Apart from its standout style, Aston Martins have a distinguishing feature that can only be appreciated in person: the distinct exhaust growl, which might not be long for this world according to brand boss Ulrich Bez.
Why question the longevity of something that characterizes an entire car brand? Simply put: Aston’s big, naturally-aspirated engines produce a raucous purr that set them apart. But both the powerplants and fuel thirst come at a cost to the automaker and its clientele.
Companies like Bentley are already decreasing engine size to counter Uncle Sam’s tightening stranglehold on the importation of fuel inefficient cars. As well, Jaguar has just confirmed the use of a 4-cylinder in its XF mid-size luxury sedan.
Over the last few years, Aston Martin has managed to reduce emissions over its range by 25 percent and while that’s no small sum, it’s not enough to satisfy Bez.
“The job is not complete,” he said. “Four or even three cylinders are possible. If the spirit of the times demands six cylinders, then it has to be looked at.”
As concerns about fuel economy rise, people are generally less willing to consider a car with poor mileage. Some would argue that gas consumption is still likely to be irrelevant at the income level necessary for such a car, but that’s where the U.S. government slinks in with gas guzzler taxes.
That’s where four- and six-cylinder engines come into play, but is the idea of smaller engines the swan song in a line of historically he-man engines? Not necessarily.
The fact is, automakers regularly inject more fuel efficient options in an effort to decrease average overall fuel consumption. On the books, Aston Martin could decrease its gas lust by a considerable margin while still offering the exclusive engines it prizes so highly.
Then again, Bez’ pledge to retain brand exclusivity isn’t an explicit expression of intent, but merely a vague promise that future cars will remain on the market’s high end. For now, James Bond and the world can enjoy their V8 and V12 Astons even more, knowing they might not be here much longer.