The search for the perfect grand tourer
Customisation is in vogue at the moment, but choice can be seriously confusing. In our new configurator challenge, we’re going to let the CarAdvice team loose on a manufacturer’s website to create their ideal spec of a certain model.
For this edition of the Configurator Challenge, we’re designing our dream Aston Martin DB11.
Let us know what you think in the comments, and which cars you’d like to see next!
James Wong, Journalist
I've been waiting so long to specify an Aston Martin, and the online configurator offers so much choice I was like a kid in a candy store!
Maybe a bit of an obscure choice, but I've gone for the DB11 V8 based on Tony Crawford's assessment it's a better handler than the V12, and the fact it's not far behind its bigger-engined sibling while also being nearly $30,000 cheaper.
For the exterior I've chosen this lovely Iridescent Emerald from the special 'Q' colour palette, 20-inch 10-spoke gloss-black alloys, along with contrasting gloss-black pillars and roof for a contemporary duo-tone take on the British GT.
Other options I've ticked for the outside include carbon-fibre accents for the front splitter, diffuser and sills, gloss-black mirror caps to match the roof, along with red tail-lights instead of the smoked clear lenses.
For the interior I wanted my DB11 to be both sporty and luxurious, going with the GT theme. So, the cabin is trimmed in a lovely dual-tone Chancellor Red/Phantom Grey scheme, complete with red steering wheel and Satin Chopped Carbon inlays.
I've also opted for the Q Brogue detailing on the seats – Cream Truffle in this case – for a nice contrast, along with Moon Shadow top-stitching and Nexus quilting colour-matched to the seats.
Rounding out my specification are heated and ventilated front seats, powered seat bolsters, Chopped Carbon seat backs to match the inlays, Spicy Red seatbelts, embossed Aston Martin wings in the headrests, the Aston Martin premium audio system, touchpad control for the infotainment system, carbon-fibre tailpipe finishers, blind-spot monitoring, and an automatic parking system – since the butler can't do it for me.
The name's Wong... James Wong.
Scott Collie, Journalist
The Aston Martin configurator is incredible. There are so many options – tasteful or otherwise – to choose from, which must make life hard for actual buyers. Luckily, that's unlikely to be a problem most of the CarAdvice staff face.
I've gone with a V12 engine, because bigger is always better when it comes to luxury cars. Frosted Glass Blue is a suitably classy shade for the exterior, and contrasts perfectly with 20-inch gloss black, diamond turned alloy wheels.
All the exterior trim is finished in gloss carbon-fibre, and the roof strake is gloss black. You'll also notice the smoked tail-lights, black bonnet vents and black door handles. The only flashy design elements on the outside are red brake calipers and a V12 badge on the front fenders.
It's a very, very different story inside. Fandango Pink and Aurora Blue, anyone? I know it's a bit garish, but I'm standing by this one.
Add the range-topping Bang & Olufsen stereo to the mix, and delete the touchpad for the Mercedes-Benz infotainment system – maybe Mercedes should allow that, too – and you're left with the perfect DB11 for all occasions.
Can I have one? Please?
Kez Casey, Road Tester
I’d just like to start by saying its criminal that Aston Martin won’t let you specify the DB11 Volante with a V12, but desperate times call for desperate measures, so V8 it is. I guess 375kW and 696Nm will have to do.
The choice of an open top Volante is an easy one: top down, interior drenched in Côte d'Azur sunshine and that glorious V8 soundtrack, not to mention the ability to be seen in all the right places along the Riviera with all the right people in the passenger seat.
To enhance that Monaco vibe unmissable Zaffre Blue paint complements gloss black sills, grilles, side strakes, waist rails and the rear diffuser, with a set of gloss black and diamond turned alloy wheels for added impact.
Hop on in and get a load of that Aurora Blue and White Essence Balmoral leather. There’s every chance to be utterly pedantic with the interior, and how you’d like it coloured so to keep things simple (ha, never!) how does contrast stitching, brogued inlays, heated and vented seats, leather pillar trimming, dark speaker grilles, horn ring, door handles and shift paddles, embroidered headrests, Bong & Olufsen audio and (breathe) matching four-piece luggage sound?
Should the occasion ever arise that roof needs to be raised (can’t have rain on the chopped carbon inlays) a titan grey roof, matched to dark anodised grey brake calipers that simply proves how next-level my OCD can get.
There’s more too, but with over 35 areas of personalisation I simply don’t have the space to elaborate. Let’s meet in Saint-Tropez over a glass of Dom Perignon and I can walk you through the rest.
Mandy Turner, Road Tester & Podcast Host
If there was ever a car worthy of bedroom wall material, this is it. From every angle the DB11 is just gorgeous.
This configurator challenge was, as the name suggests, a challenge. There are around 43 different features to choose from. Forty-three. I went through all of them twice because it was hard to choose the first time around.
The V12 Coupe was an easy choice as the sound of a V12 cannot be mistaken, and the sloping roof is why this thing is so darn pretty.
When was the last time you saw an Aston Martin in purple? Yep, I thought so. Royal Indigo it is, or Cadbury Purple as James Wong called it.
I went with a few gloss black exterior options, like the roof strake and panel, mirror caps and the splitter, diffuser and sills. I had to tick the V12 fender badge option because if nobody can hear it's a V12, I want everyone to see it's a V12.
I was disappointed there were no black wheels on the list to match the top-half of the car, so I settled for the 20-inch 10-spokers in Shadow Chrome.
Red brake calipers? Yes, please.
Interior options were complex. To put it simply, I chose duo-tone environment for the environment split. Yeah, I don't understand any of it either. Basically, I picked black and red seats.
I believe in less is more, so I decided to delete the touchpad, as I would want to focus more on the driving pleasure.
When checking tyre pressure, it's always nice to have a smile on your face while removing the Aston Martin wings on the valve caps. Tick.
Other nonsense accessories I just had to say yes to was the 4-piece luggage set matched to the interior, which is probably priced as much as a Holden Spark. And a car cover was optioned as those cheap covers you get from auto stores never seem to hug the car. Excuse me while I go and print a photo of this to put on my bedroom wall. You're never old enough to do that, by the way.
Max Zhang, Digital Campaign Coordinator
I've gone for the DB11 V12 coupe with grey brake callipers match the Concours Blue body paint. I kept roof colour the same as body paint because I think it looks cleaner this way – though I went for the silver roof strakes.
Black mirror caps to make things interesting, body coloured mirrors are too plain and boring in my opinion. The 20-inch 10-spoke Shadow Chrome wheels, meanwhile, are absolutely beautiful.
Red seatbelts on dark two tone interior give it a sporty vibe. Oh, must tick that box for the V12 badge. Because people need to know.
Mike Costello, Senior Editior
If I was forced to buy an overpriced designer sports car item, it’d probably a Porsche 911. But I have to concede the Aston Martin DB11 looks sharp.
Mine is finished in Skyfall Silver, referencing James Bond, presumably. It sports 20-inch, 10-spoke Shadow chrome wheels with red calipers to offset the duco.
Other choices are a glossy black roof strake (err, the pillars) and roof pane, and carbon-fibre scattered about. And V12 fender badges.
The interior is finished in two tones, with dark red leather seats (called Balmoral, keeping those old Brit references going). I also forked out for heated seats and a better stereo. It’s hilarious that Aston makes you pay extra.
Sarah Aitken, Production Manager
Ok, so I've given this Configurator Challenge a crack as someone who had very limited knowledge about cars! So my DB11 is totally about what I thought looks nice and what I'd actually drive if I was to own one - I wanted something classy, not too flashy, and something that is actually useable!
I mainly went for dark colours, as I personally think they look more understated – like I said, I wanted something classy and not too flashy – and they also don't get grubby.
I had no idea you could get so many 'personalised' accessories with luxury car brands – seems a little self indulgent if you ask me.
"Look at me with my personalised Aston Martin luggage" – in saying that, if someone offered me a set of personalised Aston Martin luggage I wouldn't say no!
So I only went with the umbrella, and OF COURSE the type pillows. My Aston isn't parking on the horrible, disgusting ground where all the other cars park.
Does this mean I actually get this car now?
Melissa Ong, Community Manager
I know. I know what you're thinking. Is Mel seriously stepping outside of her usual White/Red configuration? The answer is yes. Or, in this case, YAAAASSS.
If I am going to buy an Aston Martin, then it's not going to be just any Aston Martin. And let's face it, everyone's idea of the average Aston Martin owner is a old man with a British accent. Or Bond, James Bond. I'm making a statement in what I feel would be a one-of-a-kind configuration (for Australia anyway). Meet my Blush Pearl DB11 Volante – who are we kidding here? It's pink.
Picture this. Melbourne summer warmth (rare!), hair down, roof off, playing Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Want To Have Fun, driving towards the sunset. I figure this would be a regular occurrence in my Aston.
I added forged Gloss Black Diamond Turned 20's with black-painted calipers. Carbon trimmings finish the exterior look, along with the smoked tail-lights.
On the inside, I've gone a Chancellor Red roof lining and dual-tone contrast black/red leather trim. Everything that could be Alcantara, I went there. Inner seat, door visors, headliner etc. In addition to this, I have opted for the Fandango Pink stitching throughout the cabin. Girls gotta match.
Seriously. How good does it look?
MORE: Configurator Challenges