Entering production in September 2016, the DB11 V12 was Aston’s first brand-new model in years, built on a fresh platform and powered by a self-developed twin-turbo engine no one saw coming.
Last time I saw Aston Martin Chief Vehicle Attribute Engineer (and former Lotus chassis guru) Matt Becker, we talked about how he tweakedhandling for the V8 model after joining the company three and a half years ago. He was just a touch too late to work on the V12, though.
Once the V8 hit the market, Becker sat down with Palmer, and the pair soon came to an agreement about how the cheaper DB11 shouldn’t outrun the flagship. Luckily, when it comes to tuning, Matt Becker enjoys almost absolute freedom to do his thing.
“Fundamentally, because we made the rear of the car stronger, more powerful, we then decided to go up on front anti-roll bar stiffness, only by half a millimeter. Just to give the front end a bit more of an attack, because otherwise, you’d end up with a car in which your central position would be in the wrong place, and it’d feel too long. Making the front a bit more powerful makes it feel shorter as well.
The wheels are forged, 7.7 lbs lighter per corner. The tires—dedicated Bridgestones—are the same as before. The damper software has been changed to accommodate the hardware changes we made. We also modified the engine mounting system. The mounting positions are the same, but the actual stiffness of the mounts is different. Mainly in the snubbing direction, so when the car moves laterally.
“The other thing we did as well was to tune the ESP, improve the traction control system. Because the previous V12, when sensing slip, used to do quite a big torque reduction. Too big. And then the torque recovery was too slow. Now, this is much smoother in terms of its torque interactions. You don’t get such a huge reduction. For that reason, you can control the back of the car much more accurately, as it doesn’t move around that much. That means the force on the tire contact patch is much more consistent.