For Aston Martin, a V12 is much more than a pair of inline-six engines joined on the crank. That iconic “vee” configuration has delivered an enormous portion of the the character of the previous couple of iterations of the DB vehicles.
For the 2017 DB11, the entire reboot of the automobile sequence that sits firmly on the checklist of best vehicles ever (with somewhat assist from James Bond), Aston Martin was compelled to concede to fashionable calls for barely. How? By including a pair of turbochargers and dropping the engine displacement, however that simply meant much more energy from an much more environment friendly bundle.
Now, it is time to down-size additional. That is the brand new, V8-powered DB11, a British icon with an unapologetically German coronary heart beating beneath that lengthy, low, beautiful clamshell hood. Does the AMG-sourced powertrain stunt the character, or does the 250-pound weight financial savings imply much less is extra? Let’s discover out.
Affalterbach involves Gaydon
Look below the hood of a V12-powered DB11 and you may surprise how the automobile’s engineers managed to stuff a lot motor in such a tiny bundle. By comparability, the house beneath the V8 version seems to be virtually comically under-utilized, a pair of outsized air intakes taking on house that may seemingly be giant sufficient to hold a second of the Mercedes-AMG-sourced, twin-turbo lumps.
That is mainly the identical four.Zero-liter, twin-turbo V8 engine that is discovered in lots of, many Mercedes-AMG creations, a indisputable fact that Aston Martin is not making an attempt to cover. Sure, you will discover a badge on prime stating that the engine was put in by some English bloke or one other, quite than the everyday signature from somebody named Klaus or Tobias, however you needn’t dig far into the engine bay to discover a lingering AMG emblem. Or three.
The engine has not come over wholesale, nevertheless. The dry-sump lubrication system, which permits high-G cornering on the AMG GT with out concern of dropping oil strain, has been binned in favor of a extra conventional oil pan, simplifying packaging and lowering value.
Right here, the motor delivers 503 horsepower and 498 pound-feet of torque. That is roughly 100 much less horsepower than the V12, however astonishingly very practically the identical quantity of torque; this from a bundle that weighs 250 kilos much less. And, since virtually all that mass has been saved from a place on or forward of the entrance axle, there are some vital dealing with enhancements to be made.
The lighter, extra nimble DB11 can actually hustle.
Much less weight, extra uncooked
That lighter, shorter engine below the hood kicked off a cascade of adjustments that make for a refined however distinctly completely different really feel for the V8-powered DB-11. Much less weight within the nostril in fact meant suspension adjustments can be wanted, giving Aston Chief Engineer and dealing with guru Matt Becker the chance to retool the general really feel of the automobile. Minor tweaks like revised damping and stiffer bushings on the rear sharpen up the nostril.
Equally, much less weight means the flexibility to run smaller brake pistons, delivering much better brake really feel — addressing in all probability my largest grievance within the V12 automobile. The transmission, too, has been adjusted. Although it is the identical eight-speed ZF unit as the sooner automobile, ratios intact, its programming has been revised to make it livelier and extra responsive. Even the steering weight and really feel has been adjusted primarily based on suggestions on the V12.
This is not only a lighter, sharper automobile, it is a refined however complete revision over the V12, and the outcomes are instantly obvious.
This, then, is not only a lighter, sharper automobile, it is a refined however complete revision over the V12, and the outcomes are instantly obvious. Hop within the automobile, toggle by to S+ mode, discover a straight stretch of street and solely the basso profundo observe from the exhaust provides any trace that there is something lacking below the hood. With practically the identical torque because the V12 however a lot much less weight, the V8 DB11 jumps off the road with each little bit of enthusiasm because the heavier, dearer automobile. It is formally rated at 4 seconds for the Zero-to-60 dash, one-tenth slower than the V12 however methinks you will have a tough time discovering that delta in the true world.
Extra importantly, although, the remainder of the driving expertise is simply that bit extra finely honed. The automobile turns into corners with enthusiasm and its 20-inch tires, the identical because the V12, provide strong grip and nice suggestions by the steering. They’re simply overpowered by that V8, although, so do not go turning off the traction management until you are awake. And sure, not like many different vehicles on this class, the TC will be turned all the way in which off.
A digital dashboard is simply one of many highlights offered by the Mercedes-Benz mind in right here.
Smarts to boost the expertise
The motor could also be smaller, however the V8-powered DB11 remains to be a giant automobile, although and nonetheless a really snug one. The lively Bilstein dampers on all 4 corners nonetheless present a remarkably compliant trip, even of their sportier settings, and the roomy cockpit is a lot snug. Supplies have been simplified a bit, the cabin barely decluttered over the sooner DB11, making for a really good place to cowl massive miles.
That is augmented by Aston’s new dashboard expertise: the infotainment system beforehand often known as Comand. It isn’t as quick or as complete as what you will discover within the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class or S-Class, however it’s up to now forward of what was present in older Aston Martins that it is actually laborious to complain.
Aston engineers even took the time to refine the shift paddles on the again of the wheel, shortening the throw and bettering really feel. That, plus the extra responsive programming on that eight-speed auto, means those that need to decide their very own gear have simply that rather more motive to take action.
The logical selection?
At a beginning value of $198,995, the V8-powered Aston Martin DB11 is nearly $20,000 cheaper than its V12 predecessor. On this class, that is just some ticked choice containers away from equal, and so it is genuinely laborious to make a monetary case for the V8 — until you occur to dwell in China, the place vehicles with better than four.Zero liter engines are topic to an eye-watering 20 p.c consumption tax.
These in the remainder of the world will really want to have a look at this automobile for its sensible advantages. Particularly, the sharper dealing with and the myriad different little tweaks and fixes that debut right here, just like the improved shift paddles. All these tweaks will certainly come to the V12 powered automobile in one other mannequin 12 months or two, however for now, the additional refinement within the V8 automobile provides it a slight edge.
The V8, then, is the logical automobile. It is the one which makes probably the most sense. However, when making a purchase order, like this it is hardly ever the top that makes the ultimate name. If after studying all this your coronary heart nonetheless says V12… effectively, I do not suppose I can blame you one bit.