Aston Martin has built the first customer version of its new 600bhp 5.2-litre twin-turbocharged V12, which will power the new DB11, high-end Vantage models and possibly a new flagship SUV and Lagonda saloon for at least a decade, and maybe up to 15 years.
Designed-new from the ground-up in Britain, the alloy block/head design is known internally as the AE31 and replaces the 13-year-old AE28 design – the 6.0-litre V12 that helped Aston re-launch in 2003 under Ford ownership with the DB9.
“This is job one for the next-generation of V12 engine that will be at the heart of Aston Martin’s second-century strategic plan for expansion,” said CEO Andy Palmer.
Palmer signed the engine and said that it would be fitted to the first DB11 production car, which may be retained by the factory, although an alternative plan could see it allocated to a customer.
Aston’s head of powertrain Dr Brian Fitzsimons oversaw the AE31 project, which started in design in summer 2012 and moved rapidly from a test firing in October that year to the production green light in January 2013.
Aston continues to make the engine at a Ford-staffed factory inside its factory at Niehl, Cologne.
The AE31 uses the same 21.5mm bore offset and 60deg vee-angle as the previous-gen 6.0-litre, to ease manufacture, but all the key components are redesigned.
The bore is the same at 89mm – another dimension set by the manufacturing equipment – but the stroke is much shorter at 69.7mm – hence the reduction in swept capacity.