430bhp Aston Martin V8 Cygnet debuts at Festival of Speed

4.7-litre ugly duckling blossoms into a (very quick) swan on legendary hillclimb at Goodwood’s 25th anniversary automotive extravaganza

The Aston Martin Cygnet never really fitted into the British brand’s elegant portfolio of GTs. Based on a Toyota iQ city car, it was sold as an ‘optional extra’ to Aston customers looking for something luxurious in which to navigate the hustle of a busy city. Additionally, the tiny car also served to help Aston reduce the average carbon emissions of its fleet. The little car was always the odd one out in the showroom – but not any more, thanks to this bonkers new V8 version that debuts at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend.

Built by Aston’s custom Q division at the request of a possibly unhinged customer, this one-off Cygnet features the naturally aspirated 4.7-litre engine from the outgoing V8 Vantage S. Amazingly this sizeable unit has been shoehorned under the bonnet, along with adapted V8 Vantage running gear.

No less than 430bhp is sent to the rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission, enabling a 0-60mph sprint in just 4.2 seconds. That’s faster than a Porsche 911 Carrera S! The car’s top speed has also increased to a scarcely believable 170mph – some 60mph more than for the original Cygnet.

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One of the secrets behind the Cygnet’s new-found turn of pace (besides the V8 engine) is how little it weighs. Full of fuel and topped up with essential liquids, the city car tips the scales at just 1375kg. Those who are good at maths will have already worked out its impressive power-to-weight ratio of 313bhp per tonne.

Other modifications are extensive, and include a full FIA-spec roll cage, a considerably widened front and rear track, large ventilated disc brakes, limited-slip differential, full independent double-wishbone suspension, lightweight 19-inch alloy wheels, Recaro race seats and a naked carbon-fibre interior.

The cost of creating the ‘ultimate city car’, or who its new owner might be, is currently a mystery. However, you can see the Aston Martin V8 Cygnet in action this weekend’s 25th anniversary Goodwood Festival of Speed.

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