Thursday 12 July 2018, Goodwood: One of the most exciting, outrageous and diminutive creations ever to wear the famous Aston Martin wings will be making its world debut at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed. Dubbed the ‘The Ultimate City Car’, a one-off Aston Martin Cygnet has been built with a 4.7-litre, 430bhp V8 engine from the Vantage S and a very short torque tube.
The V8 Cygnet has been brought to life for a single customer through the ‘Q by Aston Martin – Commission’ service. This section of the British marque’s bespoke personalisation service allows the ultimate in freedom of expression when designing an Aston Martin and the V8 Cygnet continues to push these boundaries.
Aston Martin Vice President & Special Operations Officer, David King said: “The V8 Cygnet shows the fun side of both Aston Martin and its customers. It is also a fine example of the engineering talent within the company as it’s no small achievement to fit the Vantage’s V8 engine so harmoniously into the Cygnet’s compact body. I am sure that it will amaze and thrill people when they see and hear it on the hill at the Festival of Speed.”
Developed in-house by Aston Martin’s engineers, the starting point for the project was a right-hand drive Cygnet steel body shell and panels. A roll cage was welded to this, becoming an integral part of the chassis in the process, while a new front bulkhead and transmission tunnel were fabricated from sheet metal to accommodate the characterful 4.7-litre naturally aspirated V8 Vantage S powertrain. Subframes and suspension are also derived from the previous generation Vantage and a steel fuel tank housing has been mounted in the boot area, utilizing every inch of space.
Despite all this work, the car remains very recognisably a Cygnet from the outside. The face of the little Aston Martin remains largely untouched, with no extra bulges in the bonnet and just a subtle black mesh for the famous grille. However, there is no disguising the extra width of the wheel arches. In order to accommodate the significantly wider front and rear tracks, beautiful carbon composite flared extensions were made. These also house the new forged, five-spoke, diamond-turned wheels, which have grown from 16” to 19” in diameter.
At the rear of the car the distinguishing new feature of the V8 Cygnet is the central twin exhaust pipes. The exhaust is a bespoke system with twin underfloor mufflers and catalytic converters. With relatively short distances involved from manifold to tail pipe the V8 Cygnet has a voice that belies its compact size.
The engine itself is the 4.7-litre, naturally-aspirated V8 that is more usually found beneath the bonnet of the previous-generation Vantage S. Bespoke intake trunking had to be designed and there are twin conical air filters. There is no sense in which the engine has been neutered for the Cygnet, however, with power and torque figures remaining at 430bhp and 490NM (361lb ft) respectively.
The gearbox is also taken from the V8 Vantage S with a seven-speed Sportshift II transmission taking care of the shifting. Power is transferred via a miniature torque tube to the 9.5” rear wheels, which are complemented by 275/35 Bridgestone tyres.
Weighing just 1375kg when full of fluids, the V8 Cygnet has a power-to-weight ratio of 313bhp/tonne. As a result, the V8 Cygnet is capable of accelerating faster than the V8 Vantage S with 0-60mph taking just 4.2 seconds. With a top speed of 170mph it is over 60mph faster than the regular Cygnet.
Braking is taken care of by 380mm discs clamped by six-piston monoblock calipers at the front and 330mm discs gripped by four-piston mono block calipers at the rear. The calipers are painted yellow to contrast with the Buckinghamshire green of the bodywork. Most of the remaining parts of the braking system are taken from the V8 Vantage S with ABS and a fixed brake bias valve. Inside, there is a bespoke brake pedal housed in the V8 Vantage-derived pedal box.
The rest of the interior is largely indicative of the fact that this V8 Cygnet could easily be used for competition. In addition to the roll cage there is a fully FIA compliant fire extinguisher system and seating is taken care of by composite, fixed back Recaro bucket seats with four-point harnesses. The alcantara covered steering wheel is removable and behind this sits a bespoke carbon dash with the familiar Vantage instrument cluster. There are, of course, little touches of luxury inside as well, with leather pull straps on the unique carbon door cards and two USB ports alongside the bespoke controls for the air conditioning.
This very special one-off Cygnet is a timely reminder of what a ground-breaking car the original was, bringing luxury to the city car segment. What’s more, the market place shows that prices of Cygnets are rising as it looks set to become a future classic. Of course, classic status is already almost assured for this new V8 version of the Cygnet that epitomises the concept of a ‘pocket rocket’ and is sure to be a firm favourite of the crowds at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend as it joins a plethora of other Aston Martins on the hillclimb.