For the first time in nearly fifty years, there’s a V8 engine under the bonnet of an Aston Martin DB-badged car. Only, this one isn’t an in-house build – it’s sourced from AMG, the hot-rod division of Mercedes-Benz.
It’s essentially the same 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 out of the Mercedes-AMG C63 S and others, though in the DB11 it produces 375kW of power and 675Nm of torque, whereas in the Benz, it develops the same power, but torque jumps to 700Nm.
It’s got a very familiar engine note, too, something Aston wanted to change in keeping with its own distinct V8 exhaust note, so instantly recognisable in the V8 Vantage.
In fact, Aston’s sound engineers studied sound graphs from a AMG GT S, which delivers the bulk of its base sound below 300Hz, but from 300 through to 650Hz, there isn’t a lot of base at all. And according to Paul Barritt, Vehicle Line Director at Aston Martin, that’s in stark contrast to the new DB11 V8 note.
“If you look at the graph from our car, we’ve taken much of that low range base noise out, and put it into the mid-range frequencies, which is why the DB11 sounds so different despite using the same essential engine.
“The basic principle of how the sound is generated is exactly the same between the two cars, because it’s essentially the same engine with the same firing order, but it’s what you then do with the exhaust gasses and how you manage those through the muffler that produces the sound,” said Barritt.
The entire exhaust system is all Aston Martin, from the muffler itself to the main underfloor pipe, everything has been customised – from the length of the tubes to the size of the perforations and baffling has all been changed to create a unique sound for the DB11 V8.
“We’ve been doing this for many years now, so the guys have a very good handle on how to create our unique exhaust note. And while we still use simulation on the computer to get some general ideas, there’s no substitute for cutting up an exhaust and wielding bits in and changes things around.
“And, of course, we’ve also got higher decibels with the exhaust note as you step between the various driving modes from GT through to Sport +, especially at the higher engine speeds, like from 4000rpm and up,” he added.