Eight into 11 Will Go: Aston Martin Debuts AMG V-8 in DB11 ""
Posted on: June 27, 2017

Aston-Martin-DB-11-PLACEMENT

We’ve been telling you about Aston Martin’s deal to use the Mercedes-AMG twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 engine for several years, but now we’re seeing the first fruit of the partnership. Not, as originally expected, in the new Vantage—which will come later this year—but rather in the recently launched DB11, where it will serve alongside Aston Martin’s own twin-turbocharged 5.2-liter V-12.

The DB11 V-8 will be revealed at this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, and although the smaller engine allows a less expensive route to DB11 ownership, it’s hard to describe it using vulgar terms like “entry level” or “base.” For starters, it will generate 503 horsepower, 97 hp less than the twin-turbo 12-cylinder but still a more than adequate sufficiency for most people; that’s the same output that Mercedes claims for the S version of the AMG C63 using the engine. Aston claims a 4.0-second zero-to-62-mph time for the new car, just 0.1 second adrift from its official estimate for the V-12, although the V-8’s 187-mph top speed falls 13 mph short of the claim for its big-hearted stablemate.

Aston’s specific changes to the engine from Mercedes-AMG–spec include its own wet-sump oiling system, air intake, and exhaust; new engine mounts; and new ECU software with reprogrammed engine and throttle mapping. The V-8 also pares a considerable amount of mass from the DB, subtracting 254 pounds from the claimed curb weight, dropping this to 3880 pounds. Aston Martin describes the smaller engine as giving the DB11 an increased sense of agility and reckons it will appeal over the V-12 to those “drawn to a refined and comfortable GT with a more sporting bias.”

Although both V-8 and V-12 variants get the same standard equipment and color and trim choices, there are some subtle visual differences, with the V-8 car having dark headlamp bezels and two bonnet vents instead of the four fitted to the V-12.

When we spoke to Aston Martin president and CEO Andy Palmer about the car earlier in the year, he said that the V-8 is aimed primarily at markets that charge higher tax rates on cars with larger-displacement engines. “In China you’ve got a tax threshold at 4.0 liters, so the difference between that and a 5.2-liter engine is enormous in terms of cost,” he explained.

That acknowledged, we’d be surprised if the new powerplant didn’t exert a strong appeal to those looking for a more dynamic take on the DB11. We suspect that, with more than 250 pounds less mass (most of it coming off the front axle), we’ll find that the V-8 is the sharper-handling choice in the DB11 line, although we’ll have to reserve judgment until we drive it. It would be similar, though, to the situation with the Mercedes-AMG S-class coupes, in which the S63 V-8 is more nimble than the V-12–powered S65.

Customers can order the V-8 DB11 immediately, with U.S. deliveries set to begin in the fall. The recommended retail price of $198,995 represents a $17,500 savings over the starting price of the V-12; even if you’re Aston-rich, that’s still a chunk of change.

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