2017 Aston Martin DB11
While other luxury brands may be all about seeking attention with pomp and circumstance, weekly press releases, and celebrity endorsements; Aston Martin just keeps plugging away and doing their own thing, on their own terms. That means all-new cars are few and far between, and worthy of celebration all on their own. So let’s get the party started with this all-new DB11!
People seem to forget that the Aston-Martin brand has been in the biz for over a hundred years, and while they aren’t necessarily changing the way they do things, there are now more new products in the pipeline than at any time in recent memory. And, this 2017 DB11 kicks it off in style.
While there is still a legendary V12 under the hood, and the proportions remain similar to recent Astons, the look is certainly a quick step towards the future. With a modern take on the classic Aston grille, it’s simply a gorgeous car; some staffers even remarking it’s the most beautiful rolling stock they’re eyes have ever seen.
It has the paint finish of a high dollar custom hot rod, simply flawless; and no exterior badging to distract you from its beautiful lines.
What looks to be just trim tacked on to create a floating roof, is actually an Aeroblade that funnels air through the C-pillar for added downforce. There’s no doubt this car looks fantastic from any angle.
And lurking beneath all of those curves is an all-new aluminum chassis; using a mix of pressings, extrusions, and castings, to achieve a new level of stiffness without increasing weight.
Going further “next level” is a new 5.2-liter twin-turbo V12 replacing the DB9’s 5.9-liter naturally-aspirated unit. It’s not only a first for the brand, but the engine is their own design. This twelve delivers 600–horsepower and 516 lb-ft. of torque and can sound as nasty or as quiet as you want it to be. It’s tucked behind the front wheels to help keep weight more centered.
If things in the center stack look familiar, it’s because they were sourced from Mercedes-Benz. The leather and wood surfaces all around it however, are clearly a step above, exuding hand-crafted individuality.
Nestling our commoner hindquarters in those luxurious front seats had us feeling like real high rollers. We didn’t even attempt to cram into the back ones.
You won’t find a shifter in here, rather P, R, N, and D buttons bookending the start button in the center stack.
A full-color 12-inch TFT gauge panel, features unique virtual instruments; but between the big tach right in the center of it, and the large shift paddles behind the wheel, you get a sense that there’s a lot more here than just posh and circumstance.
It may not be the fastest car on the road, but it sure feels like it when you punch the gas. It delivers everything it has right from the get-go, and the 8-speed automatic transmission swiftly puts it to good use. Yet it all happens in an incredibly refined way.
It does feel big behind the wheel, not so much a nimble toss-around toy; but very much like a large, smooth, and very posh mile-eating machine. Aston gives you plenty of options for finding your comfort zone, as you can adjust the suspension independent of the dynamic driving modes.
Even if we don’t really have the roads in this country to get the full appreciation of what the DB11 has to offer, you’ll enjoy the experience no matter what road you find yourself on. It oozes upper crust, but in an inclusive way that makes you want to be a member of whatever club it takes to own one of these.
Priced at $214,820 to start, this kind of luxury motoring costs dearly. But dare we say, it feels very much worth it, feeling more prestigious and a step up from rivals at that price point.
That’s because Aston Martin considers themselves more than just a car company, but a maker of luxury goods. And like any true indulgence item, they’re not necessarily going out of their way to attract new customers; rather keeping those accustomed to breathing this rarified air coming back for more.
The 2017 DB11 is a supremely luxurious and competent product for those who know what to look for in a Grand Touring automobile. A fitting car to usher in a whole new era for a brand that we can’t wait to experience again and again.
- Engine: 5.2 liter
- Horsepower: 600
- Torque: 516 lb-ft.
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Bringing Supercar Performance To The Street…American Style
What happens when you let enthusiasts and engineers worry less about tradition and allow them to do what they do best? You get cars like this Chevrolet Corvette Z06. What happens when GM let’s us borrow one for a few days? That’s what we’re about to find out!
While the Z06 package first became an option for the Chevrolet Corvette back in 1963, it wasn’t until the C5 that it describe the ultimate track-focused ‘Vette. And while since then every Z06 has gotten more extreme, if we were plotting things out on a graph, this is where the line of performance progression goes from a steady incline to almost vertical. Yes, the latest C8 Z06 is all that.
It starts with a brand new LT6 5.5-liter DOHC V8 that outputs 670-horsepower and delivers 460 lb-ft. of torque. It sounds great too, the very aggressive nature of its flat-plane crank design has it sounding, and feeling like it’s trying to shake its way out of the engine bay unless you unleash some of its furry.
This dual-cammer featured a dry-sump design from the get-go and is more racing engine than souped-up small block, being developed originally for the C8.R race car.
It made short work of Roebling Road Raceway’s long front straight, able to reach 160 by the end of it. With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.
But, as you can imagine, Chevy has done much more than just plop a bigger motor into its rear-midship engine bay, which was easier to do since they didn’t have to worry about anyone seeing over it. They’ve addressed just about every part of the car to ensure it puts that power to best use for coming out of corners like few other cars on the street.
That includes upgrades for the short/long arm double wishbone suspension setup that can be further enhanced with an available Z07 Performance Package that adds more aggressive tuning for Magnetic Ride Control, and Michelin Sport Cup 2R tires. Which can be mounted on 20 and 21-inch carbon fiber wheels with carbon ceramic brakes nestled behind.
It all translated into more grip than a semi’s worth of industrial strength Velcro through Roebling’s 9-turns.
With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.
Like most Corvettes, the Z06 can be as wild or mild of an experience as you care to make it but will most likely be the fastest car to show up at most track days. Yet, the same magnetic dampers that void all body roll on the track, provide an almost plush ride quality for the drive home, though not quite as plush as the standard Corvette.
We’re struggling to find something non-fan boy to say; sure the 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox doesn’t deliver shifts with the brutality of some exotics, but really, they’re just as fast, and the shifts are much smoother.
Believe it or not, almost all the body is unique. So, rather than just tacking on some fender flares, Chevy made the entire car wider to cover the 345 rear tires, yet keep the same uniform look in place.
The optional Carbon Fiber Aero Package adds a front splitter, rocker extensions, front dive planes, and a huge rear wing. We’re not sure if the multi-level nature of that rear wing was done for functional or aesthetic reasons, but it doesn’t block your rearview, and that is much appreciated.
We always talk about torque being more important than horsepower when it comes to acceleration, and the Z06 works with almost 200 fewer lb-ft. of torque than horsepower, but you sure wouldn’t know it when you mash the throttle.
Easy to use programmable launch control allows you to dial in your preferred RPM for launching; we found 4,500 was just about perfect for Roebling’s front straight, allowing for just a tiny bit of slip before rocketing us to 60 on a 40 degree day in just 2.6-seconds.
Power continues to pour on hard as the engine quickly hits its 8,600 RPM redline, and gear changes happen often. The sound inside the cabin in intense, and when the ¼-mile came to an end in 10.7-seconds at 130 miles-per-hour, it felt like it was just getting started.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are a low 12-City, 19-Highway, and 14-Combined.
For the Z06 there are 3 LZ pricing points to land on, starting at $114,395; but you can go with the top-of-the-line Z06, add 50-grand worth of options, and still come out half the price of anything you can compare it to.
Call us home teamers all you want, but America’s only exotic does it yet again, not only is it the best Corvette ever, but it is also easily one of the greatest American cars of all time, arriving at a particularly poignant time culturally as we mourn the potential loss of internal combustion engines altogether. So, come for the spectacular engine and stay for the complete performance package, and experience, that is the Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
- Engine: 5.5-liter V8
- Horsepower: 670
- 0-60 mph: 2.6 seconds
- EPA: 12 City | 19 Highway | 14 Combined
- Transmission: 8-speed dual clutch auto
- Torque: 460 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 10.7-seconds at 130 mph