Friday, January 29, 2010
Amidst a palpable static of expectation, the covers came off the new Aston Martin Rapide at a launch in Jeddah on Sunday. Any new Aston Martin model is worth waiting for; the Rapide however is something extremely special. "I am delighted to tell you that, despite the difficult conditions during 2009, Aston Martin in Saudi Arabia has emerged in great shape," said David MacDowell, Aston Martin's regional sales and aftersales manager at the unveiling.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
2012 Aston Martin Cygnet Features
Not surprisingly, the 2012 Aston Martin Cygnet will be much like the iQ in other key respects, inheriting all the nifty engineering ideas detailed in "Notable Feature" below. Of course, as an Aston, the Cygnet will cost more than an iQ--more than double, UK sources predict: Some $30,000 versus $16,500. The difference presumably reflects the Cygnet's semi-hand-built nature, as well as the premium trimmings and added standard equipment.
An Aston press release touts the Cygnet as "a distinctive, intelligent, and exclusive solution for urban travel in style and luxury." Dr. Bez says the project "will allow us to apply Aston Martin design language, craftsmanship, and brand values to a completely new segment of the market." Toyota, for its part, benefits from gilt by association with a world-famous brand, not to mention the income from selling a few more iQs. According to Tadashi Arashina, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe, "This collaboration represents a natural pairing of strategies: A small but spacious package, perfect for the city driver, finished off with Aston Martin's iconic design language."
In short, the 2012 Aston Martin Cygnet enables a small, high-status company to extend its market reach at a crucial time and for very little money with a well-received, high-quality product sourced from the world's biggest and most trusted automaker. A match made in marketing heaven? Perhaps. As Autocar's Steve Cropley blogged, "...the Cygnet is going to require unprecedented levels of open-mindedness of Aston Martin traditionalists. Let's hope they're up to it."
A Notable Feature of the 2012 Aston Martin Cygnet
Just as the 2012 Aston Martin Cygnet is unlike anything the British company has ever produced, the iQ marks a major break with other Toyotas. The engineering brief was to maximize space and minimize weight in a city-friendly package with a conventional front-engine and front-wheel-drive layout. Most other minicars, including putative rival Smart ForTwo, put the engine in back to drive the rear wheels. Though iQ stretches 10 inches longer than the Smart, Toyota touts several space-saving innovations, starting with a smaller front differential that allows optimal powertrain positioning in concert with a new "center-point" steering gear. A compact flat fuel tank tucks safely beneath the rear floor. The heating and air conditioning components were also redesigned to be less intrusive without compromising function. That, in turn, led to a slim-line dashboard and console that sweep away so front occupants can sit further forward without being cramped. Doing so leaves room behind for an average-size adult on the passenger side and for a child-size "jump" seat on the driver's side. Unique slim-line front seatbacks and heavy use of electronic components also conserve space in the "3+1" cabin.
Despite a modest base curb weight of just 1,940 pounds, the iQ gets top 5-star ratings in Euro NCAP crash tests, which are much like U.S. standards. The Cygnet should do just as well, as it retains the iQ's architecture and safety features that include front- and curtain-side airbags. An electronic stability system with traction control will be standard too.
Toyota is no less proud of the iQ's ultra-low CO2 emissions of just 99 grams per kilometer with the base 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine and 113 g per km with the 4-cylinder 1.3 that's expected in the Cygnet. Incidentally, that engine includes a stop-and-start feature that contributes to excellent iQ fuel economy of nearly 59 mpg on the European combined cycle. The Cygnet probably won't match that, as it's bound to gain weight with Aston's added content. Still, this should be one thrifty little luxury car.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Aston Martin's two top-of-the-range sports cars; the DBS and V12 Vantage have undergone a unique Carbon Black makeover to create a highly desirable special edition.
Celebrating the enormous success of the DBS and V12 Vantage which have surpassed all sales expectations since launch, the new special editions add a typically understated flair to these acclaimed models. Featuring bespoke Carbon Black metallic paint especially formulated with a subtle metallic twist to create a deep rich patina. Each car will undergo 50 man-hours of hand painting followed by stringent quality checks. For the V12 Vantage the iconic Aston Martin side strake has been fashioned from real carbon fibre backed by a black mesh and complimented with gloss black 10 spoke diamond turned alloy wheels. A bright finished grille and front parking sensors (normally an option) complete the exterior detailing.
Inside, owners will be greeted to swathes of Obsidian Black leather highlighted with a contrast silver coarse stitch all hand stitched by the craftspeople at Gaydon - Aston Martin's global headquarters in England.
Lightweight seats formed from Carbon Fibre and Kevlar saving 17 kg over the standard seat also feature together with Piano black facia trim, centre stack and centre console, anodised black tread plates and unique sill plaques build on the carbon theme. The Aston Martin 700w Premium Audio System is delivered as standard in the V12 Vantage while the DBS boasts the Bang & Olufsen Beosound DBS audio system as standard.
Customers who order a Carbon Black Edition V12 Vantage will have the opportunity to experience Aston Martin's renowned Performance Driving Course (UK and Europe only) free of charge which offers a memorable day helping customers to equip themselves with the skill sets to enhance the enjoyment of their Aston Martin on the track.
The Carbon Black Editions are available to order from the official Aston Martin dealership network now with final pricing (expected to be approximately 5% over current base prices) to be confirmed in the New Year with deliveries to commence from March.
About the DBS
The DBS was launched in 2007 and is Aston Martin's ultimate GT sports car. Benefitting from weight saving materials including aluminium and carbon fibre; the DBS offers dynamic and aesthetic purity, an exquisite interior and a driving experience unsurpassed by any other car in its coupe and Volante forms. Its hand built V12 engine produces 380 kW (510 bhp / 517 PS) making it one of the most powerful production cars Aston Martin has ever made. In 2009, the DBS ‘Volante' (Aston Martin's nomenclature for convertible) joined the DBS line-up
About the V12 Vantage
Launched in 2009, agility and outright performance form the basis of the design of the V12 Vantage creating the most exciting incarnation of the Vantage line-up to date. The V12 Vantage subtly hints at its sporting intent with its controlled aggression and lower, purposeful stance. The naturally aspirated 6.0-litre V12 engine provides the driver with instantaneous access to high levels of power and torque at all engine speeds, while Aston Martin's class-leading, all alloy VH (Vertical Horizontal) architecture provides exceptional strength and rigidity.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Alright, we promise this is the last little bit of attention we’ll give to the over-publicized (and awful) Aston Martin Cygnet (unless something really major and interesting happens with it). Aston Martin has released a teaser video of the development of its little fugmobile that could–or at least some random parkour around the factory where it’s being built. Check it out below. [via Inside Line]
Aston Martin Lagonda Concept
Are hybrid drivetrains befitting of a premium luxury and performance brand? Well, that depends on who you ask. According to such diverse automakers as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Rolls-Royce and even Ferrari and Lamborghini, the answer is 'yes'. Aston Martin CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez, though, reportedly believes otherwise. "The current hybrid technologies are not suited to the character of Aston Martin sports cars," explains Bez.
We're not so sure we agree, especially since Aston's long-planned Lagonda revival – which may or may not come wrapped in an ungainly SUV package – is rumored to be equipped with a hybrid powertrain. After all, the torque-rich nature of electric motors certainly wouldn't be a bad thing for a luxury tourer.