Why Is Aston Martin Testing a DB11 With a Mercedes-AMG V8 Engine?

Aston Martin DB11 V8 10 photos
Photo: screenshot from YouTube
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Daimler and Aston Martin are in a partnership nowadays, chiefly because the three-pointed star owns five percent of the British carmaker. What we weren’t expecting, however, was to find the M178 twin-turbo V8 under the hood of the DB11 grand tourer.
YouTube car spotter Supercarsfromeu076 got up close and personal to a camouflaged 2017 Aston Martin DB11 in Germany while the car was being refueled in the vicinity of the Nurburgring. Before we go any further, press play and listen closely to the sound this British interloper makes.

Firstly, it seems to me as if there’s something missing from the exhaust system. Secondly, the sound it makes at low revs has the characteristics of a burbly V8. Mercedes-AMG M178 engine, anyone? It sounds like it to my ears. The question is, what’s a V8 doing in the engine bay of a DB11?

I have a gut feeling about this, so bear with me. If Aston Martin wants to sell more cars per year, it has to make lots of cars at lots of price points. The 2018 Aston Martin V8 Vantage will be the entry-level offering once it goes official, while the DBX Concept-based crossover will be the Chelsea Tractor of the lineup. The DB11 is a cash cow in its own right, so why wouldn’t the British company add a less expensive model to the range?

Now let’s talk about output. Whereas the twin-turbocharged V12 of the regular DB11 makes do with 608 PS (600 hp), the AE31 powerhouse is good for a maximum of 820 ponies according to Aston Martin. The AMG-bred twin-turbo V8, on the other hand, produces up to 585 PS (577 hp) in the Mercedes-AMG GT R. That’s too close for comfort in my book, which is why I’m willing to bet a tenner the more affordable Aston Martin DB11 with its AMG-developed power plant will make do with no more than 550 PS (542 hp).

Even though there’s a big question mark hovering above the possibility that Aston Martin will put the V8-powered DB11 into production, the truth is the future holds great promise. Other than an all-new V8/V12 Vantage, a crossover SUV, the next-generation Vanquish, and two sedans, Aston Martin has also hinted that the AM-RB 001 is the springboard for a mid-engine supercar. One that will take on the Ferrari 488 GTB, to be more precise.

Are you excited or what?

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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