Aston gets access to AMG resources to develop bespoke V8 engines; partnership could extend to platforms – Aston SUV plan revived, too
Darren Moss
19 December 2013

Aston Martin and Mercedes-Benz have formally launched their new technical partnership, having first signed a letter of intent in July. 

The principle benefit of the deal for Aston Martin is access to AMG's technical resources, allowing it to develop a bespoke range of V8 engines to power its next-generation models. 

In return, Daimler will receive five per cent of the non-voting shares in Aston Martin and an observer status on the company's board of directors.

In a statement today, the two companies said they plan to expand the agreement to cover sharing electronic components, and "will investigate additional areas of operation" in the future.

One area of expansion already discussed involves the two companies sharing vehicle platforms. Speaking to Autocar earlier this year, Aston Martin boss Ulrich Bez said the deal could work in the same way as VW Group's operations, which has allowed Porsche to use the Volkswagen Touareg platform to create the Cayenne. 

Such a move could also lead to the revival of Aston Martin's Lagonda SUV concept. The Lagonda was first seen at the Geneva motor show in 2009, but was moved to the back burner because a suitable vehicle platform could not be found. Bez has already confirmed that work has resumed on the full-size SUV, which could be seen as early as 2017.

A statement from Aston Martin read: "Our company is this year celebrating its centenary, and the partnership agreed today underpins prospects for Aston Martin’s bright, vibrant and dynamic second century in the sports car business.”

“This strategic collaboration for Aston Martin will, in our next generation of luxury sports cars, offer our customers increased performance and efficiency whilst retaining the unique character and style of an Aston Martin.”

Mercedes boss Tobias Moers said the agreement was "a real win-win" situation for both companies.

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Comments
15

19 December 2013
I know the Cygnet was a load of rubbish but I assume Aston still have to keep their emissions levels down across the range so I could see there being an Aston badged A Class in the future, especially if it has the A25 engine.

19 December 2013
Aston needs a technical partner and this is probably the best option there is. I'd love it if Jaguar were able to do this role, but in reality they aren't. Mercedes is in a better position to offer Aston what it needs for the future; and with the AMG engines and access to other technologies it has a future.
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Let's not go mysty eyed thinking that an Aston has to have every nut and bolt custom made by hand; they don't. I'm sure even the top of the line Ferrari has parts from the Fiat 500 in there somewhere. If it's the right part, then that's the part to use.
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Even if Mercedes starts to take an ownership interest in Aston, just like BMW for Rolls Royce, or VW for Bentley, it can only be good for both companies.

19 December 2013
I'm guessing that even as I write someone familiar with Gaydon has been commissioned to find the right form of words to suggest that these new engines are handbuilt - or perhaps I mean pointlessly hand-rebuilt in Britain - without offending the Germans who actually make them or the requirements of the various trades descriptions acts. Aston Martin after all just wouldn't be Aston Martin without all the marketing nonsense.

19 December 2013
This deal is essential for Daimler too. They were humiliated with Maybach and then with the SLS, as the Mercedes badge didn't cut it with the super-rich either. If they want another crack at the high-end then this is the only "heritage" nameplate left.

19 December 2013
in what way was Mercedes humiliated by the SLS? Get your fact's right. If you are talking about depreciation i think you should tput the Rapide in that sentence too.

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19 December 2013
This is precisely what is potentially wrong with the AMG deal -- AMG engines just dropped into an Aston. IF this is the result, from the perspective of this long-time Aston enthusiast and owner of 4+ years, this would be one of the worst things that could happen to Aston Martin. I'd take my current 4.7L Aston-engined V8V over a Benz-engined "Aston" every single time.

It's different with a car like Pagani, which doesn't have 100 years of heritage. Paganis have always used Benz engines, and they still do -- but it's not just an existing AMG engine dropped into a Pagani.

David Brown chose not to drop other companies' engines into Astons -- he said such a car "wouldn't be an Aston Martin." Victor Gauntlett chose not to drop other companies' engines into Astons. Astons are "thoroughbreds," he said, and using someone else's engine would completely undermine that. AMG-engined "Astons" would be the end of Aston Martin IMO, and would ensure that I would not buy another new one.

The AMG deal must result in bespoke Aston engines, as the press release says it will. "Bespoke" to the same degree as the current engines (to reiterate, the current V8 is "based on" the Jag V8 but has its own Aston-only block, crank, bearings, rods, pistons, rings, cams, valves, heads, etc.) would suffice for me.

For me, it’s not only about what a car does, it’s also about what it actually is. I have no desire to own a Bentley Conti GT, for example, because underneath (platform, engine, driveline, etc.) it's a Phaeton. I'd love a Mulsanne, though. Similarly, the Rolls Ghost leaves me cold, no matter how great a car it is, as there is too much 7-series in it.

Use M-B’s technology and know-how, use the electronics and emissions tech. Adapt their direct injection, stop-start, etc. Use their engines as a starting point, as was done with the current V8 and V12, and develop Aston-only engines with their own bespoke bore and stroke, crank, bearings, rods, pistons, rings, cams, heads, valves, etc. Don’t just use "retuned versions" of AMG engines, like what Bentley does with Audi engines -- that won't do it. These are expensive, iconic cars. This is Aston Martin – respect that and spend the money to do it right. Ford did with the Vanquish and the current cars, and that strategy made for the best and most successful cars in Aston Martin history. Build on that – don’t throw it away by cheaping out and dropping someone else's engines into Astons. No matter how good those engines may be, they don't belong in an Aston Martin.

If I want an AMG engine, I'll buy an AMG. When I buy an Aston Martin, I want an Aston Martin engine.

289

19 December 2013
Aston Martin bespoke engines? if I buy an Aston Martin I expect an Aston Martin engine?..... don't make me laugh, the V12 is two Mondeo engines nailed together, in fact all the engines were Ford designed.
I would have thought the Mercedes-Benz/AMG link would be a considerable jump up!

19 December 2013
SLS production is ending early (at the half-way point of the model cycle) with no direct replacement. Their next sports car will sit in the bracket below, reflecting the fact that the SLS is also known for its whopping depreciation. Fact: the Mercedes "brand" simply isn't exclusive enough for the high-end. A tie up with AML makes perfect sense.

19 December 2013
" .....a Bentley Conti GT, for example, because underneath (platform, engine, driveline, etc.) it's a Phaeton. I'd love a Mulsanne, though. "

think you need to gen up a bit on what makes a Continental GT. I think you'll find that the engine is further from the Phaeton unit than the Aston Martin V8 is from the Jaguar version. VAG did a good job by using common parts where it could without (IMHO) compromising the 'feel' of a Bentley, much as BMW have done with RR (funny that!). Look closely and you'll find the Mulsanne has a bit more Audi in it than Crewe would like to admit to, too.

Fact is, it's just not economically viable for the smaller manufacturers to develop their own engines from scratch. The AMG partnership makes sense for Aston Martin's survival - without a credible partner they are dead and buried with no future. Granted they have to be careful and canny with what they share in order to retain the 'Aston Martin-ness'.

Good luck to them. (but please make the Lagonda just a tad more aesthetically pleasing when it becomes real!)

19 December 2013
.. In what way is a AMG engine not hand built.. Every engine is signed by the individual that built it!

Also to the comment that the SLS was a humiliation .. Where is it a failure??? It a car that has been praised for it performance, it's engine and it's head turning looks! It is not finishing it model cycle early .. It was always planned to have a short life cycle !

So I can't see that Aston are losing out in this deal.. Merc have advanced tech Aston Tech is dating fast , great high performance engines Aston engines are again dated , at there limit of development potential heavy and fuel inefficient!

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