It appears things are stirring amid the design studios and development laboratories at Aston Martin these days. Reports have surfaced of Aston’s plans to completely reinvent itself, starting with a series of revamped products. An all-new DB9 is set to be the brand’s first product, destined to hit showrooms for the 2017 model year.
The news comes on the heels of the announcement of Aston Martin’s deal with Mercedes -AMG to source powertrains for upcoming models. What’s more, Mercedes may supply Aston with electronic equipment, such as in-dash infotainment systems, electronic safety aids, and of course, the engine management software.
Though AMG will supply the go-fast bits, Aston is relying on a revised version of the architectural platform the automaker developed while under ownership of Ford Motor Company from 1994 through 2007. That’s not a bad thing, however, as the platform was developed with help from Lotus Engineering, so it will likely be a competent performer.
The platform is said to be largely constructed of Aluminum and will have the ability to take on multiple widths and wheelbases, alleviating the one-look model lineup that Aston currently suffers from.
Click past the jump for the full rumor-rundown of Aston Martin’s future
The Future of Aston Martin
Aston Martin’s new architecture is reportedly dubbed ‘VH’ and will consist of multiple forms of aluminum, including cast, forged, and pressed. Though Aston is said to be working hard to eliminate the over-commonality between its models, the architecture will allow for similar windshield structures, floor pans, and crash-absorption zones. That should help with cost savings.
This flexible structure will allow Aston to build everything from conventional sedans to convertibles, and even liftback models. It’s still uncertain if the VH architecture would be able to underpin the much-rumored SUV the company has teased for years.
Now for the good stuff.
The AMG-built V-8 engines will likely displace 4.0 liters and have two turbochargers feeding its intake manifold. The 4.0-liter will probably be Aston’s volume engine and the powerplant of choice for smaller engine bays (if that ever becomes the case). Conversely, AMG’s 6.0-liter V-12 will be the beating heart beneath the hood of any V-12 cars destined to appear (think V12 Vantage).
What’s more, we may actually see Aston jump onto the hybrid bandwagon. That’s especially logical considering the many highly-populated European cities considering adopting the Zero-Emissions Zone ordinances in the near future. And besides being "ecologically friendly," adding a hybrid power system to a conventional internal-combustion engine has yielded rather favorable results for other automakers such as McLaren.
These product updates and brand reimaging is all part of a grander scheme to bring Aston Martin back into profitability. Last year alone, the company dove nearly $42 million into the red, citing the global economic downturn as the reason. Perhaps it’s related to the fact Aston only sold 4,200 cars last year.
Why It Matters
It’s simple – build an exciting product, turn a profit, continue doing business. Screw up that process, and the iconic British brand will only live in the history books and old James Bond movies. Now privately owned since 2007, the company is far more nimble than it would be under the thumb of a major automaker, but it does leave the company without much hope of a backup plan.
Thankfully, Mercedes agreed to strike a deal in supplying Aston with quality powertrain equipment and the electronics and software to run them. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for Aston Marin. We just hope the company can become the Ferrari-fighter it’s setting out to be.