Why the Aston Martin DB11 V8 Sounds Different From an AMG With the Same Engine

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

The new V8-powered Aston Martin DB11 may feature a hand-assembled engine sourced from Mercedes-AMG, the boutique British automaker put its own unique spin on it.

This slinky grand tourer had to sound as lusty as it looks, and the classic rumble emitted by a gasoline-fired two-by-four with a cross-plane crankshaft proved to be inappropriate.

“Most petrol-heads will … probably hear an AMG coming before they see an AMG coming,” admitted Simon Croft, senior manager of global launch strategy at Aston Martin. “But it has an engine character sound that isn’t in line with what an Aston Martin V8 would be.”

Some of the most glorious internal combustion music in the industry emanates from the exhaust pipes of cars like the Vantage, Rapide S and Vanquish, machines powered by warbling V12s. Physics be damned, the DB11 V8 had to sound like it belonged to that same family.

SEE ALSO: 2018 Aston Martin DB11 V8 Review

To deliver a suitable automotive symphony, engineers went to work fine-tuning various parts of the car’s engine, chiefly its intake and exhaust bits, while leaving big-ticket components, like the cylinder block, alone.

“So, if you look at … a sonograph of an [AMG] engine, you see it generates its main noise very low down in the frequencies; it’s a bass-heavy engine. That is not an Aston characteristic that is in tune with us and our brand,” explained Croft. “We need to move that dominant sound up into the frequency range,” toward the mid-tone-range he said, something that results in more of a wail than a growl.

“Changing the way the air goes in, changing the way the exhaust gasses and the sound is coming out, changing the engine management system, changing the throttle progression — those enable us to give it an Aston character rather than the AMG character,” said Croft.

And indeed, Aston Martin has succeeded. The new DB11 emits an intoxicating shriek under heavy throttle instead of a throaty rumble. Sure, there’s still a hint of traditional V8 mixed in, but this car definitely sounds like an Aston Martin should.

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Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for AutoGuide.com. When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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