Aston Martin to ditch AMG V-8 for in-house hybrid V-6

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Aston Martin Vantage Aston Martin

Six-cylinder Aston Martins are nothing new. In fact, six cylinders arranged in a proper straight line power the oldest and most revered Astons: the DB2, DB4, DB5, and DB6—and that’s only the road-going models. However, the newest six-cylinder configuration in the works over at Gaydon is sure to inspire some heated discussion: the hybrid-assisted setup will eventually replace AMG’s twin-turbo V-8 across the Aston lineup. 

According to a report from Pistonheads, the hybrid 3.0-liter V-6 that Aston Martin is developing—and planning to use in the upcoming mid-engine Valhalla hypercar—is coming not only to the DBX crossover but, eventually, to the Vantage. There’s a chance it’ll pop up in the DB11, but we’d guess the hybrid six-cylinder will be at most an entry-level offering Aston’s higher-tier sports cars.

As Andy Palmer told Pistonheads, the German-bred, delicious-sounding twin-turbo AMG V-8 will eventually be phased out in favor of Aston Martin’s in-house mill. Naturally, Palmer assures the public that power will increase and the sound will remain “majestic.” While the relative aural majesty of turbocharged V-6s remains subjective, we’ve no doubt Aston will wring some serious power figures out of this engine. “There’s no way our customers are going to expect to step backwards,” Palmer says, “even with a smaller power unit.” As Palmer mentions, the hybrid system and the twin turbochargers will work in concert to create a generous, consistent amount of torque.

Aston Martin Vantage engine
Aston Martin

Before you chuck your martini glass in protest of losing V-8 power, know that Palmer is working to preserve its heritage V-12 engine. Aston Martin will continue to offer its V-12 engines for at least “the next few years,” Palmer says, even though it will be hard at work to “make them more CO2 friendly.” The 88 jaw-dropping V12 Speedsters stand as proof of that. We’ve also seen, with the 2021 Vantage, that the British firm remains committed to offering manual gearboxes in an age that seems determined to eliminate them in the name of higher performance, if not convenience. Aston Martin, like so many others, is adapting to increasingly stringent emissions regulations by downsizing displacement and leaning on hybrid powertrains.

Palmer also shed more light on Aston’s sudden withdrawal from the 2021 Le Mans Hypercar class: apparently the company could save a significant amount of money simply by delaying its entry for a year. “The ACO [Automobile Club de l’Ouest] destroyed the business case,” he said. “They changed the rules, nothing more, nothing less.”

Aston Martin’s 2019 was plagued by significant financial losses, which means the future of the brand, as determined by its profit margins, rests squarely on the humpbacked DBX crossover. Grab the AMG-engined examples while you can—once Aston Martin irons out the production plan for this V-6 powerplant, the German engine’s days will be numbered.

2020 Aston Martin DBX
Aston Martin
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