The DB11 is the first car in the new model plan and the second, the Vantage, will arrive next year. The new Vantage is tipped to be revealed in autumn 2017 and on sale by year’s end.
Palmer, speaking to Autocar at the Geneva show, said the design had been fixed and described its styling as the “love child of DB10 and DBX”. Palmer has told design chief Marek Reichman to make each Aston design more distinctive, to “create different personalities for the cars”. As a result, the Vantage will be made considerably sportier for its second generation.
“We’re not cookie cutting now,” he said. “The brief is to make each model look like an Aston, but next to each other my 77-year-old mother must be able to tell them apart. The DB11 is a GT. You do long distances in it and it has a comfortable ride. The Vantage is our race car. It’s the weekend warrior. It’s the track car - much edgier.”
Reichman said the Vantage would be “completely different from the DB11, with not a panel in common. In design terms, it owes more to 007’s DB10”. Indeed, the original design sketch the Bond producers were drawn to when discussing the DB10 was an early one of the new Vantage.
One Aston insider also said: “While the DB11 makes you want to stop and look at it, the Vantage’s shape is so sporting that it makes you just want to get in and drive.”
The new Vantage will be built at Aston’s Gaydon HQ on a shortened version of the DB11’s new bonded and riveted aluminium architecture. It’s likely to follow the template of the DB11 in being slightly longer, wider and lower than the model it replaces, with a longer wheelbase. Expect the DB11’s interior technology to carry over in a much sportier cabin.
The Vantage is expected to usher Mercedes-AMG-sourced turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engines into the Aston range. It’s likely to be offered in two states of tune: around 400bhp in the base model and 450bhp in the Vantage S, although these are conservative estimates. The DB11’s all-new twin-turbo 5.2-litre V12 should also make it into the Vantage to create a range-topping model.
There’s more of a question mark over the V8 being offered in the DB11, but this is likely to come for more CO2-conscious markets.
“The Vantage is the perfect car for the V8,” said Palmer. “The DB11 will be first introduced as a V12.”
So keen will Aston be to push the rear-wheel-drive Vantage as its sporty model that it could be sold with a six-speed manual gearbox only. The DB11 has an eight-speed automatic as an option. Palmer is not a fan of dual-clutch automatic gearboxes.
The Vantage will also be used to underpin Aston’s next Le Mans racer, expected around 2018-2019.