When Mercedes sneeze Aston Martin is sure to catch a cold or in this instance a case of the straight-six engine… flu. When Ford off-loaded Aston Martin to private equity shareholders Aston continued its use of German made Ford engines. That deal ended when Mercedes stepped in to buy a 5% shareholding in Aston Martin a few years ago.
With Mercedes returning to using straight-six engines over V8’s and v12’s it is inevitable to draw the conclusion that Aston Martin will eventually follow suit. They have no other choice.
Aston Martin does not make their own engines, the deal with Mercedes allows the Gaydon based company to re-engineer a Mercedes AMG spec engine to its own requirements.
The new Vantage currently uses AMG sourced V8 twin-turbo engines. Straight-six engines provide a number of advantages, the key advantage is that they can pass emissions regulations far easier than V-spec engines.
Motoring manufactures are pragmatic and will always look after their profit margins first, however, Aston Martin used to make it’s own line straight-six engines back in the day, so a V8 Vantage would have to be re-named. So, an Aston Martin-powered by a straight-six engine is historically accurate.
The advantages of using a straight-six engine are that they are considerably easier to build, and with Mercedes desire to make more cars a straight-six engine is effectively cutting costs to boost profits.
The other advantage of a straight-six engine configuration is that they offer smoother delivery of power, but having driven the AMG v-spec powered cars they are smooth enough already in the delivery of power.
So a straight-six engine is really intended to be a cost-cutting measure to allow Mercedes to make even more cars at a healthier profit margin and to make shareholders happy and financially better off, they are a business first an foremost, making cars is merely a means to an end.