DB11 owners don't want to pull up in an Aston Martin that sounds like a burbling peasant muscle car now do they?
Early fans of the Pagani Zonda may have been taken aback when realizing that those shrill V12 engine sounds they were hearing were born in Mercedes-AMG’s engine factory. Except for Silver Star-badged Formula 1 motors, AMGs typically have a low-end bass to them that can be heard a few city blocks away. Paganis, on the other hand, sounded like proper Italians ready to argue with raised voices and tach needles encroaching on the redline. And just like Pagani, Aston Martin had to use the same party trick.
As Mercedes-AMG became the go-to engine supplier for performance car manufacturers that want to cut to the chase and get ready-made V8s, engineers at each involved company are finding ways to tinker with the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8’s distinct rumble and customize it so it's a brand-appropriated battle cry. Senior manager of global launch strategy at Aston Martin Simon Croft spoke with Auto Guide to explain the problem of a DB11 with an AMG rumble and how his engineering team worked to remedy it. “Most petrol-heads will … probably hear an AMG coming before they see an AMG coming,” said Croft. “But it has an engine character sound that isn’t in line with what an Aston Martin V8 would be.”
It's obvious that that's a problem for Aston Martin, which needed its cars to sound distinct. “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,” claimed 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.” In order to pull this off, Aston Martin had to tinker with some of the engine’s auxiliary components and do its best to leave the block alone. That’s a task easier said than done, but at least the engineers were freed from having to build an engine from scratch.
The team also had to tune the engine to give the DB11 Aston Martin’s signature grand touring feel rather than an AMG temper tantrum. Croft specifically mentioned that by…“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.” By all accounts, it appears that merging these two engine philosophies has left Aston Martin with one of the most desirable V8 grand tourers it’s ever made.