Aston Martin is ending its long product drought in a big way, as it is demonstrating at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, starting with a F1-derived hybrid hypercar that will usher in an assortment of new mid-engine models, the maker’s CEO tells TheDetroitBureau.com.
Named for the Norse angels who carried fallen warriors off the battlefield, the Aston Martin Valkyrie is the product of an alliance with Red Bull Advanced Technologies. It’s also the latest in a series of extreme machines from the British maker that, since the debut of the original Vantage in 1951, have used “V” names to stand out from the rest of the Aston line-up.
With its bubble cockpit and oversized wheel wells, the new model, codenamed AM-RB 001, will be the most powerful model in Aston’s history. Though final numbers have yet to be released, Aston CEO Andy Palmer said the hypercar’s final output “has to be at least 1,000 horsepower.”
(Live from Geneva! For complete coverage of the 2017 auto show, Click Here.)
That’s all the more impressive considering Palmer is promising a power to weight ratio of one-to-one, which means the final model would likely come in at barely over a half ton. In turn, that would suggest, if you will, the heavy use of lightweight materials such as carbon fiber and aluminum.
The monocoque will position the engine mid-rear, the Cosworth powertrain displacing 6.5 liters. While the V-12 will be naturally aspirated, the package will get plenty of boost from a Formula One-based KERS energy recovery system that will function as a zero-lag electric turbo.
Aston is, in fact, just one of several automakers bringing new, ultra-high-performance models to Geneva using this approach to deliver extreme acceleration. Mercedes-AMG, for example, claims its GT Concept will top 800 horsepower and get to 60 from a standing stop in “under 3 seconds.” At a slightly less radical level, Infiniti’s Project Black S Concept will also use an F1-derived hybrid system.
(For more on the new Mercedes-AMG GT Concept, Click Here.)
The powertrain layout of the new Aston Martin Valkyrie is going to find more applications, Palmer saying that “It puts everyone on notice that we’re going into the mid-engine market. It will be the top of that range.”
After going a number of years without a new product, Palmer was able to scrounge up some new capital when he changed Aston in 2014. He has big plans for that money, with a goal of bringing out seven new products, one each year.
That begins with the ongoing launch of the DB11, with replacements for the Vantage and then the Vanquish to follow. Next, will come the first Aston SUV, dubbed the DBX, followed by a mid-engine model. Two new models, dubbed Lagonda, will wrap up the line.
You might notice the four-door Rapide is not among that list. As a model, it will go away, but two products will target the same niche: the DBX and one of the Lagondas, according to Palmer.
Before it vanishes, Aston will launch its first all-electric model, using the Rapide as its base. Not surprisingly, it will be dubbed the RapidE.
Such an aggressive – and expensive – product rollout might seem hard to fathom for such a small brand, but Palmer noted that even though Aston sales fell by half, from 7,200 to just 3,700 between 2007 and 2016, its earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization, or EBIDA jumped from 92 million to 101 million British pounds.
“That allowed us to get DB11 on the road and that is now giving us momentum,” Palmer told TheDetroitBureau.com.
(Lexus wants buyers to plug-in with new LS 500h hybrid. Click Here for more on the flagship sedan.)