Aston Martin city car gets first UK showing

Aston Martin has been displaying its luxury city car, the Cygnet, in the UK for the first time.

The company's new baby was revealed last night to journalists, existing Aston Martin owners and selected opinion formers in the suitably flashy surroundings of Meza in London's Wardour Street. The car is based on Toyota's ingenious iQ, which packs a four-seater cabin and a front-wheel drive power-train into an exterior package that isn't much bigger than that of Smart's two-seat Fortwo.

Wisely, Aston hasn't messed about with the iQ's mechanicals and clever basic architecture too much; the Cygnet has the same 1.33-litre engine as the top versions of the donor car, paired with a manual transmission or continuously variable automatic. Top speed is 106mph and the Cygnet can accelerate to 100km/h (62mph) in a not very Aston-ish 11.8 seconds in manual form, although that performance should be more than adequate for the new car's intended habitat, the clogged streets of the fashionable great cities inhabited by the world wealthiest car buyers. As Aston Martin's boss, Dr Ulrich Bez, put it at the unveiling "you don't need five hundred horsepower to drive in London". The Cygnet instead has a more modest 97; the big pluses are official combined cycle fuel consumption of 56.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 116g/km (in both cases, for the manual).

Aston has mainly concentrated on giving the Cygnet the sort of sumptuous, well-equipped, leather-stuffed interior that buyers would expect to find in one of the company's larger models. Among the highlights are an Alcantara roof lining and machined aluminium trim components. The instrument dials have a traditional Aston metallic finish, although the starter button appears to be the original Toyota item rather than the crystal type found in the company's bigger cars.

Externally, the iQ's basic shape has been retained but the side doors and tail receive detailed modifications; the Astonisation work has been most extensive around the Cygnet's nose. Remarkably, the car's designers have been able to graft a very convincing version of the instantly recognisable Aston Martin “face”, and in particular, the company's distinctive grille design, on to the new model, a big achievement given that the Cygnet has a very short stubby front that's only a few feet long, whereas the Aston look traditionally features a long, low bonnet.

The new car will initially be available in two special editions, the Cygnet Launch Edition Black and the Cygnet Special Edition White (the clue is in the names) but a wider range of colour choices and other personalisation options will be available later on. Production begins in April this year and prices will start at £30,995 – that's rather expensive for a worked over Toyota iQ but very cheap for a new Aston.

The link between Aston Martin and Toyota was forged when senior managers from the two companies got talking at a race meeting at the Nurburgring in Germany. The relationship is apparently harmonious but does not necessarily foreshadow a broader long-term tie-up.

Ten years ago, a project such as the Cygnet would have been unthinkable, except perhaps as an April Fool spoof in a car magazine. But the need to improve economy and meet tough new emissions rules made it inevitable that Aston would have to bring in smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. Certainly the reception accorded to the new model by those who saw it yesterday was positive. Either the Cygnet represents an idea whose time has come, or it is evidence that Aston Martin's brand, which carries more magic than just about any other in the world of cars, is so strong that almost any product, however unlikely, that bears the company's famous winged badge will find ready buyers.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
News
i100
News
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    C# Developer (C#, ASP.NET Developer, SQL, MVC, WPF, Real-Time F

    £40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...

    C# Swift Payment Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC, Authorize.N

    £45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...

    Front-End Developer (JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, C#, GUI)

    £55000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End Deve...

    Graduate C# Developer (.NET, WPF, SQL, Agile, C++) - London

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Graduate C# De...

    Day In a Page

    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
    Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

    What is the appeal of Twitch?

    Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
    Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

    How bosses are making us work harder

    As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
    Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

    Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

    As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
    Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

    A tale of two writers

    Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
    Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

    Should pupils get a lie in?

    Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
    Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

    Prepare for Jewish jokes...

    ... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
    SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

    A dream come true for SJ Watson

    Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
    Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

    Paul Scholes column

    Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
    Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

    Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

    A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
    Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

    The science of herding is cracked

    Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
    Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

    This tyrant doesn’t rule

    It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?