Friday 26th July 2013


ASTON MARTIN AND AMG: PH BLOG

German engines in a British icon? Should we be standing for it?


So, are we concerned that when we lift the bonnet of future Aston Martins we may well be greeted by a Mercedes star on top of the engine? Some commentators seem to be, there being a degree of soul searching about 'ze Germans' getting a shoe-in on this most British of motoring icons.

Aston's V12 lovely but days are numbered
Aston's V12 lovely but days are numbered
PHers are, of course, smarter than that though, the comment thread following our news story earlier in the week pretty much unanimously favourable in tone and summed up thus: we love AMG engines, we love Aston Martins - great!

The business case is obvious enough. As a builder of fewer than 5,000 cars per year on what's perceived, rightly or wrongly, a solid but aging platform Aston badly needs to invest in new product. It's had a bit of a cash injection but nothing like enough to develop a cutting edge powerplant that can play against the big boys yet meet all the latest emissions standards. So it was going to have to buy engines in from somewhere.

AMG has everything from high specific output four-cylinders to naturally aspirated and turbocharged V8s in the 400-600hp area future Astons would surely be looking at. It can also supply mega horsepower V12s for halo models, if required. But turbos? In an Aston? Isn't that a bit, well, vulgar?

Does it matter if German engines go in here?
Does it matter if German engines go in here?
If not AMG then who? A few have said Aston should've stuck with recent tradition and gone to Ford which, after all, has that brawny Mustang V8 that'd fit well with old-school Aston manners and avoid the supposed shame of a German powerplant. Unlike the, er, Cologne-built V12s used currently of course.

Mighty as it is the Ford V8 isn't as 'futureproof' as the AMG alternatives and right now Aston needs to be looking forwards, not backwards. So, yes, turbos.

What about the Italians then? After all, DB-era Astons were never shy about their Italian styling influences and, via Maserati, Ferrari is building a new range of modern twin-turbo V6s and V8s that might have done. And Fiat needs the cash. But possibly not enough to equip a direct rival with its newest powerplants, even if there were capacity in Ferrari's engine production line.

If you're going to trust anyone to build you a V8...
If you're going to trust anyone to build you a V8...
Neighbours Jaguar Land Rover then? That'd be the most obvious alternative but their V8 is getting on a bit too.

Audi has a good range of normally aspirated and turbocharged V8s to choose from too. But little tradition of sharing them outside of the group. And of the Germans only AMG has really managed to carry the traditional V8 character into the turbocharged era intact.

All of this misses the most obvious reason for this being the dream collaboration of course. AMG's name is an abbreviation of the founders' names and the town in which the business was originally based.

Aston Martin, Gaydon anyone?

They won't even have to change the logos on the castings!

Dan

Author: Dan Trent
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