Net profit in the first three months of the year climbed to €2.1 billion ($3.1 billion) from €1.8 billion in the same period of 2010, a statement said, for a gain of almost 17 percent.
Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a more modest rise to
€1.9 billion and Deutsche Bank shares shot to the top of the gainers list in early Frankfurt trading.
The latest result came within a few million euros of the bank's best ever quarterly result, in early 2007 before the global financial crisis erupted. A key contributor to the results was the group's core investment bank activities, which reported a pre-tax profit of €2.6 billion, stable on the year.
But retail banking and asset management activities made considerable progress meanwhile, with a pre-tax result that leapt from €184 million a year ago to €978 million this time around.
The "record result" arose from the acquisitions last year of Postbank, which has Germany's biggest retail banking network, and the private bank Sal Oppenheim.
Additional help was provided by the consolidation in Deutsche Bank's books of its 19.99 percent stake in Hua Xia Bank, a Chinese group, the statement said.
It quoted Deutsche Bank chairman Josef Ackermann as saying: "We will continue to invest in our franchise and are confident that we will deliver on our ambitious target of income before income tax of €10 billion from our business divisions."
Of that sum, €3.5 billion had already been earned in the first quarter, the bank said.
Deutsche Bank's total group revenues gained an annualised 16 percent in the first quarter meanwhile, to €10.5 billion.
As European banks brace for a new round of stress tests, Deutsche Bank said its core tier 1 ratio, a measure of its ability to withstand shocks, had risen to 9.6 percent from 8.7 percent at the end of 2010.
Provisions for credit losses amounted to €373 million in the quarter, a gain of 42 percent owing to the inclusion of €206 million from Postbank. Without that, provisions would have declined by 37 percent to €96 million, "reflecting the overall favourable economic environment," technical factors, and the result of portfolio sales, the bank said.
Shares in the bank surged by 3.43 percent to €43.23 in opening trade on the Frankfurt stock exchange, while the DAX index of German blue-chips was 0.64 percent higher overall.