Friday, 18 December 2009

Baby Aston Revealed

Written for Octane

Aston Martin Cygnet.

Aston Martin's Cygnet concept , announced in June 2009, has been revealed in what seems to be production-ready form. When first revealed, Aston accompanied its press release with images of a part-completed clay model, based clearly upon Toyota's tiny iQ city car. Marek Reichman's team at Gaydon seem to have created a shape which not only draws from current Aston Martins, but retains the basic structure and underpinnings of the Toyota.

Aston design cues are liberally scattered upon it, from the boomerang rear lights to the twin bonnet vents of the V12 Vantage, yet the overall effect is somewhat cluttered and awkward of countenance. The interior, questionable colour scheme aside, seems to have been trimmed to Aston Martin's characteristically high standard.

No details have been released yet about the Cygnet's running gear, although it is presumed that it will be powered by the same 97bhp 1.3 version of Toyota's 1NR-FE engine that already powers top spec iQs and other Toyotas. The extra weight of the Cygnet's interior and gadgets would blunt performance, but it would be reasonable to expect 0-60 in around 12 seconds and a top speed of about 105mph.

Cynical observers would note that the car's low CO2 level, offset against those of Aston's current range, would lower the brand's average CO2 emissions. However, Aston Martin's CEO, Ulrich Bez, has denied rumours that this was the company's motive. 'This concept is akin to an exclusive tender for a luxury yacht,' claims Dr Bez. 'It allows us to apply Aston Martin design language, craftsmanship and brand values to a completely new segment of the market.'

Aston intends to sell the Cygnet - at around £20,000 - to existing Aston Martin customers only. However, the company expects sales of up to 2000 per year if they put the car into production, and may expand sales beyond Europe and even to people without a 'proper' Aston Martin if demand is high enough. The company are still trying to pretend that the Cygnet is a concept car, although on the strength of the images we feel that Aston are likely to market it given the resources used to create it.

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