Loud and proud, minus some of the theatrics
The new Aston Martin Vantage might use an AMG 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, but the brand’s chief engineer says – despite being able to match AMG for engine and exhaust drama – the company chose to produce a different type of sound, minus some of the pops and bangs.
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“We haven’t gone as crazy as AMG, some of the AMGs sound like they have been shot at when shifting gear...” Becker joked.
“So we haven’t got as crazy as that, but we have tried to make it sound intelligent so when you shift gear you get a good indication.”
The engine in the Vantage also delivers a different frequency of noise to that of the larger, more touring-oriented DB11. Becker confirmed the ploy to aurally separate the two models according to their character.
Interestingly, Aston has removed the deep burble from the AMG engines to better differentiate itself from its powertrain supplier.
“AMGs have a very low-end bassy noise, really thumpy, we wanted to remove as much as we can of that noise because we don’t want to sound like AMG," Becker said.
"That’s their signature. We have a different signature, you do that by tuning of the silencer, the pipe lengths of the silencer and some mixing that happens along the exhaust system.”
Becker says the Bosch ECU used to tune the engine has a built-in option for ‘pops and bangs’, and Aston Martin engineers turned it down – without taking away the characterful gearshift cracks, naturally.
The new Vantage is offered with a standard twin exhaust or an optional quad-pipe sports system which, according to Becker, offers more mid- and high-frequency sounds.
“The quad exhaust system has more of everything, more mid and high-frequency noise. When you shift gears in Sport+ and track, you will hear more pops and bangs”
Unlike the Porsche 911, not to mention the raft of AMG models using the same engine, the Vantage doesn’t have a specific ‘loud’ button. Becker says they simply "ran out of button space".
Instead, drivers need to be switch from Sport to Sport+ or Track mode to fully tailor the exhaust for maximum noise. Thankfully, those modes are independent of traction control systems, so they can be engaged without risk.
The car also offers a quiet-start function, whereby it's tuned to avoid disturbing neighbours in the mornings or late nights.