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New Aston Martin Vantage AMR revives the manual gearbox

Aston Martin Vantage AMR

The new Aston Martin Vantage AMR has been unveiled at Spa-Francorchamps – and as teased on social media, it has a manual gearbox.

In what will be music to the ears of car fans, the seven-speed manual transmission in the Vantage AMR also features a ‘dog-leg’ first gear, creating a traditional double H-pattern for second to seventh gears.

It’s the first time Aston Martin has offered a manual gearbox since the previous-generation Vantage in 2017, and the transmission – developed by Graziano – is mated to a limited-slip differential, tuned and calibrated at Silverstone.

Aston Martin Vantage AMR Vantage 59

The manual ‘box features Amshift, a system that mimics the technique of heel-and-toe downshifts and allows for full-throttle upshifts. If you’re not salivating over the prospect of driving the AMR now, you don’t have petrol running through your veins.

Manual shifting joy

Production of the Vantage AMR is limited to 200 units, although the Vantage will continue to feature a manual gearbox as an option from the beginning of 2020, following the sale of all 200 models. Customers can expect to take delivery by the end of 2019.

The ‘standard’ 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine remains, with the same 510hp at 6,000rpm. The 0-62mph time increases from 3.6 seconds to 4.0 seconds, but we suspect you’ll have more fun hurtling towards the 195mph top speed.

Aston Martin Vantage AMR 59

Removing the automatic transmission creates a purer driving experience, but also sheds 95kg of weight. Carbon brakes are standard, while the damping system incorporates Aston Martin’s ‘Skyhook’ technology and features three driving modes: Sport, Sport+ and Track.

Fulfilling a promise

Aston Martin is well aware that the manual gearbox will grab the headlines: “Vantage AMR fulfils [its] promise to deliver a product with the involvement and driver engagement that only a manual can offer,” it says.

The first 141 units will be available in either Sabiro Blue, Onyx Black, China Grey or White Stone, and priced at £149,995. But we suspect there will be a strong demand for the final 59 ‘Vantage 59’ editions, finished in a Stirling Green and Lime exterior paint scheme with a ‘59’ logo on the bonnet.

These models are crafted to celebrate 60 years since Aston Martin’s victory at the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans, when Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby finished ahead of Maurice Trintignant and Paul Frere to complete a one-two for the DBR1.

Aston Martin Vantage AMR interior

Priced at £164,995, these are offered on a first-come-first-served basis and also feature a Dark Knight leather and Alcantara interior, finished with a signature AMR lime stripe and stitching. These are the AMRs most likely to be squirrelled away in an air-conditioned basement for investment purposes.

Autonomous ‘robo-taxis’ be damned

Andy Palmer, Aston Martin Lagonda president and group CEO, said: “When I joined this company, customers asked and, as a gearbox engineer and racer, I promised that we would always offer a manual transmission in our line-up.

“The Vantage AMR not only honours that commitment, but sets us apart from our competitors in continuing to offer a three-pedal option. In a world of autonomous robo-taxis, Aston Martin will continue to advance the art and science of performance driving.

Aston Martin Vantage AMR revealed

“With the Vantage AMR, we have created a thoroughly modern sports car that rewards effort and focus from the driver; the antidote to driving a computer game.

“With the Vantage GTE set to race again at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, I hope that those customers who are lucky enough to take ownership of a Vantage 59, will have even more reason to celebrate with their new car”.

Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante: 211mph soft-top revealed

DBS Superleggera Volante

Aston Martin has chopped roof off its flagship super GT. Meet the new DBS Superleggera Volante.

The soft-top version of the DBS is the second Volante model introduced under Aston Martin’s ‘Second-Century Plan’, following the DB11 Volante.

Raising the roofDBS Superleggera Volante

The new roof has a class-leading stack height of just 260mm. That means the styling of the car doesn’t have to be ruined in order to stow the hood away. It also allows for better luggage space.

The roof itself can go from up to down in 14 seconds, then back up again in 16 seconds – and can be operated with the key.

Its made up of eight layers for maximum refinement. The mechanism and materials have been durability-tested to the tune of over 100,000 cycles, in conditions ranging from the searing heat of Death Valley to the vicious cold of the Arctic Circle.

It’s still a supercar

DBS Superleggera Volante

Under the skin, the coupe’s monstrous 725hp twin-turbo 5.2-litre V12 remains. Needless to say, this is the fastest Volante – and indeed the fastest soft-top Aston – ever made. It’ll crack 62mph in 3.6 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 211mph.

Also carried over is the eight-speed automatic gearbox from ZF and the clever aerodynamic addenda.

The latter includes the air extractors for the front arches and the double diffuser at the rear. The ‘Airblade II’ rear spoiler has also been revised. In total, the Volante produces 177kg of downforce at its top speed, just 3kg less than the coupe.

Open-air V12 soundtrack

Superleggera Volante

The elephant in the room with the DBS Superleggera was always the DB11. Especially with the excellent AMR revisions, the DB11 isn’t an awful lot less car than the DBS. Especially when you consider the similarities in the cabin. Yes, the DBS looks as striking as it is beautiful, but the family relationship isn’t hard to spot.

The DBS Volante, however, offers something unique. If you want a brand new convertible V12 Aston Martin, the DBS Volante is your only choice. The DB11 Volante only comes with the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8.

Deliveries by autumn 2019

Superleggera Volante

New Aston Martins aren’t a rare thing these days. A new Aston you can actually buy within six months of its reveal is something unusual, however.

Those interested in the DBS Zagato, 003, Valkyrie, Vanquish and DBX SUV will all have to wait; deliveries of the DBS Volante begin by the third quarter of 2019. Yours from £247,500…

Stunning DBS ’59’ is Aston Martin’s tribute to a Le Mans legend

Aston Martin DBS '59'

The first in-the-metal images of the Aston Martin DBS ’59’ edition have been revealed.

One thing is certain: this isn’t just any old limited edition. Here’s what makes it a bit special.

Le Mans, 1959

Aston Martin DBS '59'

The DBS ’59’ pays homage to the 1959 Le Mans 24 Hours race. Aston Martin scored an historic 1-2 finish with the DBR1, with Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori sharing the lead car ahead of Maurice Trintignant and Paul Frére.

It’s now 60 years since that victory cemented Aston Martin as one of the greats of sports car racing – a history upon which subsequent DBR9 and Vantage GTE racers would build.

DBS ’59′ – the devil in the detail

Aston Martin DBS '59'

This special project was commissioned by Aston Martin Cambridge and undertaken by Aston Martin’s Q division. Limited to 24 units – one for every race hour at Le Mans – DBS ’59’ features of a number of stunning details. It’s by no means just a spray and trim job.

Paint is, nonetheless, important. It wouldn’t pay homage to the Salvadori DBR1 if it wasn’t Aston Martin Racing Green, a hue also worn by GT racers of the last 15 years.

A carbon fibre roof, plus bronze detailing in the brightwork and badging, complete the exterior highlights of the ’59’. There’s also lettering on the ‘aeroblade’ rear spoiler, detailing the chassis and engine number of the Le Mans winner, alongside its silhouette.

Inside the DBS ’59′

Aston Martin DBS '59'

The interior is a tasteful tribute to the 1959 Le Mans winner. You’ll find tan-on-black leather and special embroidery on the speaker grilles and sun visor. The bronze detailing continues, too, aping the switchgear from the original DBR1.

Look in the back and you’ll find a colour-coded retro racing helmet, along with blue race suits and replicas of Shelby’s race gloves.

Aston Martin DBS '59'

“The ‘DBS 59’ strikes a careful balance between a timeless design that respects our history and a modern take that celebrates our future,” said Simon Lane, director of Q and VIP sales.

“The DBS Superleggera is the most powerful production car ever produced by Aston Martin and so it is fitting that the ‘DBS 59’ special editions have been commissioned to mark 60 years since our iconic 1-2 win at Le Mans.”

Electric dream: Aston Martin Rapide E revealed in Shanghai

Aston Martin

Aston Martin has revealed the production Rapide E at the Shanghai auto show.

The long-serving super saloon has swapped its 6.0-litre V12 for a bank of batteries and electric motors.

The Rapide E is more than simply an electric version of an older model, though. At its heart is the Lagonda powertrain of the future.

Rapide E: power, performance and range

Aston Martin Rapide E

The Rapide E comes with 800V architecture and a 65kWh battery system co-developed with Williams Advanced Engineering. The new hardware is located where the V12, gearbox and fuel tank once resided.

Power is fed to the rear wheels via two electric motors that produce a combined 610hp and 701lb ft of torque.

Aston says you’ll see 60mph in less than four seconds, on the way to a top speed of 155mph. It’ll sprint from 50mph to 70mph in just 1.5 seconds, too.

Aston MartinThe more practical stuff is also very interesting. Aston claims the Rapide E has a 200-mile WLTP driving range, which can be replenished to 185 miles via a 400-volt charging system in an hour.

Indeed, it can actually be fully charged in less than an hour if connected to an 800-volt charging system. The car also features a high-power AC onboard charger, which tops up the batteries to 100 percent in as little as three hours.

Traditional electric cars might begin to feel a little tired towards the end of a flying lap of a track like the Nurburgring. But the 800-volt system in the Aston fights battery degradation from intense use. ‘Consistent and repeatable’ performance is promised.

The future in a classic suit

Aston Martin Rapide E

The car looks similar to the existing Rapide AMR, but with no V12 to feed, the front aperture is partly closed. Its re-designed flat underfloor and larger diffuser are also both new. The aim is to help the Rapide E scythe through the air more efficiently. 

Aston’s VH architecture, which underpins the Rapide, dates back almost 20 years. However, the battery technology here represents the next big step for electric cars.

The fact that it comes in familiar and beautiful package adds some comfort to aid the embrace of change.

Aston Martin Rapide E

As for whether you can have one, well, only 155 are being made. The Rapide E is part-production car and part-investigative project. It allows Aston to dip its toe in the water of a brave electric future – and develop the core of Lagonda luxury electric cars to come.

‘The Rapide E represents a pioneering first step towards achieving the company’s wider electrocution strategy and the successful fruition of Lagonda,’ says the press release.

Aston Martin CEO, Dr Andy Palmer, adds: “Unveiling the Rapide E will be a huge moment for Aston Martin.”

“As our first all-electric production car, it is a truly historic step. One that signals Aston Martin is prepared for the huge challenge of an environmentally responsible and sustainable future.”

Multi-million-pound recreation Aston Martin DB4 Zagatos go into production

DB4 GT Zagato Production

One half of the Aston Martin DBZ collection has begun production and no, it’s not the brand new DBS GT Zagato. It’s the 1960s classic from which it draws inspiration, reborn for 2019. DB4 GT Zagato construction is officially underway.

Construction is perhaps a better word to describe the process of a DB4 GT Zagato coming together, rather than production. Production has connotations of automation about it. To construct something is a very human thing, and the DB4 GT Zagato Continuation is a human-built car.

DB4 GT Zagato Production

The cars are to be hand-finished at Aston Martin’s Heritage Division headquarters in Newport Pagnell. They should be finished to a standard much higher than would have been possible in period, too. That’s panelling, engines and all…

The cars are to be neither road nor race legal, but rather serve as both one half of the DBZ Collection, and as a demonstration of what Aston’s Heritage Division can achieve in terms of restoration, renovation, recreation and indeed, ground-up build.

DB4 GT Zagato Production

There’s no other more important Aston to do it with than the DB4 GT Zagato, either. Originals are thought to be the most valuable Aston Martins in the world. It’s rare that one comes up for sale. Some of that value will come from the fact that they were handcrafted in Italy at Zagato.

“We are bringing all of our hand-craftsmanship and expertise to bear in building these nineteen Continuation cars, sympathetically incorporating the very latest engineering advancements and performance enhancements, but remaining true to the purity and authenticity of the original design,” said Paul Spires, president of Aston Martin Works.

DB4 GT Zagato Production

“After the unprecedented success of the DB4 GT Continuation cars, we are once again bringing to life in the 21st Century the stuff of Aston Martin folklore.”

The price for one of these continuation Zagatos? Well, they come as a pair, each with a sister DBS. The collection would set you back £6million, plus local taxes, if any build slots were left…

Aston Martin Zagato

Z Cars: the 58-year history of Aston Martin and Zagato

Aston Martin DBS Zagato

Aston Martin’s new DBS GT Zagato supercar has been teased in rendering form. It forms the second part of a £6 million ‘DBZ Centenary Collection’, along with a classic DB4 GT Zagato continuation model. Aston Martin and Zagato have been collaborating for many decades. These are some of their finest efforts.

1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato

Aston Martin Zagato

Marking the beginning of this 58-year collaboration is the legendary DB4 GT Zagato. It was a racing hot-seat for stars like Jim Clark in-period, and a better-than-gold investment today. These are some of the most important – and rarest – Aston Martins ever built.

1986 Aston Martin V8 Zagato

Aston Martin Zagato

The V8 Zagato is certainly one of the more challenging-looking cars yielded by this collaboration. Based on the muscular Aston V8 of the era, it came in both coupe and open-top Volanté configurations. It was powerful for 1986, packing more than 430hp.

2002 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Zagato

Aston Martin Zagato

The long-serving DB7 was not long for this world in 2002, and it was the first Aston Martin to be sent out in Zagato style. The DB7 Vantage Zagato brought back the ‘mouth’ grille and exaggerated double-bubble roof.

2003 Aston Martin DB AR1

Aston Martin Zagato

The DB AR1 was essentially an open-top version of the DB7 Zagato. However, it wasn’t originally part of the plan. The AR stands for American Roadster, after the rapturous demand from overseas collectors that forced its hasty creation. It was also automatic-only.

2004 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato

Aston Martin Zagato

This is possibly the rarest of all the Zagatos, given it was a one-off concept. Being based on the original Vanquish, it’s also one of the prettiest. Aside from the missing roof, it’s probably one of the most subtle Zagato re-designs.

2011 Aston Martin V12 Zagato

Aston Martin Zagato

This was the first Zagato since the DB4 GT to be built with racing firmly in mind. A competition version of the Vantage-based V12 Zagato famously raced at the Nürburgring 24 Hours. Road cars followed in 2012.

2013 Aston Martin DB9 Spyder Zagato

Aston Martin Zagato

Like the V8 Zagato, the Zagato-bodied DB9 Volanté is nothing if not visually challenging. The car features a front-to-rear overhaul, with few of the original Aston design tropes left intact.

2013 Aston Martin Virage Zagato Shooting Brake

Aston Martin Zagato

The Virage Zagato Shooting Brake takes that remodelling to a whole other level, with the addition of an extended roof and hatchback. Being a shooting brake, it’s naturally the most desirable and interesting of Zagato’s Aston Martin ‘Centennial Trilogy’.

2013 Aston Martin DBS Zagato

Aston Martin Zagato

As with the DB7, the Zagato version was something of a swansong for the DBS, as well as one-third of Zagato’s ‘happy hundredth birthday’ celebration. It looks virtually identical to the Virage and DB9 from the front and back, but is distinguished by its bespoke chrome-stripped coupe design and double-bubble roof.

2016 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato

Aston Martin Zagato

The latest Zagato is one of the coolest. The Vanquish S underneath represents the last free-breathing Aston Martin V12, so these cars had to be special. While featuring the signature Zagato touches, they also came with a gorgeous bespoke cabin.

2016 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake

Aston Martin Zagato

This is top of our Zagato wishlist. The Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake adds an estate body style similar to the Virage. There aren’t many load-luggers more welcome on Monaco’s Casino Square.

2016 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster

Aston Martin Zagato

Although the other Vanquish Zagatos are very special in their own right, the Speedster is arguably the most special. Just 28 of these cars were mooted for production, compared to 99 of the others. Cue traffic-light envy if you pull up in a Zagato Volanté…

2019 Aston Martin DBS GT Zagato

Aston Martin DBS Zagato

Following in the footsteps – certainly in name – of the original DB4 GT Zagato, the DBS doubles up with a continuation of the classic car, sold as a pair in the £6 million DBZ Zagato Centenary Collection. It’s an instant classic designed to set the tone for future Aston and Zagato collaborations.

Read more:

First look at £6 million Aston Martin DBS GT Zagato

Aston Martin DBS GT Zagato

Aston Martin has released detailed renderings of the DBS GT Zagato, the second half of the DBZ Centenary Collection.

Built to celebrate 100 years of the famous Italian design house, the DBS GT Zagato is the second part of arguably the greatest ‘buy one, get one free’ deal of 2019. Get your name down for one of these and you’ll also take ownership of a DB4 GT Zagato Continuation.

Aston Martin’s partnership with Zagato dates back to 1961, when the Italians were asked to give the DB4 GT a little more race-pace.

The result was a faster, lighter and shorter version of the Aston Martin, good enough to attract the likes of Jim Clark, Stirling Moss and Roy Salvadori. Just 19 were built, and it became one of the most collectible cars ever made.

A British legend

 

Aston Martin DBZ Centenary Collection

Indeed, only last year, an ex-Jim Clark DB4 GT Zagato sold at auction for £10.1 million, setting a record for a British car sold at a European auction.

With this in mind, the £6 million (plus taxes) Aston Martin is asking for the DBZ Centenary Collection represents a bargain. After all, you do get a DB4 GT Zagato Continuation and a DBS GT Zagato.

Placed alongside its illustrious forebear, it’s easy to spot some of the influences from the 1961 original. It’s based on the DBS Superleggera and features the iconic ‘double-bubble’ roof, discarding the traditional rear windscreen in favour of a purer roofline.

In true Zagato style, the wheels, headlights and front grille are unique to the DBS GT Zagato, but Aston Martin hasn’t released details of the powertrain, performance figures or interior. We feel a teaser campaign is in the making…

A timeless icon

 

First look at DBS GT Zagato

Marek Reichman, Aston Martin Lagonda’s executive vice president and chief creative officer, said: “In the DB4 GT Zagato Continuation we have one of the world’s most beautiful and instantly recognisable pieces of car design. Creating a car fit to stand alongside it was always going to be a formidable challenge, but also a great motivation.

“Both design teams at Aston Martin and Zagato have together risen to the task magnificently; taking the already fabulous DBS Superleggera and shaping something which retains its identity as an Aston Martin, but expresses itself as only a Zagato can. Sensational-looking and extremely rare, it is the modern incarnation of a timeless icon.”

DBS GT Zagato revealed

 

In common with the original, just 19 DBS GT Zagatos will be built, each one sold as a pair with a DB4 GT Zagato Continuation. Customers can expect to take delivery of the Continuation model by the end of the year, with the modern icon following by the close of 2020.

Click here to discover some of the beauties and beasts created by Aston Martin and Zagato since 1961

James Bond will return… in an electric Aston Martin

James Bond Aston Martin electric car

Daniel Craig will drive an electric Aston Martin in the next James Bond film, according to The Sun newspaper. The film will most likely see 007 at the wheel of the Rapide E – an all-electric EV with a price tag of £250,000.

Aston Martin will build just 155 units of its first all-electric production car, although Mr Bond will be among the first to drive the most eco-friendly form of transport since Roger Moore’s Union Flag parachute in The Spy Who Loved Me.

The Sun reports that director Cary Joji Fukunaga wants Bond to be seen in an electric vehicle, with an insider quoted as saying: “The decision was spearheaded by the film’s new director, who’s a total tree-hugger.

“He is working directly with Aston Martin to get one of their electric cars ready for its big close-up.

Daniel Craig Aston Martin

“It’s going to be the centre of an incredible action sequence in the movie. James Bond is known for driving amazing cars and this one won’t disappoint either.

“It’s going to have all the high-tech gadgets. To be clear, this is something Cary pushed for and Daniel and the producers are going along with.

“Everybody is afraid of Bond getting labelled ‘too PC’ but they all felt the time was right to put him in a zero-emission vehicle.”

Do you expect me to torque?

James Bond electric Aston Martin

The Aston Martin Rapide E is being developed in collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering and will be powered by an 800 volt battery electrical architecture with 65 kWh installed capacity.

The 6.0-litre V12 engine, gearbox and fuel tank are removed and replaced with 5,600 lithium-ion cylindrical cells and two rear-mounted electric motors. The result is a combined output of 610 horsepower and 700 lb ft of torque.

It means that Bond’s next set of wheels will sprint to 60 mph in sub-4.0 seconds before hitting a top speed of 155 mph. Aston Martin’s range target of 200 miles should be enough for Bond to travel from MI6 to the casino without getting all shaken and stirred over range anxiety.

Shooting of the 25th James Bond film is expected to start at Pinewood studios in April, with Daniel Craig making his fifth and final outing. Rapide E customers are expected to take delivery by the end of the year. 

Read more

 

Aston Martin Vanquish Vision Concept

Aston Martin Vanquish Vision: a genuine Geneva 2019 surprise

Aston Martin Vanquish Vision ConceptAston Martin has wowed Geneva 2019 show-goers by revealing yet another mid-engined car, the Vanquish Vision Concept. The supercar alternative to the extreme AM-RB 003 hypercar, it confirms the next Vanquish will switch to a mid-engine layout – and directly take on the McLaren 720S.

This is a big deal for Aston. Up to now, all of its high-end sports cars have been front-engined. Switching to a mid-engined layout jumps it up a level. Now, it will go head-to-head with McLaren, Ferrari and Lamborghini.

The fact Aston Martin is showcasing the concept alongside the AM-RB 003 hypercar encourages us to make the link: the Vanquish Vision Concept is the Red Bull Racing of supercars, and the competition therefore needs to watch out.

Aston Martin Vanquish Vision Concept

Aston president and CEO Andy Palmer admits this hotly-contested sector has traditionally been defined by Italian marques. But the new Vanquish will be “a transformational moment for the brand… the car that will propel Aston Martin into a sector of the market traditionally seen as the heartland of luxury sports cars”.

Styling the Vanquish Vision Concept

Design director Miles Nurnberger happily makes the link to the Aston Martin Valkyrie and AM-RB 003. Its appearance is “more seductive and less technical… but it’s still extreme in terms of visual gestures”.

Take the front clamshell, around the front wheel: it has openings so you can see through onto the tyre. Designers will understand when he says “there’s less of the negative space that defines the look of the Valkyrie and AM-RB 003. “It’s a prettier car, and purposely so, as if it’s been designed to thrive in a less extreme performance envelope.”

Aston Martin Vanquish Vision Concept

Nurnberger says it is “less provocative and more classical in its look”. The aggression of the Red Bull-infused hypercars is dialled back, in favour of “more flowing and sensuous forms”. It’s still athletic and modern, though, he reckons: “critical qualities” for Aston’s first mid-engined supercar.

Aston Martin Vanquish Vision: technical highlights

Aston is telling us little about what’s underneath. For now, it’s simply confirming a version of the new in-house V6 used by the AM-RB 003 will be used. In that car, it is seen in hybrid turbo form: there’s no news on how it will be configured in the Vanquish.

It also won’t be made entirely from carbon fibre. That’s far too exotic for a supercar. Instead, it will use a bonded aluminium chassis, to best balance “cost, speed of production and weight vs. strength”

Aston Martin Vanquish Vision Concept.Chief technical officer Max Szwaj will oversee the project. “The Vanquish Vision Concept is the point when the things we have learned during the Aston Martin Valkyrie and AM-RB 003 programmes reach the series production models. Creating a car like this for Aston Martin is a challenge I have relished since joining back in 2017.

“Although it takes Aston Martin into new territory, it does so with the benefit of hard-won knowledge, ground-breaking ideas and an uncompromising mindset.

“The full engineering story of this car is yet to be told, but what you see here should tell you this car will not only compete at the highest level, but it will do so in a manner and style unique to Aston Martin.”

Aston Martin Vanquish Vision Concept

Stay tuned, because what we’re watching unfold is the remarkable expansion of Bond’s favourite GT brand into a bona fide supercar and hypercar maker.

If the next Aston Martin Vanquish turns out to be a genuine Ferrari and McLaren rival, that really will give the automotive world (and the financial markets) something to celebrate.

Aston Martin Vanquish Vision: in pictures

AM-RB 003

AM-RB 003: Aston Martin’s ‘Senna’ revealed in Geneva

AM-RB 003Aston Martin is wowing Geneva with an F1-infused mid-engined hypercar co-developed with Red Bull Advanced Technologies. Previously known as Project 003, it now has a codename: AM-RB 003. The Geneva 2019 design concept is our first taste of how it may look.

The mid-mounted engine is a surprise as well: it’s a brand-new hybrid turbo V6, designed in-house by Aston Martin for the first time in years.
The third mid-engined Aston Martin – after the Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro – the AM-RB 003 may be known as ‘son of Valkyrie’, but design director Miles Nurnberger insists it’s very different. It is “a distillation of Aston Martin Valkyrie and not a dilution.

“The design isn’t as extreme in some areas, but it pushes just as hard in others, and is even taking certain ideas and concepts a step further.”
Key to this is what’s described as ‘next-generation aircraft morphing technology’. Using something called FlexFoil, the mind-boggling feature creates a variable aerofoil across the width of the rear wing.

AM-RB 003

NASA has validated the technology works, apparently, and Aston Martin is the first automotive brand to use it. In a nutshell, it allows the level of downforce to be altered without changing the physical angle of the entire wing. It’s much better than current “state of the art” active wing designs, opines Aston (*cough* McLaren Senna), as turbulence and drag are also reduced. Indeed, it’s so effective the production wing will operate virtually in real-time as the car’s pitch and attitude alter.

The upper body aerodynamics, front keel and large rear diffuser all resemble the Valkyrie, but new light graphics give a different appearance despite the ultra-lightweight lamps being borrowed directly from the flagship hypercar Valkyrie (the four units together still weigh less than one DB11 headlamp).

The AM-RB 003 is made fully from carbon fibre, both the structure and the bodywork. Red Bull has honed the materials, and also the active suspension and electronics, further underlining the F1 link. And while it won’t be quite as rare as the Valkyrie, it’s still hardly mainstream: only 500 will be sold.

Inside the AM-RB 003

AM-RB 003

A new buzzword describes the interior: ‘Apex Ergonomics’. This is said to perfectly align the centreline of the driver’s back with the steering wheel and pedals. Other controls within the clutter-free cockpit are also carefully located to help the driver focus.

The instrument display is actually mounted on the steering column itself, so it won’t be blocked by the wheel rim. The infotainment system isn’t overburdened with branded solutions nobody will use, either. Aston calls it ‘bring-your-own’ technology, masterminded through the owner’s smartphone.

Note the wraparound band that follows the curve of the windscreen, too. Through this, audio, ventilation and ambient lighting are fed, helping further declutter the interior and focus attention on the screen in front of the driver. We also like the start/stop button built into the base of the F1-shaped steering wheel.

AM-RB 003

Compared with the Valkyrie, there’s much more space and comfort inside the AM-RB 003. LMP1-style racing car doors make it easier to step in and out, and a wider centre console gives more space between front passengers. There’s even a makeshift boot: a shelf behind the seats. Aston Martin promises there will be stowage slots for wallets or mobile phones. Hopefully both.

The team behind AM-RB 003

Two Brits are responsible for making sure the AM-RB 003 drives as well as it looks: chief engineer Matt Becker and high-performance test driver Chris Goodwin. They’re currently running exhaustive tests – not on the road, though, but in Red Bull’s ultra-advanced simulator. Only later will the first prototypes take to the road. Another example of how Aston is working closely with Red Bull.

AM-RB 003

As these projects enter an incredibly exciting phase with the commissioning of the first running development prototypes, it gives me tremendous satisfaction to confirm that this exceptional partnership is continuing with the AM-RB 003 – a hypercar that not only draws from the ethos and DNA of Aston Martin Valkyrie, but will in turn influence Aston Martin’s first series production mid-engined supercar”.

Andy Palmer, Aston Martin Lagonda president and CEO, said: “When Aston Martin secured the services of Red Bull Advanced Technologies to embark on the extraordinary journey that became Aston Martin Valkyrie and Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro, it was always my hope that it would lead to a long-term collaboration.

Aston Martin AM-RB 003: in pictures