Aston Martin may be launching a new SUV, but the British brand has now put its name to what’s arguably the ultimate go-anywhere vehicle.
It’s called the ACH130 Aston Martin Edition, and despite carrying the supercar manufacturer’s name, it’s made by a company called Airbus Corporate Helicopters. Yup, the ACH130 is an aircraft. More specifically, it’s a luxury private chopper designed to "delight helicopter owners and pilots" with a range of four interior and exterior designs “generated” by Aston Martin.
Customers get the choice of four external liveries with complementary interiors, and the helicopters come embellished with nods to Aston Martin. For example, the Aston Martin wings are embossed onto a handful of leather features, such as the seat headrests.
On the outside, customers can opt for the Stirling Green-themed external scheme, which is already flying on the first aircraft, and fades down into Jet Black on the underside of the helicopter. The cowlings, meanwhile, are adorned with Skyfall Silver touches. Alternatively, buyers can go for the Xenon Grey, Arizona, or Ultramarine Black paint jobs.
Inside, Airbus Corporate Helicopters says the cabin is inspired by sports cars, offering a higher level of comfort, and comes with Pure Black ultra-suede trim and a choice of leathers comprising Oxford Tan, Pure Black, Cormorant, and Ivory. The back of the front seats gets the same brogue detailing as a DB11, while the doors are trimmed with leather. Each special-edition helicopter will have a plaque on the instrument panel that shows the partnership logos, the edition number, and the owner’s name, should they wish to have it included.
Power, as you might expect from an Aston Martin-badged product, is significant. The Arriel 2D jet engine provides 952 shaft horsepower at take-off, and allows the chopper to cruise at 134 knots (154 mph). It’ll carry up to six passengers and stay in the air for up to about four hours on a full tank of fuel.
"We have our own set of automotive design principles but in recent years we have been learning how to apply our principles to other areas of design, such as architecture, motorcycles and now helicopters," said Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s vice-president and chief creative officer. "This first application of our design practices to a helicopter posed a number of interesting challenges but we have enjoyed working through them."
"Beauty is of vital importance to Aston Martin and to our customers and we think the ACH130 Aston Martin Edition is an inherently beautiful machine. It provided a wonderful canvas for our team to work on so we now look forward to seeing everybody’s reaction."
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Meanwhile, Frédéric Lemos, the head of Airbus Corporate Helicopters, said: "The ACH130 Aston Martin Edition is optimally positioned in the market for hands-on owners who draw satisfaction from personally piloting their aircraft and it generates strong brand-loyalty. In the same way Aston Martin’s products are cars for drivers who relish being at the wheel and they inspire a comparable attachment to the brand. So they are the perfect partner for us in developing this superb new ACH130 Aston Martin Edition."
Gallery: Airbus Corporate Helicopters ACH130 Aston Martin Edition
Sources: Aston Martin, Airbus