It’s a new era for Aston Martin: the Gaydon brand has announced today (25 July 2013) that it’s in the early stages of a deal with Mercedes’ in-house tuners AMG, which will allow it to use Mercedes-honed engine and electronics technology.
Has Aston Martin sold its soul to the Germans?
Not quite – Daimler AG is set to take only a 5% share stake in Aston Martin, sitting alongside majority shareholders Investment Dar and Investindustrial. The latter took a controlling share in Aston Martin in 2012 – read the full CAR report here.
So what does Aston get out of the AMG deal?
Aston Martin gets access to AMG’s suite of engines, and a hand in developing a new series of V8 powertrains. It’s a similar arrangement to the partnership Italian supercar marque Pagani has with AMG – the Zonda used a largely bespoke 7.3-litre V12 in various iterations, while the new Huayra is powered by an all-new twin-turbo 6.0-litre V12, good for 730bhp.
Sounds like Aston Martins are about to get a lot more powerful…
Aston Martin’s most powerful engine, the 5.9-litre V12 from the Vantage S and Vanquish, develops 565bhp and 457lb ft. Consider than Mercedes will sell you an E-class with another 12bhp – not to mention anything up to 622bhp in the case of the SLS AMG Black Series – and it’s possible that Aston’s future range will leap in power output to catch up with the likes of Ferrari and Porsche.
It's also possible that future Astons will use the new Mercedes straight-six engine, which is set to replace V8s in 2017. Aston hasn't used a straight six since the early DB7 models, but new CO2 emissions legislation will force the brand to downsize in order to meet strict EU targets.
Any other Mercedes know-how coming Aston’s way?
Yes – electrical systems too. This could range from wiring looms and switch mechanisms to a new (and desperately needed) infotainment interface, replacing the creaky Garmin-derived system with a future version of the Mercedes Comand system.
When will the first Aston Martin AMGs arrive?
Details are currently scarce, but Aston Martin has confirmed the deal will support ‘a new range of models’, indicating that we won’t see AMG engine swaps into the current Vantage, DB9 and Vanquish range. Subject to the agreement being inked before the end of 2013, it’ll be several years before the new range of AMG-Astons hit the road.
Don’t worry about production of Britain’s coolest car brand being outsourced to AMG’s Affalterbach headquarters – manufacturing will continue exclusively at Aston’s UK base in Gaydon, Warwickshire.
What are the companies’ top brass saying about the deal?
Aston’s Product Development Director, Ian Minards, said, ‘We have selected AMG specifically as the basis for this powertrain development process. [Aston Martin will] remain independent and preserve the unique character and style that has been the mainstay of the company throughout its 100-year history.’
AMG boss, Ola Kallenius, said, ‘This is proof of AMG’s technological and performance expertise and a real win-win situation for both sides.’