Aston Martin is moving quickly. Just last month we were treated to spyshots of a development supercar with new underpinnings, and now we have the first snaps of the new ‘DB11’ in disguised prototype form, and it might be going turbocharged!
Our intrepid spy photographers have captured the prototype design of the DB9 successor in all its camouflaged glory, which would ordinarily be the most important point. But they also caught a glimpse of the interior, which gave away a rather more revealing insight.
Underneath the redesigned dash there is a row of four toggle switches marked “intercooler”. An intercooler is designed to chill the air-to-fuel mixture and widely features in forced-induction models across the market. Although these switches won’t appear in production, their presence in the new supercar shows the direction Aston is taking.
A DVLA check of the registration confirms that this UK-plate prototype does in fact feature the legendary six-litre V12. So the switches could suggest that Aston is trialling turbocharging on its existing powertrain.
We already knew that Aston was sourcing a V8 engine from Mercedes-AMG, and that this was likely to be the same twin-turbocharged unit as found in the AMG GT. But that was originally destined for the replacement V8 Vantage, rather than the traditionally V12-powered DB9.
CEO Andy Palmer confirmed to us at the Geneva Show that the 6.0-litre V12 will live on for another generation, but he wasn’t clear on what form it would take. He claims the purpose of the smaller output unit is to “prolong the life of your V12s” rather than immediately replace it.
“You can either go down the obvious route of your V12 becomes a V8, your V8 becomes a V6 and your V6 becomes an I4 [four-cylinder engine]. That gets you down along the curve and reduces your average, but you end up with a car that sounds pretty bad.”
Also part of this preservation is the all-electric DBX concept we saw at the 2015 Geneva Show, which will bring down the brand’s emissions targets to meet EU regulations. It’s a preferable alternative to the Aston Cygnet city car, also built for the same purpose.
Dubbed ‘DB11’ by insiders but not officially confirmed yet, the new supercar will be followed by a V8 Vantage successor, a raised SUV-style model based on the DBX concept, an “ultimate sports car”, replacements for the Rapide and Vanquish and more luxury models wearing the Lagonda badge.
The “DB11” will be based on a modified version of the existing car’s bonded aluminium VH chassis. These spyshots show the car’s bodywork for the first time, featuring the same long bonnet and gaping grille design. At the rear there’s a prominent kink above the arches, a sloping roofline and elegant rear shape.
Aston’s aim is to create a greater design distinction between the DB9 and V8 Vantage replacements, giving the former a softer, more “gentile” appearance, with the latter taking a more aggressive approach, as shown with the Vulcan track-only supercar.