This, therefore, is quite a dramatically altered animal – particularly when you consider how significantly its weight saving must also contribute to that dynamic overhaul. But a better Aston Martin GT car? I guess that’d depend how badly you want your £150,000 Aston to have a V12 engine that’ll only ever appear under the bonnet of an Aston.
V12 engines are, after all, increasingly rare and enduringly special things. But, as it happens, Aston’s done a remarkably good job of making Affalterbach’s 4.0-litre V8 its own. It sounds subtly different than you’ll find it in a Mercedes-AMG GT or an E63, thanks to new induction and exhaust systems. It’s more than potent enough to make the Aston a first-class performer; in some ways, it even shows the V12 up a bit.
Granted, it’s a shame that this car doesn’t sound as majestic as last year’s delectable Vantage GT8 – but I reckon the voice of God, in four-part harmony with backing vocals from the Bee Gees, would probably pale by that comparison. There’s certainly a muffled tonelessness to the DB11’s V8 compared with the old atmospheric 4.7, but there’s still culture and soul here aplenty – not to mention greater subtlety and reserve than most AMGs normally bother with.
Aston’s version of Mercedes-AMG’s 503bhp, 3982cc twin-turbocharged V8 gets its own induction and exhaust systems, its own Bosch ECU programming and a wet sump (instead of the dry one that the Mercedes-AMG GT uses). The lubrication system was needed in order to package the engine between the front cross-members of the DB11’s superstructure and Gaydon reckons it ends up adding little if anything to the engine’s overall weight compared with a dry one.
The development of the engine's ‘sonic signature’, says the company, was all about tuning out a lot of the bass frequencies that AMG prefers and replacing them with greater mid-range tonality in a bid for a less transatlantic, more sophisticated European sound. The engine’s surprisingly reserved with the powertrain in GT mode and much more full-blooded in S and S+ modes – although you hear more induction and combustion noise here, and less woofling exhaust, than you do in AMG’s applications: a welcome change.