It’s two years since Aston Martin announced that it had signed a deal with Mercedes’ AMG division to work on powertrain development and that Daimler had taken a 5% stake in the British company.
At the same time, Ian Minards, Aston’s director of product development, said the company “would remain independent”.
There are three areas where Aston remains independent: platform design, styling and development of its V12 engine.
Aston could have thrown its lot in with Mercedes, adapting the aluminium chassis under the Mercedes-AMG GT and AMG-developed V8 and V12 engines.
However, as Minards said at the time, Aston wanted to “preserve the unique character and style that has been the mainstay of the company throughout its 100-year history”.
So as well as re-engineering its own VH platform for the upcoming DB11, Aston chose to redevelop its V12 engine while simply specifying the performance parameters for an AMG V8. I understand from an AMG engineer that Aston’s engine specs were sent to the Germans in the first half of 2014.
Meanwhile, Aston engineers will be rethinking the V12 from scratch so that it can be coupled to what’s expected to be Mercedes infotainment and climate control technology. Not the easiest job, but worth it for the status of the Aston Martin brand. It wouldn’t be taken seriously if it didn’t produce its own engine.