It’s easy to fall in love at first sight with the new Aston Martin DB11. Long and lithe, the British GT was a major and long-needed upgrade from the aging DB9 when it came to market nearly a year ago. But now, Aston is giving us eight more reasons to get excited about the DB11.

For 2018, the 2+2 becomes the first Aston to offer the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 the British maker has borrowed from Mercedes-AMG. It’s a somewhat more affordable alternative to the twin-turbo V12 launched last year. While it may lose four cylinders and 97 horsepower, it takes only a little time behind the wheel to recognize that less can be more, especially when it comes to value for the money.

Subtle changes

Visually, the differences are subtle, with the Aston Martin DB11 V8 adopting dark headlamp bezels, and losing two air vents on the long bonnet, er, hood, as we Americans prefer. Inside, it’s obvious Aston has done its homework, addressing some of the concerns buyers and reviewers initially raised about the cabin. The instrument panel, in particular, has a more elegant and harmonious flow to it than the ’17 edition – though we’re still not completely sold on the gimmicky reconfigurable gauge cluster.

What you won’t notice, at least not until you start moving, is that the new DB11 V8 tips the scales at just over 4,100 pounds, or roughly 250 less than the original V12 model. Aston has tweaked the V8’s suspension to account for the shift in the V8’s balance, which favors the tail end ever so slightly, at 49/51 front-to-back, compared to 51/49 for the twelve-banger. Wheels and tires are essentially the same, though the front brake pistons also were tweaked.

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Fire up the engine and the V8 comes to life with a classic, guttural roar. It may come as a surprise to those familiar with the subtler tones of an Aston V12, but it brings a promise of fun times on the road ahead. Slip the ZF 8-speed automatic into gear, step on the throttle and you’ll be greeted with a surge of power that belies any dread you might have felt that this is a second-class DB11.

Fuel economy gains

Thanks to the lighter weight, the V8 officially clicks 60 in 4.0 seconds, or a mere tenth slower than with the bigger engine. And if it were to matter to those shopping for something so exotic, we expect it to yield at least two extra miles a gallon over the V12’s 15 City/21 Highway once final EPA numbers are in.

The DB11 is a classic grand tourer. It’s quick and nimble, though not quite a match for a sports car like the Porsche 911 when the road gets really twisty. But you’ll likely appreciate it more on a long drive.

At $198,995, the 2018 Aston Martin DB11 V8 comes in about $17,500 under the price of the V12. Considering there’s essentially no sacrifice in performance and handling, it’s likely to be a bargain even for the sort of upscale Aston buyers who normally give minimal consideration to cost. 

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