What is it?
How, then, do you feel about an Aston Martin equipped with a Mercedes engine? Does it really matter? Should it matter, so long as it improves the product? After all, this ‘new’ eight-cylinder engine is a good one, with 503bhp and rampant torque. You may also have heard that this is no case of a straight engine swap, but perhaps you haven’t, so now that we’ve got the DB11 V8 on home Tarmac, let’s recap.
The DB11's ZF-sourced automatic gearbox remains entirely unchanged, sitting a fraction ahead of the rear axle complete with eight short ratios, while elsewhere, Aston Martin has made numerous amendments to the car in its attempt to best exploit a 115kg weight saving brought about by the loss of four cylinders.
For one, the brake balance has been altered, with changes to the piston size at the front. Efforts have also been made to improve pedal feel and address complaints from owners who felt the system was a little grabby at low speeds. The electric power steering has been retuned for slightly greater resistance off-centre and a greater feeling of confidence.
Spring rates are reduced all round, the anti-roll bars are stiffer and so too are the rear axle bushings, in order to mitigate the V12’s tendency for awkward diagonal weight transitions, so says chief engineer Matt Becker. There have also been detail changes to the suspension geometry, including a new lateral link in the multi-link rear.
As for ‘Aston-ising’ the barrel-chested 4.0-litre AMG engine, the air intakes, exhaust system and ECU software are fresh, although the greatest difference is that unlike in the Mercedes-AMG GT, it has a wet sump. That’s not only to do with cost savings and packaging – the engineers at Gaydon also don’t anticipate their cars will experience the prolonged lateral loadings that would necessitate a going dry. This new-for-Aston V8 also sits on different mounts to the 5.2-litre V12 of its bigger brother, while the DB11's chassis gets improved weight distribution.