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 Mazda CX-90
A Force To Be Reckoned With
If you’ve been following Mazda lately, you’ll know they’ve been fielding some serious new designs; you could even say, they’re latest efforts are 10-times better than before. After all, the CX-3 became the CX-30, then CX-5 became the CX-50, and now it’s the CX-9’s turn. So, let’s find out if this all-new CX-90, their largest SUV yet, is a real multiplier or if it’s all just a numbers game.
Don’t think of this 2024 Mazda CX-90 so much as an updated version of the CX-9, as it’s more of a complete rethink of their 3-row crossover, the first built on an all-new, large vehicle platform for the brand. And this platform carries a host of surprises. Not only does it make the CX-90 bigger by every dimension, but it’s a rear-drive architecture, and features all-new powertrains, including the brand’s first plug-in hybrid, and even an inline-6 engine.
Why an inline-6 to replace the CX-9’s turbo-4? Well, in general terms, I6s are better balanced, run smoother, and can deliver more torque at lower RPM. Just ask the BMW faithful, or any of the truckers you see going down the road hauling more than 20-tons of cargo with their inline-6s.
There are 2-versions of the longitudinally mounted 6, both assisted by turbocharging and a 48-volt mild hybrid system. Output for the base Turbo is 280-horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque; this Turbo S cranks it up to 340-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. The PHEV, on the other hand, is based on a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I4, working with a 100-kW electric motor to deliver 323-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. A 17.8-kWh battery delivers 26-miles of EV driving.
It’s not the prettiest SUV, but it does have very smooth body work; plus, the longer hood and 7½-inches of wheelbase stretch over the CX-9, give it more stately proportions. All CX-90s come with i-Activ all-wheel drive and the brand’s first 8-speed automatic transmission; the longer wheelbase allows tow ratings to step up from 3,500-lbs. to 5,000.
At the test track, our Turbo S launched effortlessly with good grip on the way to a 6.4-second 0-60. The smooth vibes continued throughout the ¼-mile, with refined power delivery, seamless shifts, and a noticeably more solid and stable feel at speed than the CX-9. Our best time was 14.7-seconds at 98 miles-per-hour.
Through the cones, it still behaves like a Mazda, with very good steering feel and a solid presence in corners at low to moderate speeds. Some understeer and body roll will show up when pushed hard, but Mazda’s Kinematic Posture Control uses subtle selective braking to help the vehicle rotate, and safety systems will step in well-before it gets out of sorts.
There’s a nice firm feel to the brake pedal, delivering good stopping results of 118-feet from 60 miles-per-hour. You can feel a lot of weight transfer, but nosedive was well contained.
Another unique element the CX-90 brings is seating arrangements for 6,7, or 8. It’s the 8-seater that’s standard with 3-across bench seating for 2nd and 3rd rows. 7-seaters get either captain’s chairs in the 2nd row, or more contoured seats for the 3rd; 6-seaters sport 2nd row captains and the contoured 3rd row. Cargo capacity varies with seating, but is at best 15.9 cubic-ft. behind the 3rd row, 40.1 behind the 2nd, and 75.2 with all seats folded.
As far as what it’s like to actually live with, the CX-90’s cabin is a clear step up, including on some trims suede-like materials, intricate stitching, and real wood, all consistent with what we’ve seen from the brand lately. A 10-inch dashtop touchscreen is standard for infotainment, with upper trims getting a larger 12.3-incher. We applaud Mazda’s inclusion of plenty of old-school manual controls for radio and climate, which keeps menu diving limited to secondary functions. PHEVs get a few unique controls and readouts to monitor drive modes and battery level.
Overall, the CX-90 is highly functional, entertainingly sporty to drive, and will be more competitive in the ever growing 3-row family crossover segment; and its posh interior may even attract luxury buyers on a budget.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the Turbo S are 23-City, 28-Highway, and 25-Combined. We averaged a good 26.5 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
Pricing begins with the base Turbo at Select trim for $40,970, PHEVs are available in Preferred trim and above starting at $48,820, and the Turbo S starts at $53,125.
Force multiplier is a military term for when strategic elements come together to produce results greater than would have been possible without them. Well, no high-level math skills are necessary here to see that the 2024 Mazda CX-90 is clearly more than just a much better CX-9; it’s now a force to be reckoned with in the 3-row family crossover segment.
- Engine: 3.3-liter I-6
- Horsepower: 340
- 0-60 mph: 6.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 118 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 26.5 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 369 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 14.7-seconds at 98 mph
- EPA: 23 City / 28 Highway / 25 Combined
- Starting Price: $40,970