Aston Martin deviated from its typical independence as their own powertrain source, but that changed when they inked a deal with Mercedes-AMG that resulted in the M178, a 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 from Affalterbach, being slotted into the DB11 and all-new Vantage.
For AMG, the use of their engines makes Aston Martin the second high profile automaker to look to them for high performance motors after Pagani. However, the British marque seems to want that independence back, if a report from Autocar proves accurate. It describes to an internal project that is developing an in-house straight-six petrol motor, possibly turbocharged, and augmented with hybrid technology.
This new engine would likely be derived from the twin-turbocharged 5.2-litre V12 currently used in the range-topping DB11, and has been spurred by the recent pressures for even more efficient engines and stringent emissions regulations.
It’s also possible that the first deployment of this new straight-6 powerplant will be in the Vantage, either to supplement or supplant the AMG-sourced V8. Coincidentally, to replace their ageing V6, Mercedes-Benz are also currently working on a downsized turbocharged six-cylinder engine, one developed with electrification in mind from the start.
It’s also highly likely that this will be the engine that will feature in the DBX crossover as they would need something a little less intimidating to power this more mainstream new model, also ushering in the company’s entry into alternative propulsion methods after dipping their toe with the battery-powered RapidE.
While some might view Aston Martin adopting engines with fewer than eight cylinders as a sad sign of the times, the company has likely produced just as many vehicles with straight-sixes as they have V8s and V12. The history stretches back to the DB2 in 1950, which used a 2.6-litre unit, and stretches all the way to the DB7, which was originally fitted with a 3.2-litre supercharged mill.
Aston Martin has always been a proponent of the inline-6, and only recently have strayed into being a purveyor of cars that are powered by V-type engines exclusively.