Launched last year, the DB11 was the first Aston Martin to arrive after the brand began its technical partnership with Mercedes-AMG. The shared knowledge doesn't extend beyond the infotainment system in the V12 DB11, but a new addition to the lineup takes Anglo-German relations to new heights. Meet the DB11 V8, the first Aston with an AMG heart.

Although it gives up four cylinders and 1200cc of displacement to the flagship V12, the new V8 DB11 is no slouch. It still produces 503 hp (375 kW) and 675 Nm of torque, and shoots to 100 km/h (62 mph) in four seconds flat. That's just 0.1 seconds slower than the V12 completes the same sprint, although the new car is 14 mph (23 km/h) slower on a top speed run.

Where the smaller engine really shines is on an economy run, returning 9.9 L/100 km (28 mph) on the combined cycle. The engine displaces (ever so slightly) less than four liters, which also makes it significantly cheaper to register in China, where road tax is based on engine size. Coincidence? Certainly not.

To make sure DB11s fitted with the Mercedes engine feel (and perform) like a true Aston, the engineers in Gaydon have fitted a bespoke air intake, a new exhaust and wet sump lubrication. A unique software map should make the DB11 feel different to, say, the E63 AMG and AMG GT with which it shares an engine.

If you can look past the fact it's a Mercedes engine, the V8 in the latest DB11 is likely to make for a sharper handling car. The cheaper car is a whopping 115 kg (254 lb) lighter than the more powerful model, and Aston Martin says new engine mounts have allowed it set the engine lower for better weight distribution. It also sits further back in the wheelbase.

To capitalize, there are new suspension bushings, anti-roll bars, dampers and revised tuning for the stability control. There's no doubt this is still more of a grand tourer than a true sports car – it weighs 1,760 kg (3,880 lb) – but every little bit counts, and some buyers are likely to appreciate the sharper front end.

From the outside, there are a few small touches to separate the cheaper DB11 from its more expensive brothers, but you'd need to be a trainspotter to notice them. New alloy wheels and darker headlamps are the biggest changes, while the bonnet now has two vents instead of four. The vents can be finished in black or titanium mesh, both of which are unique to the V8.

The interior is unchanged from the big V12, and anyone desperate to stand out from the crowd can still call on a huge range of paint, roof, wheel and interior finishes. Q by Aston Martin is also on hand to bring wilder, less conventional desires to life. The purple interior pictured in the (stunning) gallery is one example of what can be done given enough money, desire and patience.

The new DB11 will make its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and prices will start at £144,900 (or US$198,995). Deliveries start in Q4 of this year.

Source: Aston Martin

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