This is the new 2011 Aston Martin Cygnet. No concept car this - here's Aston's official production supermini. The Cygnet will be the smallest Aston Martin ever at just 3m long.
Little has changed since the idea was first mooted in 2009 as a concept car. Aston Martin is importing factory-ready Toyota iQs from Japan and applying a wholly cosmetic face pack at the Gaydon HQ.
Just one Aston Martin Cygnet will be sold: the 1.3-litre petrol four-cylinder. Customers will be able to personalise it every which way, although the wilder and more luxurious options will surely send the price spiralling to scary territory north of £40k.
I beg your pardon? How much will Aston Martin's supermini cost?
The base Aston Cygnet will be priced at £30,000. That is roughly three times the cost of the donor Toyota iQ, but Aston will reskin the nose and rump, and layer on a whole new interior feel, as you can see from these first official photographs.
It's worth noting that our earlier news stories on the Cygnet speculated the price would be nearer £20,000. What price luxury? Every Cygnet will be hand-finished in Gaydon with 'an almost unlimited palette of materials, colours and textures.' No two Aston superminis will be identical.
Although Aston Martin isn't announcing full specs until later this autumn, it's safe to assume the figures will be almost identical to the Toyota iQ 1.3 starting point. Aston is making no engineering changes at all. So that means a 1.3-litre four-pot developing 97bhp and 92lb ft. CO2 stands at 113g/km, average fuel economy 59mpg. It will however be the slowest Aston Martin ever, at 106mph flat and 11.8sec in the 0-62mph sprint (explaining why Aston shunned the cleaner, 99g/km 1.0 engine).
Is the Aston Martin Cygnet a CO2 cheat?
Well, there's no denying a humble supermini will help offset all those V8 and V12 supercars. As a lowly independent, Aston Martin has no group efficiencies to fall back upon and selling a stash of £30k superminis could go a long way to lowering its fleet average CO2 emissions.
You'll see from our earlier blogs (see related articles, left), that the Cygnet has already attracted some ire on these pages. But if it makes good business sense, will we allow Aston Martin some leeway?
'It is time to think differently,' says Ulrich Bez, Aston's German CEO. 'Whatever we do, we do right. If we do performance, we do performance; we don't downsize or compromise our sports cars. The Cygnet needs to satisfy the demands of emissions and space. It is a car without compromise, like every other Aston Martin. Our customers need a small car for urban and city use, and they want the right tools for the right job.'
The Aston Martin Cygnet goes on sale in late spring 2011. Existing Aston customers will be offered the car first, with general sales following.
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