Gaydon, Warwickshire - Aston Martin’s DB11 coupé is now available with a four-litre twin-turbo V8, in addition to the original 5.2-litre V12.

Rated for 375kW at 6000 revs and 675Nm from 2000-5000rpm, it drives the rear wheels via an eight-speed gearbox, taking AM’s gorgeous grand turismo flagship from a standing start to 100km/h in four seconds flat, and on to 299km/h flat out.

The new engine weighs just 209kg, thanks to its compact design with the two turbos tucked into the V of the cylinder banks. And if all that sounds familiar, it should - yes, this is Affalterbach’s fire-breathing M178, as found in the AMG GT coupé and a number of Mercedes-AMG /63 models.

It’s the first engine to be supplied to the Gaydon works by AMG (although it won’t be the last, according to Aston Martin chief technical officer Max Szwaj) and, thanks to a generous agreement with the Affalterbach hierarchy, Aston Martin has been allowed to fit its own special air intake, exhaust, ECU mapping, and a specially designed slimline wet-sump lubrication systems.

In Mercedes-AMG models the M178 has dry-sump lubrication, but the DB11 has no provision for a separate oil tank, so a wet-sump layout was a pre-requisite. What’s more important from Aston Martin’s point of view, however, is that the V8 is a lot smaller and lighter than the existing V12, so it can be mounted further back and lower in the chassis, moving the centre of gravity down and nearer the middle of the car.

But the V8 is more than just a DB11 with a 75kW power deficit, insists Szwaj, it is very much its own car - tauter, more agile, a little more intense than its effortlessly relaxed sibling. It leaves the kerb at 1760kg - a whopping 115kg lighter than the V12 - enabling the Gaydon whitecoats to revise the suspension geometry, bushings,anti-roll bars, springs, dampers and ESP software to create a distinctly more sporting GT car.

And there are subtle visual differences as well, such as a special finish for the alloy rims, dark headlight bezels and two bonnet vents instead of the V12’s four, in your choice of black or titanium-finish mesh.

Inside, however, the standard equipment levels and choice of colour and trim options are exactly the same, as is the range of option packs and designer specification packages from Q by Aston Martin.

The V8-powered DB11 will make its public debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend; it’s available to order now in South Africa at an indicative base price of about R3.7 million (compared to R4 million for the V12) for delivery late in October or early in November.

IOL Motoring

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