Aston Martin Debuts New Twin-Turbo V8 On The DB11 Coupe – Forbes
Aston Martin’s Second Century plan – an ambitious undertaking that will see the bespoke British automaker build seven new models in seven years – kicked off last year with the V12-powered DB11 coupe, the first new Aston Martin introduced in a decade.
The company is now launching a second version of the DB11, this one powered by a Mercedes-AMG-developed, 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that will trickle down to other Aston nameplates, such as the next-generation Vantage that will be revealed in November.
I sat down with Ian Hartley, Aston Martin’s senior manager of vehicle dynamics, to learn what the new V8 engine means for the future of the 104-year-old British brand favored by James Bond.
Jaclyn Trop: Aston Martin debuted its newest car, the DB11, last year as a V12-powered Grand Tourer. This year, you’re launching it with a V8. Why?
Ian Hartley: With the V8, the car is more agile and has more control for sportier driving. I think it compliments this car because of the dynamics as well. I like the V12 in that it’s a different proposition in terms of that it feels a little lazier so that it delivers the performance easier. The V8 is almost egging you on a bit, so it makes you want to drive quicker and as a result, the dynamics support the engine. Launching a GT with two different engines is a new strategy, but we’ve actually always had V8 engines in the lineup, so I don’t see the DB11’s V8 as destroying the heritage side of it. It just offers another choice for the customer.
Trop: Why is the DB11 an important car for Aston Martin?
Hartley: The DB11 is the first car of the Second Century plan, so from my perspective, in this plan we are trying to make our cars have greater differentiation between the models. Previously, we had a flagship Vanquish, a V8 Vantage sports car, and then the DB9, which is our GT, but it was still quite a sporty GT. And then we had Rapide S, which was our sporty four-door car. There wasn’t enough differentiation between the cars for a customer to say, “I just want a comfy cruising car.” So this really gave us the opportunity to put a lot more separation into our cars, and the GT DB11 is our most comfortable car at the moment. And then our Vantage would be a lot more focused. It’s really given us the opportunity to give the customer exactly what they want.
Trop: What does the new engine tell us about Aston’s future direction?
Hartley: I’d expect in the long term that we’d make use of the engines we’ve got. This engine will be used in the Vantage, with a different dynamic proposition, style and interior. And then for future models the V8 will be the core engine. The Volante, as you’ve seen, has just been launched with the V8 engine. So it will be around for a while.