Over the past few years, we’ve heard rumors and finally confirmations that future Aston Martins would have AMG engines in them. And today they unveiled the new Aston Martin DB11 and it... doesn’t.
This was a surprise to me. Aston Martin isn’t a big company, and I didn’t think they’d have the resources to make an all-new, emissions-compliant big V12. This is a 5.2 liter twin-turbo V12. Making it road legal isn’t easy for any carmaker to do in the face of ever-tighter international regulations. Also, AMG makes a big twin-turbo V12 of its own, at 6.0 liters.
Aston’s deal with AMG made me think that their 5.2 liter V12 was some kind of sleeved-down version of AMG’s 6.0.
I got to see one of the three DB11s in the world today, accompanied by Aston Martin’s representative Matt Clarke. I explained my surprise to him, and he explained why I was wrong.
“The nice part of being a small company, is you can do things without anyone noticing.”
Clarke affirmed that the new V12 has nothing to do with AMG; the V12's development started back in 2011, long before the company had its German deal.
And Clarke reiterated that the engine has nothing to do with Aston’s previous big V12. That engine was built out of two Ford V6s and traces its roots back to 1996 when it was first designed to power the Ford Indigo concept of all things. The new one is just that, all new.
“Only one part is shared,” Clarke tells me against questions if that part is, say, the entire engine. “It’s a fuse, I think.”
Aston’s strategy for meeting emissions regulations followed pretty much the industry standard: downsize and add turbos. The turbos let the engine run more efficiently, and let the carmaker sort of game the system of emissions testing. And the turbos make up for the power lost by dropping down to just 5.2 liters of displacement versus the old car’s 6.0.
Exact performance figures (claimed to be around 600 hp) aren’t out yet, nor are exhaust or mileage numbers. I don’t even know who is Aston’s turbo supplier.
None of Aston’s people knew precisely where the turbos were located, but they weren’t hard to find. Each is mounted downstream of each cylinder bank, nestled deep at the edges of the engine bay.
Trace those two big air boxes on either side of the engine and they’re down there.
Couple that with some future electric-only cars to drop the corporate average and the new DB11's motor becomes feasible.