Aston Martin says that despite its decision to go down the route of using turbocharged engines for its new generation of vehicles, engine and exhaust sounds remain a top priority to maintain the brand’s core values.
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The British brand, which made use of naturally aspirated V8 and V12 engines for its entire range of outgoing products (Vantage- and DB9-based derivatives), has made the decision to switch to turbocharged engines in order to meet modern emission regulations and better compete with its direct competitors.

2015 Aston Martin Rapide S-16

Speaking to CarAdvice at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix last week, Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer admitted that the brand had no other option but to go with turbos for its new cars.

“We have no choice,” Palmer told us.

“Everybody has to go turbocharged eventually or you have to down your power, because in order to meet your emission regulations you have to go to a small capacity, and if you go to a smaller capacity you don’t have the power.”

The likes of Ferrari have also switched key models over to turbo power, with the crowd favourite 458 and its naturally-aspirated V8 replaced by a twin-turbo unit in the 488 successor.

Likewise, the naturally aspirated 6.0-litre V12 in the Aston Martin DB9/DBS/Vanquish has been replaced with a twin-turbo 5.2-litre V12. Meanwhile, the next-generation Vantage is expected to use a Mercedes-AMG-sourced turbocharged V8 (likely the same unit as the C63 S AMG).

“The benefits of having turbocharged or supercharged is that you can downsize and meet emission regulations and at the same time have more power, which is the case for DB11,” Palmer said.


Asked if maintaining the purity of Aston Martin’s well-known naturally aspirated growl with new turbo engines was a key factor, Palmer used the DB11 as an example, saying “the car [still] sounds like a classical V12”.

When it comes down to it, Palmer agrees that “sound is a key part of owning an Aston Martin” and that will not change with the new-generation of engines.

The only high-end performance brand that continues to push naturally aspirated engines with new models is Lamborghini, with both the Aventador and Huracan retaining their naturally-aspirated V12 and V10 hearts.