The increasing competition in the automobile market is forcing automakers to rethink their strategies as well as seek out like-minded partners to enjoy economies of scale. In the luxury automobile segment, many companies have been operating without making profits for long but the new strategic partnerships are helping these companies turn things around. One such automaker is Aston Martin. After Andy Palmer took over as CEO, he initiated a strategy to make the brand profitable as well as self-sustaining. To achieve this, Aston Martin sold a 5% stake of the company to Mercedes-Benz. In exchange, Mercedes will provide technological assistance as well as its AMG engines. It is due to this partnership that for the first time ever, the 2018 Aston Martin DB11 will be offered with a V-8 mill which joins the standard V-12 power-plant. The V-8 lowers the DB11’s price allowing more enthusiasts to enjoy Premium British automobile artistry.
On matters styling, the DB 11 V-8 is similar to the V-12 except for some mild visual features added on the V-8 to differentiate it from the V-12 but one has to look keenly to spot the differences. The V-8 features a dark exterior trim compared to the V-12’s chrome finishes.
The 2018 Aston Martin DB11 V-8 rides on 20-inch, 10-spoke wheels that come in a number of styles. The wheels augur well with the model’s sculpted body. The V-8 also features smoked headlights as well as taillights, black plastic grille as well as “Aston Martin “lettering on the trunk-lid. Unlike the V-12’s 4 vents, the V-8 features two vents on the hood. In addition, the V-8 comes with a foot-activated trunk opener which is a bit thoughtful of the automaker.
The cabin is well tailored; in fact, the interior flaunts British hand-laid passion characterized by hand-stitched and hand-sewn upholstery. The model comes with an 8.0-inch infotainment system sourced from Mercedes. In place of the beloved conventional handbrake is a fly-off lever which is now fitted between the driver’s seat and the driver’s side door. Full-grain leather, a 360-degree camera, Alcantara headliner, push-button ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, Wi-Fi as well as two USB ports are standard.
Optional features include a Bang & Olufsen BeoSound system, duotone interior trim, embossing or seat embroidery, different colors for the brake calipers, automatic parking assist as well as a blind-spot monitoring system. The model, however, lacks Android Auto and Apple Carplay.
The DB11 will be the first Aston Martin to benefit from a deal entered with Daimler to use the twin-turbocharged 4.0 L, V-8 mill. This engine is also used on performance-oriented versions of Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG models. The engine produces 503 hp and 498 lb-ft of torque just like in the Mercedes-AMG C63 S. In comparison, the DB11 V-12 mill produces 600 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. The V-8 powers the DB11 to hit 62 mph from a standing stance in only 4.0 seconds, only 0.1 seconds slower than the V-12 variant. In terms of top speed, the V-8 tops out at 187 mph, 13 mph less than the V-12.
The engine is more compact and weighs considerably less than the V-12 which has helped the automaker cut the DB11 V-8’s weight by 254 lbs compared to the V-12.
The V-8 also features a custom intake system and exhaust system to ensure it feels and sounds like an Aston Martin as opposed to an AMG model. In fact, engine sound is one of the factors that define Aston Martin as a brand. The V-12 itself produces a sound that is sure to cause goosebumps especially when it hits its 6,500 rpm redline. Designers had to therefore carefully design the intake and exhaust systems to ensure no one mistook the DB11 V-8 for a Mercedes-AMG GT S.
The DB11 V-8 costs $198,995 which is $17,500 cheaper than the DB11 V-12. However, adding optional features wipes out the price savings. Although V-12 lovers will lament the loss of 4 cylinders, Aston Martin has tried to match the spirit of the DB11 V-8 with that of the 2018 Aston MartinDB11 V-12.