Aston Martin DBS Zagato Centennial

Introduced over a decade ago, the DB9 is by now the oldest model in the Aston Martin lineup. It predates the arrival of the V8 Vantage, outlasted the Virage and DBS that spun off from it, and outlived the One-77, V12 Zagato and Cygnet that have all come and gone over the length of its tenure. But soon the current DB9 will be retired.

In its place, we're looking forward to an all-new model to spell the beginning of the end of Aston's long-serving VH architecture and restrict the ubiquity of the 6.0-liter V12. In their place, as we well know, the DB9's successor will be based on an all-new aluminum platform and be powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 to be furnished by Mercedes-AMG.

Though AML insists that the engine is being developed by both parties and built by AMG to Aston's exact specifications, Autocar reports that it will be the same unit being developed for Mercedes' own models, with modifications limited to ECU, exhaust and possibly turbo boost, but with no internal modifications. Even as-is, the engine is expected to produce almost as much power as the DB9's current V12 but a bit more torque – which, combined with the lower weight, ought to make Aston's new core GT quicker than the one it will replace.

Rather than using the new eight-speed automatic introduced for the latest twelve-cylinder Vanquish and Rapide S, the current DB9 is expected to continue using the old six-speed slushbox until its replacement goes with Mercedes' new nine-speed unit. Expect a step forward in styling but with familiar Aston cues, potentially previewed by the Zagato one-off pictured above and the new Lagonda sedan, when it arrives in 2016.

The big question is what Aston will call the next-gen DB9. It skipped the DB8 when naming the replacement for the DB7 – ostensibly to show how big a step it was, but probably also to avoid confusion over its cylinder count. We couldn't imagine Aston going backwards in its naming scheme, but whether it sticks with DB9, moves on to DB10 or jumps to DB11, one thing's for sure: it will definitely carry the initials of the company's former president David Brown.

When reached for comment on the development of the DB9 successor and what that would mean for the future of the V8 Vantage, Aston Martin spokesman Matthew Clarke told Autoblog: "Part of our agreement with Mercedes is specifically for V8 engine development but never have we anywhere made any comment as to where such engines would or wouldn't be used."