Aston Martin is a car company that is exceptionally well known for their sensational looking sports cars, handmade interior quality, and raspy engine note.
Lately, we’ve seen them take a giant leap into the hypercar market with the Valkyrie, a car designed by Adrian Newey and made from the partnership between AM and Red Bull. Now, according to CEO Andy Palmer, they have further plans.
On the table now at Gaydon is a mid-engined supercar to compete against the likes of the Ferrari 488 and McLaren 720s. Big words from the British car company, as Aston Martin has yet to dabble in this market.
The Ferrari 488 GTB
Palmer says this is the issue – credibility. Ferrari have been producing mid-engined supercars since the 70s, so customers know the experience and knowledge gained from this long heritage will be combined into their latest model.
Aston Martin don’t have this heritage, and so getting customers to trust the company’s new direction will be a challenge. So why take it on? Palmer has the answer:
“If you look at Ferrari, it has slightly higher transaction prices than us. That’s because in our core range we peak out with the Vanquish – we need to get something between the Vanquish and the Valkyrie. Therefore, I’d like to make a mid-engined sports car, a 488 competitor above the £200,000 mark.”
McLaren has managed to create a reputable brand in a short amount of time. However, the original MP4-12C wasn’t all the car they expected it to be. It took years of learning and altering before it became the car we know now. The question is, could the Aston Martin brand take a hit if their attempt at a mid-engined car isn’t good enough?
The Aston Martin Valkyrie
Let’s now imagine it is good enough, after all, it’s more than likely going to have Adrian Newey behind it, as well as technology from the Valkyrie trickle down into its spec sheet.
So what makes a mid-engined AM? According to Palmer, not a carbon tub.
“We think that just throwing carbon-fibre at it is not the optimum solution, because you want different materials in different areas of the car, so probably a composite solution – aluminium where it makes sense and carbon where it makes sense. I don’t think a pure carbon tub is the way to go.”
In regards to a powertrain, it’s yet to be decided, but it’s more than likely going to be a Mercedes V8 unit, although Palmer has teased that they will carry on making V12s “as long as they’re legal”.
Over the next seven years, Aston plan to produce seven new cars. This doesn’t include variants of the same model, by the way – or the Valkyrie. This year was the V8 Vantage, next year the new Vanquish, the year after the DBX SUV, 2020 will be the year of the mid-engined supercar, and 2021-22 will be the years of the Lagonda 1 and 2 respectively.
Each of these vehicles will run for seven years, in which the cycle will then repeat.
WHERE TO GO FROM HERE
A busy era for Aston Martin, then. What worrieds me however, is if they’re spreading themselves too thin. An Aston Martin SUV? Not so sure, but knowing Aston, I will be convinced when I see it. To be honest, I’d be happy with anything as long as they don’t replay the Cygnet card.