REVIEW: AUTOart Aston Martin DB11 •

REVIEW: AUTOart Aston Martin DB11

Words and photos courtesy of Karsten Weiss


The first words of the real car’s launch brochure inform us that “DB11 is the Aston Martin you’ve been waiting for”. True, AUTOart gives collectors the first 360-degree-access model after the usual initial sealed resin flood has subsided. And the first of the colour options is precisely the launch “designer specification” in that the DB11 has been presented to the press. AUTOart’s model nearly ticks all of the “Shanghai Fashionista” specification boxes, “capturing a spirit of youthful flamboyance” and making a “vibrant statement […] inspired by high fashion” (the brochure’s marketing poetry tells us).

AUTOart nicely replicate the Frosted Glass Blue paint with tiny metallic flakes that give us the little classy glassy frost bite sparkle, the Gloss Black roof strake, the Dark Exterior Finisher Pack elements, e.g. black exhaust tips, Dark bonnet blades with Black (real!) meshes, and extremely nice 20″ 10-spoke directional Gloss Black and Diamond Turned wheels with red brake calipers. In fact, those rims are the best I have ever seen on an AUTOart Aston Martin. They are two-tone black and silver with Aston Martin badges at their centre, behind which you find brake discs with a barrelled carving design (inadvertently?) reminding us of the recurring opening scenes of a James Bond movie. After the Chiron, the AMG GT R and the Shelby Mustang all bore a “Michelin” branding, DB11’s tires appropriately wear the “Bridgestone Potenza” branding.

The whole stance and shape of the car is spot on, with its extremely wide, almost wrap-around-the-corners “iconic radiator grille [that] has been reinterpreted, its lines and features amplified and celebrated”, “triumphant new elements, such as the dramatic roof strake, [which] underline DB11’s confidence and originality“, and “the new side strakes, key to DB11’s pioneering aerodynamics, [which] bring harmony of form and function”, come in the Dark Exterior Finisher Pack’s black and make the model just as much of “an immaculate work of automotive art“ as the original car. In other words: AUTOart!

The LED tail and head-lights, the latter with precisely replicated LED crystal lenses, are executed nicely. They have not even forgotten to place the tiny photo-etched optional V12 badges on the clamshell’s sides, let alone the fine Aston Martin wings front and rear, and the two sensors in the grille. You almost, but vainly expect to find the bubbly structure on the underside of the side strakes that serves aerodynamic purposes as part of Aston’s “Curlicue” patent on the real car so much.

Equally, the only evidence you find of Aston Martin’s “Aeroblade” patent, is hardly the “intakes positioned in the base of the C-pillars draw air flow within the bodywork before venting it from slots in the rear boot lid.  Acting like a conventional spoiler”, but the slots in the boot lid and, with the boot lid open, the air ducts behind the C-pillars. However, don’t expect to be able and see light at the other end through them like on the real car.

What does come as a pleasant surprise, though, is another “hidden secret” of DB11’s aerodynamics: “When more stability is needed, a small active spoiler automatically deploys from the boot lid to increase the effectiveness of the Aston Martin Aeroblade.” “Small”, yes, “active”, you wish. You’ll have to push the “lock” unseemly projecting from the boot’s inside into the lid to deploy the spoiler blade manually… and very, very cautiously. The delicately flimsy composite boot lid will need to be kept in position by applying the same counter-pressure that is needed to deploy the spoiler… or you’ll inadvertently break the hinges and the entire lid off. Phew, nerve-wracking experience!  “When no longer required it retracts [on the model: must be manually pushed] back into the boot lid to preserve DB11’s uncluttered lines“.  Honestly, the functional spoiler may be a nice-to-have feature and may have only become possible through AUTOart’s composite design, but by the same design it becomes much too dangerous for my taste, especially as on a model it only does what the name suggests: “spoil” the “uncluttered lines”.

Similarly dangerous but more rewarding is opening the other, the business end. “The clamshell provides delightful theatre, hinging forwards to reveal a spectacular panoramic view of the magnificent V12 engine beneath.” That I have nothing more to add to the brochure’s words other than pictures to prove the point is probably the biggest compliment to AUTOart.

The interior is 99%  “Shanghai Fashionista” spec, too. Shut lines on doors are so tight that gaining access requires some cautious effort with a fine opening tool and feels as legitimate as committing car burglary. Inside AUTOart gives us the Caspian Blue carpet and the Ivory and Aurora Blue leather, even in the absence of Brogue detailing with Vivid Red inlay and I can’t see High Gloss Chopped Carbon trim inlays or the Satin Silver Jewellery Pack either, but the Interior Black Pack is there. Irrespective of the exterior’s colour option, this two-tone interior is a very tasteful design and most easily the best of AUTOart’s variants of the DB11. Fabric seat belts? Check! What I like even more, is the attention to detail given to the interior by AUTOart. Just look at the buttons, gauges, air-vents… and compare the cabin to AUTOart’s own V12 Vanquish whose interior is even surpassed by Welly’s DB9.  AUTOart has vastly improved here. Having said that, the print-on seat controls on the centre tunnel remain a sad exception and chilly reminder of the composite’s teething problems seen on the Vanquish, though.

In conclusion, AUTOart’s “DB11 is the Aston Martin you’ve been waiting for”. This is a very good 360-degree-access model, improvement over past composites with room for development towards excellence, just fairly priced when compared to the sealed resin alternatives. If I were AUTOart, I’d keep this room for improvement to be able and sell at affordable prices when making future models. Whether this or one of the other colour combinations offered by AUTOart is what you were waiting for, of course, remains a very personal question of preference that is not subject to a review seeking to make fair judgements on accuracy and quality.

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12 Responses to "REVIEW: AUTOart Aston Martin DB11"

  1. George K says:

    Nope. I have to disagree. The engine looks toy-like, with too many parts molded as one piece. They should have done better.

    • Roger Lodge says:

      Thanks for the review! The exterior looks EXCELLENT, but I’m going to have to agree with George K, the engine looks just plain awful, like one big hunk of plastic with different paint colors to give the impression of different parts – hardly better than a Maisto from the mid 90s.

      Maybe Autoart is foreshadowing a transition to resin by making collectors not even want to see how bad their engines now look.

    • Atalante says:

      I have to agree also with George K. Saying this engine is disappointing is an understatement ! Love the clamshell system though.

    • Karsten says:

      Well, I’m not much of an engine guy, I have to admit, but to me it very much looks like what you can see in the brochure and video reviews on Youtube. It just is very compact. GMP Acme dare to sell extra engines that are much worse, with visible mould lines where you can split the block in halves. There are beautiful 1/18 models of engines like CMC’s Aston DB or that Agera RS world record engine but they alone are at least half to two thirds the money of this whole model.

  2. DS Team says:

    Nice attention to detail, you should be writing the brochures for these car companies.

    “Shut lines on doors are so tight that gaining access requires some cautious effort with a fine opening tool and feels as legitimate as committing car burglary.”

    LOL!!!! best line ever!

    • Karsten says:

      Yep, it literally is keyless entry to work your way inside. Maybe with tight doors like these manfacturers ought to build in a device like the buttons for popping the hood under the model.

  3. Yamato says:

    If they managed a working spoiler on this and the GTS, why not the F-Type? They are all on or attached to the boot/trunk lid so why not?!

  4. Karsten says:

    I have got the Jag too. A much earlier composite model, it’s much worse than this in many respects. They have just become better in the mean time. Competition from AR has motivated them to do better, I guess.

  5. mcaf123 says:

    Nice review! I just wish the photos would back up the written words to give the reader the visual side of things. I would love to have seen more pics of the interior, especially the seats and fabric belts!

  6. Karsten says:

    Thank you, I have tried to capture the interior from every possible angle on my website. Yet, as shooting through the windows does give you good results, seats and seatbelts are hard to get int o a picture.

  7. Vu Dang says:

    Why this color is more expensive than the Skyfall color ? can somebody explain ?

  8. Giorgio262 says:

    I recently aquired a used one in appletree green with silver roof arches. A very tasteful combination, with the light brown interior. I find it to be the best of the 4 combnations sold by Autoart. With the silver “flying” roof arches being a distinctive element of the design of the DB-11, I don’t see the point in opting for an all black roof. Also the chrome finish on the blades on the side air vents, on the front grille and on the exhaust tips, all add to the perception of a nice level of detail overall. A bit of paint and you can finish the hood blades in silver to complete the look.
    Similarily Autoart moulded on the center tunnel the button to open the armrest but didn’t apply any paint on it. Not the first time I spot such moulded but unpainted tiny details in composite models by Autoart. You can still try and paint it yourself if you eant to, but it’s tiny and not easy to reach.

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