Aston Martin executives are hotly debating what to call the DB9 replacement, due in 2016. “It’ll definitely be a DB,” revealed Aston design director Marek Reichman, “but what number will follow that is yet to be decided.”

Chronologically, it should be DB10, but Reichman points out that, by this logic, the current car should have been called the DB8.

“We skipped a number last time to try to emphasise what a big step the new car was,” he said. “As the next one will be at least as big a step forward, there’s no reason why we couldn’t do so again.”

But neither will Reichman rule out simply reusing the existing name – an idea some senior Aston executives are known to be keen on.

The new DB9 will be built around an all-new bonded aluminium platform and is set to be powered by a new twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine designed and built by Mercedes-AMG.

AMG will not provide a bespoke version for Aston. Instead, off-the-shelf engines will be modified to sound, respond and feel like an Aston Martin engine.

Modifications would extend to bespoke engine management and exhaust systems and possibly revised turbo boost pressures but no internal mechanical changes. 

Even if no more power is liberated, the base 503bhp tune of the new V8 is close to the 510bhp of the existing 5.9-litre V12, but it comes with 479lb ft at just 1750rpm, compared to 457lb ft at 5500rpm for the current unit.

Installed in a car claimed by an insider to be “dramatically” lighter, performance will improve. Economy and emissions figures are also set to be 20 per cent better than those of the current DB9.

The motor will be mated to Mercedes’ new nine-speed automatic transmission. In the meantime, the existing DB9 will use the old six-speed ZF unit rather than be upgraded to a new ZF eight-speed unit.

Reichman said the shape of the new car would be more than an evolution of the current model. “There’ll be a little more revolution in it,” he said. “It will be unmistakably an Aston and a DB at that, but it will look fresh and modern.”

Read more about Aston Martin's future model plans

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below: