Used test: Aston Martin DB11 vs Bentley Continental GT

The Aston Martin DB11 and the Bentley Continental GT are fast, British and desirable, but which one makes more sense as a used buy? Read on to find out...

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What Car? team
27 January 2019

Used test: Aston Martin DB11 vs Bentley Continental GT

The Contenders

Aston Martin DB11 5.2 V12

List price when new £154,900

Price today  £106,000

Available from 2016-present

If you’re looking to blend sports car thrills with long-distance comfort, the DB11 is worth a look

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Bentley Continental GT 6.0 W12

List price when new  £168,900

Price today £100,000

Available from  2012-2018

Nothing combines a top-notch image with supercar-baiting performance quite like the luxurious Continental GT

Price today is based on a 2016 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

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Think Aston Martin and Bentley and you'll probably conjure up images from the 1930s of two British sports cars full of bright young things cruising down to some opulent hotel in the south of France. Today, the scene may be very different, but the cars are every bit as exciting.

Here, we’re taking an example of a more modern Aston and Bentley and trying them out at two years old, to find out which one cuts the (English) mustard and to see if buying them used is a good way of having all the thrills for a lot less money. Both of these luxurious coupés need to be fast and fun to drive when the mood takes you, and yet still be comfortable cruisers when it doesn’t.

Aston Martin’s handsome DB11 is powered by a mighty V12 engine and delivers some serious performance. It was an immediate hit when it was launched in 2016. The equally plush Bentley Continental GT was around for more than 13 years before it was replaced by the all-new Conti GT in 2018, but it had various updates along the way in order to keep it fresh. In what was the range-topping Speed form, it has a W12 petrol engine (a 12-cylinder unit in a W shape rather than a V) that pumps out even more power than the DB11. It also has four-wheel drive for unflappable all-weather traction.  Read on to see which super-cruiser makes the most sense as a used buy.

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What are they like to drive?

These coupés are designed to waft you to your preferred destination in comfort, and both can get you there very quickly. Although the DB11’s engine produces less power and torque than the Continental’s, it starts to pull from lower revs. The DB11 is also more than half a tonne lighter than its British rival, so in dry conditions it’s easily the faster-accelerating car. However, the Continental’s four-wheel drive helped it match the DB11’s 0-60mph time in our tests, which were held in damp conditions.

Aston Martin DB11 vs Bentley Continental GT

Set to their sportiest driving modes, both cars' eight-speed automatic gearboxes are equally responsive, especially when you take control using the shift paddles mounted behind the steering wheel. The gravelly V12 roar of the DB11’s engine will make you smile more than the Continental’s bassy howl as you’re propelled towards the Côte d’Azur, though.

On the cruise down there, the DB11 will annoy you more with considerably greater road and wind noise and an engine that doesn’t really quieten down, even in its calmest driving mode. Aston Martin says it’s still working on sealing the DB11’s interior from the outside elements, but we doubt it’ll ever match the Continental, which is eerily quiet at high speeds.

Used Bentley Continental GT 11-present

It’s the same story with the way the two cars ride in their most compliant settings. The DB11 is comfortable on the motorway, but its standard 19in wheels pick up on road scars and ruts at lower speeds, sending a jolt through your backside. Although the Continental has larger 20in wheels, it stays more settled around town and is just as composed at high speeds.

Should you decide to take an Alpine pass rather than the autoroute, the DB11 will reward you more, however. Its quicker, more feelsome steering and better-balanced handling make it much more fun when the road starts to meander. The Continental’s greater weight hinders its agility, forcing its front wheels to run wide earlier through tight turns, while its lighter and less communicative steering is nowhere near as rewarding.

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