipers, LED auto headlights, the characteristic ‘4-point’ LED daytime running lights plus LED tail-lights, the ‘Carrera S’ alloy wheels, active cruise control, the 10.9-inch multimedia screen, and twin 7.0-inch digital instrument screens.

The options list is also long. For example, ‘Night Vision Assist’ using an intelligent thermal imaging camera to bring the darkness to light is a $4900 extra, and a Burmester ‘High-End Surround Sound System’ will set you back $6700.

Available standard colours are white, black, red and yellow, with optional metallics covering white, black, grey, mid-blue, dark-blue, dark-grey, silver and a deep green. ‘Special’ optional colours include a full-bodied red, and soft grey, as well as ‘70s-inspired orange, close to aqua blue and lime green. And I’m sure if you really wanted it, Porsche would finish your 911 in pink, brown, or gold.

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.


Porsche 9119/10

The 911’s rear-mounted, all-alloy 3.0-litre, twin-turbo flat six-cylinder engine now features high-pressure piezo injectors and bigger turbos for more power (+22kW) and torque (+30Nm), with outputs reading 331kW (444 horsepower) at 6500rpm and 530Nm from 2300-5000rpm.

Not only are the turbos bigger, they’re now mirrored and rotate in opposite directions, where they were previously identical and spinning the same way. It’s all about balance and evening out charge pressure.

The turbo wastegate valves are now operated by electric stepper motors rather than vacuum for faster pressure control, with maximum boost set at 1.2bar.

Porsche’s ‘VarioCam Plus’ variable valve timing and lift system, operating on the intake and outlet side cams and the intake valves, is now able to de-throttle the engine under partial load to save fuel.

A new eight-speed ‘PDK’ dual-clutch transmission packs a completely revised gear set, and the final drive ratio is longer. Maximum speed (a lazy 308km/h in the CS) is achieved in sixth gear.

The front diff in the AWD C4S is now water-cooled for improved durability, with the map-controlled multi-plate clutch able to deliver a maximum 50:50 front to rear variable torque split, although Porsche says that would only ever happen on snow and ice.

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.


Porsche 9118/10

Of course, Porsche claims improved fuel economy and lower emissions to go along with the 911’s boosted performance.

Stated fuel economy for the combined (ADR 81/02 - urban, extra-urban) cycle is 9.5L/100km in the CS, and 9.6L/100km in the C4S. Hardly frugal, but not bad for cars with such huge performance potential.

CO2 emissions are rated at 216g/km for the CS and 219g/km for the C4S, and the standard auto stop-start function is relatively subtle.

Minimum fuel requirement is 98 RON premium unleaded. You’ll need 64 litres of it to fill the CS’s tank, and 67 litres to brim the C4S.

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.


Porsche 91110/10

The local 911 launch program took in open rural roads in McLaren Vale (south-east of Adelaide), South Australia and The Bend Motorsport Park, a slick new facility privately developed from Mitsubishi Australia’s former proving ground at Tailem Bend.

Over two days we were able to push the CS and C4S coupe as hard as we dared, and let’s get it out of the way up front, the new 911 is fast.

With the optional Sport Chrono package the roughly 1.5-tonne C4S will accelerate from 0-100kmh in just 3.4 sec. Even in its ‘slowest’ non-Chrono CS form that number only drops by three tenths.

On top of these performance figures it also manages to magic up an engine and exhaust sound that’s a beat-for-beat match for naturally aspirated 911 flat sixes of old. There’s no synthetic skulduggery here, just skilful manipulation of the exhaust system, getting a pitch-perfect amount of gas past the turbos into grateful ear drums.

The 3.0-litre flat six produces its maximum 530Nm of torque from 2300-5000rpm, with peak power (331kW) taking over at 6500rpm. The fat mid-range pushes you firmly back in your seat with a simple squeeze of the right-hand pedal, and the engine’s revvy nature makes the temptation to visit the 7500rpm rev ceiling almost irresistible.

Porsche knows its way around a dual-clutch transmission, and the new eight-speed PDK delivers rapid fire, positive shifts up and down the ratios, with the slender alloy wheel-mounted paddles adding to the immediacy and fun.

A big question is, in its creep from small and light to bigger and heavier has the 911 lost its ability to form a direct and intimate relationship with its driver. After all, thanks to added safety and performance hardware this car’s a full half tonne heavier than the ‘901’ original. The answer is an emphatic no.

The strut front, multi-link rear suspension set-up continues, with active dampers (PASM) and active anti-roll bars standard. In Comfort mode the 911 rides incredibly well, even over the coarse chip rural surfaces covered on the launch. Despite monster Goodyear Eagle F1 high-performance rubber (245/35 20 fr - 305/30 21 rr) general noise, vibration and harshness levels are impressively low.

But switch up into the more dynamic modes and you’ll really start to bond with the new 911. The slightly quicker electrically-assisted steering points beautifully, with the variable assistance ramping up in superbly linear fashion.

I remember widespread hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth when Porsche moved the 911 to electric steering. No need to have worried, road feel is even more present in this latest gen version.

Hot lapping The Bend’s 4.95km International Circuit (one of four layouts available) amplified the new car’s abilities, not to mention its ergonomic excellence.

‘Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus’ (PTV Plus) packs in an electronically regulated rear diff lock with fully variable torque distribution and the car opens up a clear conversation as the limits of adhesion arrive.

Basically, the new 911 turns go-fast wannabes into track-day super heroes, its every movement felt immediately through the fingertips and seat of the pants. Speaking of which, the standard sports front seats are brilliant, and the new design steering wheel is perfect.

It remains balanced and predictable at speeds that would have the constabulary locking the cell door and throwing away the key, steady and easily steerable with the throttle through hold-your-breath quick corners.

There's precious little difference between the CS and C4S. Yes, the AWD car grips even harder at the front end, but the rear-drive car feels lighter in the nose and that bit more responsive to steering input. Really, there's not a struck match in it. 

Then there’s the brakes, and oh how good they are. A ceramic composite brake package (complete with black calipers) is a $20,500 option. I’d advise buying a Yaris SX as a weekday runabout instead because the standard stoppers are brilliant.

Huge ventilated cast iron rotors (350mm front and rear) are clamped by red six-piston monobloc calipers at the front and four piston units at the rear. Despite lap after hot lap (tailing various tame racing drivers) the left pedal lost none its response or effectiveness. Amazing.

We also got to play with Wet Mode through a simple figure eight exercise on a soaking skid pan, and it makes a distinct difference without shutting down the fun. Yes, the throttle’s softer, but the engine still revs freely, the car remaining stable and predictable in what equated to torrential conditions.

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. 


Porsche 9118/10

Although the new 911 hasn’t been given a safety rating by ANCAP or Euro NCAP, you could argue its exceptional dynamic ability represents one giant, five-star safety feature. But specific active techology includes ABS, BA, forward collision warning, lane change assist, stability and traction control, and AEB (operating up to 85km/h).

You’ll also pick up a reversing camera, ‘Parking Distance Control’ (front and rear) and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

The standard ‘Wet Mode’ uses sensors in the wheel arches to pick up the sound of water splashing off the tyres. It then preconditions the brakes and other control systems as it warns the driver, who can then push a button or use the rotary dial on the steering wheel (‘Sport Chrono’ package) to change modes.

Once activated, Wet Mode connects ‘Porsche Stability Management’ (PSM), ‘Porsche Traction Management’ (PTM), the car’s adjustable aerodynamics, and the ‘Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) Plus’ system, to set the car up for best possible stability.

At 90km/h and above, the rear spoiler goes to its "maximum downforce" position, the engine cooling flaps open, the accelerator pedal response is flattened off and Sport mode can’t activated. Read all about how it feels in the ‘What’s it like to drive?’ section.

But if all that fails to side-step a crash the airbag count runs to six (dual front, dual front side and dual thorax). And both rear seat positions incorporate top tether and ISOFIX anchors for child seat/baby capsule location.

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.”


Porsche 9117/10

The 911 is covered by Porsche’s three year/unlimited km warranty, with paint covered for the same period, and a 12-year (unlimited km) anti-corrosion warranty also included. Certainly off the mainstream pace, but possibly modified by the number if kays a 911 is likely to travel over time.

Porsche Roadside Assist provides 24/7/365 coverage for the life of the warranty, and after the warranty runs out is renewed for 12 months every time the vehicle is serviced at an authorised Porsche dealer, and the main service interval is 12 months/15,000km.

No capped price servicing is available, with final costs determined at the dealer level (in line with variable labour costs by state/territory).