Details: Aston Martin and Mercedes' "???300m deal"
Make the jump for the skinny.
Aston Martin has terrific brand value, but the independent British marquee can't touch Daimler's vast cash and engineering might. For that reason, Aston is reportedly interested in Mercedes for its engineering prowess. The next generation S-Class will feature a choice of mild, full, and plug-in hybrid variants, as well as smaller petrol engines to increase efficiency. Those powertrain combos will reportedly end up under the bonnet of the 2010 Rapide sedan, as well as the rumored Lagonda lineup. Aston is also looking to swap out its Ford-derived V12 engine in favor of Merc's M275 twin-turbo twelve-banger. Dr. Z has reportedly already given the thumbs-up on the V12, along with hybrid powertrains, which in total could be worth €150 million or more. Aston may also utilize Daimler's next generation CL platform on a successor to the DB9.
To receive all this wonderful technology that a niche automaker wouldn't otherwise be able to afford, Aston will be charged with the monumental task of overhauling Maybach. The ultra-expensive Rolls Royce competitor has been less than a sales success, and the brand is a sore spot with Daimler execs. The German automaker is hoping the flexibility, speed, and absence of bureaucracy will enable Aston to design a better Maybach inside and out. After looking at some of the things Aston has pulled off since it left the Ford umbrella, we're guessing Mercedes will get the distinctive styling the current model lacks. Aston has plenty of incentive to do the Maybach right, because a future Lagonda saloon could effectively be a sporty version of the next 57 or 62. We're guessing this won't be a badge engineering job, either, so stop imagining a Maybach with a carbon fiber splitter and a Cobalt SS spoiler bolted to the trunk.
A €300 million Aston/Daimler collaboration could wind up being yet another bad idea, but there's also a good chance this Euro luxury hook-up could result in some good-looking offspring. We may find out sooner than later, too, as the first Lagonda concept is rumored to be unveiled next year, and under that beautiful Aston sheet metal may well be some fine German engineering.
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