One of the most exciting, outrageous and diminutive creations ever to wear the famous Aston Martin wings and dubbed ‘The Ultimate City Car’, this one-off Aston Martin Cygnet has been built with a 4.7-litre 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.
Developed in-house by Aston Martin’s engineers, the starting point for the project was a right-hand-drive Cygnet steel bodyshell 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, utilising every inch of space.
Despite all this work, the car remains very recognisably a Cygnet from the outside. The face of the little Aston 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-inch to 19-inch 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 tailpipe, 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 430hp and 490Nm respectively.
The gearbox is also taken from the V8 Vantage S – a 7-speed Sportshift II transmission taking care of the gearshifting. Power is transferred via a miniature torque tube to the 9.5-inch-wide rear wheels, which are complemented by 275/35 R19 Bridgestone tyres.
Weighing just 1375kg when full of fluids, the V8 Cygnet has a power-to-weight ratio of 313hp per tonne. As a result, the V8 Cygnet is capable of accelerating faster than the V8 Vantage S, with 0-100km/h taking just 4.3 seconds. With a top speed of 274km/h, it is over 100km/h faster than the regular Cygnet.
Braking is taken care of by 380mm discs clamped by six-piston monoblock callipers at the front and 330mm discs gripped by four-piston monoblock callipers at the rear. The callipers 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, complete with ABS and a fixed brake-bias valve. Inside the footwell 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 dashboard 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 machine the original was, bringing luxury to the city car segment. What’s more, the marketplace 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”.