We've known about the engine partnership for a while now, though we assumed the first Aston Martin to use a Mercedes-AMG V8 would be the next-generation V8 Vantage. At first, sticking a V8 under the hood might seem like an odd choice, but the DB series only recently started using V12s. Historically, the car has packed powerful inline-six engines. Offering two engines will allow the company to sell a lower-cost model and presumably boost sales.
That means changes are strictly mechanical in nature. The engine is the now-common 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged Mercedes-AMG V8. Output is 503 horsepower and 498 pound-feet of torque. That's down 97 horsepower and 18 pound-feet of torque from the 5.2-liter V12. In the Mercedes-AMG C63 S, the 4.0-liter V8 makes equal horsepower and 18 more pound-feet of torque. Aston Martin says that the partnership with Mercedes-AMG allows the company to tailor the engine for Aston Martins. This means a new ECU with new engine and throttle mapping.
Losing four cylinders changes the character of the car a bit. The DB11 V8 is a not-insubstantial 254 pounds lighter than the V12. Since most of the weight savings comes from behind the front wheels, Aston Martin says the V8 model is more agile than the V12 model. Engineers have adjusted the suspension bushing, geometry, anti-roll bars, springs, dampers, and stability control to account for the weight savings.
The DB11 V8's diet helps offset the lower power output. As such, the 4.0-second 0-62 sprint is just 0.1 seconds off the V12. Top speed is down 13 mph to a still extralegal speed of 187 mph. We don't have fuel economy ratings for the US, but expect an improvement from the V12's current rating.
The V8 will be available with all of the same equipment and trims as the V12, with just a few visual changes to distinguish the two models. The V8 gets unique wheels, darker headlight surroundings, and just two vents on the hood, available in either black or titanium.
The DB11 V8 goes on sale in the US later this year. At $198,995, it undercuts the V12 model by $17,500. That's a lot, but the big savings will come in places like China that add heavy taxes to cars with engines larger than 4.0 liters.