Aston Martin is one of the top car manufacturers when it comes to front engined, high-performance Grand Tourers. With models like the Vantage, Vanquish, and DB series, they have won over the hearts of the older generation of moto enthusiasts for quite some time. The reason being is that stereotypically the older gearheads prefer comfort and styling rather than performance when it comes to choosing an exotic car. And James Bond. However, over the past 5 years or so, Aston Martin has become far more appealing to the speed freaks thanks to models like the 800hp Vulcan. Aston plans on continuing that trend with the upcoming Valkyrie. There’s another bit of information that leads us to believe that Aston is focusing a lot more on the performance aspect, and that’s a recent partnership with Mercedes-AMG. The idea was to start using AMG engines in popular Aston models, and you’re looking at the first example of that partnership with the new DB11 V8.
Aston Martin considers themselves to be a V12 company. That’s their bread and butter. On the V8 front, they were willing to admit that they could use a little help. This is where AMG steps into the picture. There is no question that AMG knows a thing or two about building a high powered V8s that will compete with the best in the business. Which is why the powers that be at Aston Martin decided to use the potent 4.0L twin turbo that also sits under the hood of the AMG S63, E63, C63, and of course the AMG GT. The DB11 is officially the first Aston to use the new AMG engine and it seems like its going to be a perfect fit, both literally and figuratively.
Like the Vantage models of old, the DB11 will come with the option of either a V12 or V8. The V12 we spoke of when the DB11 first hit the market is no slouch when it comes to performance. It’s rated at 600hp and 516lb-ft of torque, which is perfect for a grand touring road trip car. Aston’s Chief Executive, Andy Palmer, refers to the V12 platform as an “intercontinental missile” that you’d use for an all day jaunt across the country. Where the V8 is the better choice if you’re looking to smash up your local canyon road or take it out to the local autocross course.
The AMG V8 is “only” rated at 503hp, so it’s not going to be quite as fast as the V12 when it comes to top speed blasts on the Autobahn. However, in most everyday circumstances the V8 will be right on par with the slightly more potent V12 due to its immense 513lb-ft of torque. Having almost the same amount of torque as the V12 will make a significant difference when it comes to acceleration, especially because the V8 is said to be 253lbs lighter thanks to smaller cooling system requirements.
Apparently though, where the biggest difference lies between the DB11 V12 and V8, is the handling. Engineers managed to fit the entire V8 behind the front axle which completely changed the weight distribution of the car to a 49 percent/ 51 percent front to back versus the 51/49 for the V12 model. That should help the front end of the car dive into turns much quicker and feel more nimble than the V12. As far as projected performance specs, the V8 has a claimed 0-60 time of just 4.0 seconds, not too shabby for a car weighing in at 3,880lbs. The V12 is estimated to hit 60mph in 3.9 seconds which is rather impressive that we’re only talking about a one-tenth of a second difference between the two.
I want to point out what I feel to be the one drawback of an AMG V8 powering an Aston, and that’s the sound it’ll make. If you listen to the exhaust note of an AMG V8 it has an unmistakable grunt and growl. It’s deep and throaty, almost what you would think a muscle car should sound like. But Aston Martin feels as if they are far too refined and gentleman-like to have their cars sound like the abominable snowman gargling a handful of nails. So apparently they have figured out a way to “Astonize,” or tone down, the sound coming from the V8. Granted, it does make sense to a degree, but if you remember the Vulcan is so obnoxiously loud that it’s actually illegal at most race tracks.
Official driving reviews are scheduled to be released September 27th so that’s when we will find out exactly what its like to get behind the wheel of an AMG powered Aston Martin. Those that have been lucky enough to pilot one of these spectacular machines have been sworn to secrecy until then. But hey, at least we get a glimpse at what the DB11 V8 will look like in the meantime.