The first details have emerged of what Aston Martin’s client base can expect from its new partnership with Mercedes and AMG.
The last time the company used a force-fed V8 was on the 1992 Virage Vantage, one of the fastest, most powerful cars in Aston Martin's100-year history. Photo:AFP
When the partnership between the two companies was announced back in July, no details were given as to how long it would take for AMG engines to make their way under Aston Martin hoods or what sort of engines its future customers could expect.
But, speaking to Auto Express this week, Mercedes CEO Dr Dieter Zetsche has revealed that the first new engines will arrive by 2017. “When you make decisions like this it usually takes three to four years to see the results,” he said.
Since the interview, speculation in the industry is mounting that the first AMG engines won't be built from the ground up for Aston but instead, the powerplants for the next-generation DB9 and Vantage models will be the current 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 AMG unit, found in the SL 63AMG and the latest AMG S Class, which, even when de-tuned for a super sedan can churn out 577bhp and which is, according to reports, about to be dropped from the Mercedes range altogether.
Hopefully this engine, as wonderful as it is in any Mercedes, is just a stopgap until the partnership is more solid and co-development of drivetrains, gearboxes, model-specific engines and other components is underway.
But it’s still good news for Aston which, despite still winning the race if allowed to compete solely on looks, is being left further and further behind by its supercar competitors in terms of engine and driver aid technology.
And before purists start mourning the loss of the V12s that have powered most recent Aston Martins, don’t forget that the jump from V8s to V12s has been a recent occurrence -- the fastest Aston of the last century was the snarling, twin-supercharged V8 Virage Vantage which debuted in 1992. And finally, there’s the fact that the current V12s, as wonderful as they sound, actually start out life as two Ford V6 engines for practical family cars which are welded together by Cosworth to create a V12.
So all in all, a reason for Aston fans to cheer and for the development teams at Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren to get a little hot under the collar.