This is a big deal.
We recently learned the next-generation Aston Martin Vantage and DB11 will drop their internal combustion engines and become pure battery electrics. This is still a few years away mind you, but the decision has been made and there's no turning back. But both front-engined exotics are still very much with us in their current forms with an AMG-sourced 503 horsepower 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 under the hood. The DB11 can be optioned with a twin-turbo V12, but the Vantage is eight-cylinders only. Or is it?
Our spy photographers have just caught what's clearly a Vantage test mule running laps at the Nurburgring. There's plenty of camouflage on the front hood and the air outlets are hidden.
The wider fenders and center-mounted exhaust pipes further indicate something different is going on. It's entirely possible Aston Martin is planning to stuff the same 600 hp 5.2-liter V12 found in the V12 Speedster and DB11 into the Vantage. The timing for doing so also makes sense because the Vantage is due for a mid-life facelift for either 2022 or 2023.
We highly doubt the V12 (assuming that's indeed what we're seeing here) will replace the V8, but the automaker could very well be planning the ultimate combustion-powered Vantage. This would be one hell of a sendoff before the batteries come into play. There's also precedent.
The previous generation Vantage was also offered with a V12, the now-discontinued naturally aspirated 5.9-liter unit. Having a new Vantage V12 in the lineup would certainly be welcomed by all. Another question to ponder is whether it'll be (assuming it's happening) a limited edition type of deal. Our gut feeling says "no" but it's impossible to say for certain.
A more likely scenario is that Aston Martin will build as many as demand calls for but only for two or three model years. As automakers, in general, continue their transition towards electrification, we'll hopefully see some combustion engine grand finales. This could be one of them.