Four years ago, Aston Martin and AMG announced a partnership in which Aston Martin cars would get AMG engines and Mercedes electronics. Mercedes would get a five percent equity in Aston Martin. Good stuff all around!
The 2018 Aston Martin DB11 V8 is the first Aston Martin to see the fruit of that partnership, with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, churning out 503 horsepower, beneath the hood. It sounds pretty damn good:
Now, this is basically the same engine that you’d find in a Mercedes-AMG GT, just with slight tuning tweaks. That doesn’t mean that they sound the same, though.
Speaking to AutoGuide, Simon Croft, senior manager of global launch strategy at Aston Martin said that an AMG’s engine sound characteristic doesn’t really match that of an Aston’s.
He pointed out that a sonograph of an AMG engine shows that it “generates its main noise very low down in the frequencies,” making it a very “bass-heavy engine.”
He’s not wrong, either. Here’s a clip of a Mercedes-AMG GT S. You can hear how guttural the engine sounds, even as the revs climb. The tone of the sound doesn’t really change, it just kind of gets louder.
According to AutoGuide:
To deliver a suitable automotive symphony, engineers went to work fine-tuning various parts of the car’s engine, chiefly its intake and exhaust bits, while leaving big-ticket components, like the cylinder block, alone.
“Changing the way the air goes in, changing the way the exhaust gasses and the sound is coming out, changing the engine management system, changing the throttle progression — those enable us to give it an Aston character rather than the AMG character,” said Croft.
Aston Martin V12s have long been some of the best-sounding engines ever. Part of the reason for that is because their shouts have more treble in them than base, twisting and evolving up the rev range. The dynamic nature of the sound makes them is what makes them so wonderful to listen to—it’s almost like listening to a sentence that you want to get to the end of. Cutting it off in the middle just feels... wrong.
That’s been the expectation for Aston Martin engine notes. Now, with a twin-turbo V8, Aston had to do a little work to make them sound just as good. They didn’t do a bad job.