Some have criticized the Aston Martin Cygnet for being nothing more than a glorified Toyota iQ, but what we have here is far from being an ordinary pint-sized mainstream hatchback dressed in a tuxedo. The short-lived city car has been resurrected about five years since its passing for a one-of-a-kind project that has really taken us by surprise.
Gone is the tiny 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine as Aston Martin’s skilled engineers have somehow been able to cram inside the engine bay the V8 4.7-liter unit of the Vantage S. As such, power is up from the puny 97 hp of the standard car to a meaty 430 hp to transform the Cygnet into a veritable pocket rocket. Also from the Vantage, the talented folks from Gaydon borrowed the seven-speed Speedshift II automatic transmission.
While the Toyota iQ and its Aston Martin equivalent have a front-wheel-drive layout, the one-off Cygnet has been modified to accommodate a RWD setup. It had to go through some extensive changes, which included a modified chassis, shortened Vantage-sourced driveshaft, a new transmission tunnel, and a reworked bulkhead.
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As you would come to expect, the V8-powered Cygnet has put on some weight compared to the regular production model. While the standard car tipped the scales at just under 1,000 kilograms (2,204 pounds), this one weighs 1,375 kg (3,031 lbs) distributed evenly at 50:50 front/rear. To keep the weight low, the interior has been modified to accommodate a pair of Recaro body-hugging seats and a new dashboard made from carbon fiber.
If you’re curious to find out about the sort of performance it offers, 0-62 mph (0-100 kph) takes 4.2 seconds before topping out at a respectable 170 mph (274 kph). That’s a major improvement compared to the production Cygnet, which needed 11.8 seconds for the sprint and had a maximum speed of just 106 mph (171 kph).
During the V8 conversion, the miniscule car was upgraded to an independent double wishbone front and rear suspension and got beefier brakes hiding behind 19-inch alloys way larger than the stock 16-inch set. There are beefy wheel arches made from carbon fiber necessary to make room for the wider tracks making the Cygnet look like an angry little hatchback.
We will get to see the Aston Martin Cygnet V8 in action this week at the ongoing 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Source: Aston Martin
Gallery: Aston Martin Cygnet V8 concept
- A one-off creation for a customer through the ‘Q by Aston Martin – Commission’ service
- 4.7-litre, naturally aspirated V8 sits under the bonnet and drives the rear wheels
- Carbon composite flared wheel arch extensions
- Power-to-weight ratio of 313bhp/tonne
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.
V8 Cygnet – Technical Specification
RHD Cygnet steel bodyshell and panels with integrated welded-in cage
Sheet metal fabricated front bulkhead and transmission tunnel
Steel fuel tank housing mounted in the boot area
Carbon composite flared wheel arch extensions
Mesh front grille
Dark exterior hardware
Body painted Buckinghamshire Green
Yellow brake calipers
Two seat configuration
Fixed back Recaro composite driver and passenger seats with
Adjustable seat runners driver’s side, fixed position passenger side
Bespoke carbon composite instrument panel incorporating Vantage instrument cluster
Bespoke HVAC controls
Twin USB ports
Bespoke carbon fibre door cards with leather pull straps and Cygnet door release handles
Full FIA compliant fire extinguisher system
Removable alcantara steering wheel
All-Alloy Quad Overhead Camshaft, 4.7-litre V8
Dry sump lubrication
Front mid-mounted engine, rear-wheel drive
Vantage S cooling system
Twin concial air filters on bespoke intake trunking
Bespoke exhaust system with twin underfloor mufflers and catalytic convertors
Twin centre exit tailpipes
30-litre ATL Savercell fuel tank
V8 Vantage S electrical architecture
Cygnet front and rear lights
FIA compliant cut off and isolation system
Rear mounted battery
Bespoke lightweight HVAC system
Maximum Power: 430bhp
Maximum Torque: 490Nm (361lb ft)
Maximum Speed: 170 mph (274 km/h)
Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 4.2secs
V8 Vantage S seven-speed Sportshift II gearbox
Bespoke torque tube with steel propeller shaft
Front Independent double wishbone, coil springs, anti-roll bar and passive dampers
Rear Independent double wishbone, coil springs, anti-roll bar and passive dampers
Wheels and Tyres
Lightweight forged five-spoke silver diamond turned wheels
Front 8.5×19” 235/40/19
Rear 9.5×19” 275/35/19
V8 Vantage S braking system with ABS and fixed brake bias valve
Front 6-piston monoblock calipers, 380mm 2 piece floating ventilated discs
Rear 4-piston monoblock calipers 330mm 2 piece co-cast ventilated discs
V8 Vantage derived pedal box with bespoke brake pedal
Width: 1920mm (excluding door mirrors)
Front Track: 1570mm
Rear Track: 1560mm
Weight: 1375kg (kerbweight)
Weight Distribution: 50%/50% (Front/Rear)