Aston Martin's DB11 V8 Uses an Eight-Cylinder AMG Engine, But You Wouldn't Tell

2018 Aston Martin DB11 V8 1 photo
Photo: Aston Martin
It's fair to say that the two things which have defined Aston Martin as a brand so far were the design and the wonderful sound its engines were making. OK, perhaps its association with James Bond might warrant a mention as well.
The cars weren't particularly exciting to drive even for GTs, but when that wailing coming out of a naturally-aspirated V12 that reached its maximum power output at 6,500 rpm made itself heard, you instantly got goosebumps and the unexplainable desire to work very hard and buy one for yourself.

For this kind of vehicles, the sound is an integral part of its character, so Aston Martin had to be careful how it manages the switch to AMG-sourced turbocharged engines. You don't want people to close their eyes and mistake the new DB11 V8 for a Mercedes-AMG GT S now, do you?

Not that AMGs sound bad - quite the contrary. It's just that their raw repertoire does not fit with the refined gentleman look that Aston Martin is going for, plus it's just as much an integral part of the AMG character as the V12 whine is for Aston Martin.

“Most petrol-heads will … probably hear an AMG coming before they see an AMG coming,” said Simon Croft, senior manager of global launch strategy at Aston Martin quoted by Auto Guide. “But it has an engine character sound that isn’t in line with what an Aston Martin V8 would be.”

“So, if you look at … a sonograph of an [AMG] engine, you see it generates its main noise very low down in the frequencies; it’s a bass-heavy engine," Croft pointed out. "That is not an Aston characteristic that is in tune with us and our brand. We need to move that dominant sound up into the frequency range.”

The engineers (some of them being sound engineers, we would imagine) went into overdrive and began working on the AMG unit to tweak not its power, as is usually the case, but the sound it generates. To do that they mostly played with the intake and exhaust - the parts that have air moving through them at high speed.

“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.”

The first reviews of the new V8-powered Aston Martin DB11 are largely favorable, with almost all of them pointing out to the sound aspect and commending Aston on the fine job it has done masking the V8. That's what we'd call a win-win situation for everybody - AMG, Aston Martin, the clients, and everyone having a DB11 V8 pass them by.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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