Aston Martin has confirmed the full spec of its Cygnet and announced a pair of launch edition models to commemorate the start of production of the Toyota iQ-based city car at its Gaydon HQ.
Talking at the launch in Soho, London, Aston Martin boss Dr Ulrich Bez said: "I'm very proud to launch the Cygnet in Soho where people have everything but space. This is where the Cygnet comes in. It is a paradigm change for Aston Martin. This car is just what our customers need in London, Paris, Rome.
"It comes with the same great attention to detail that Aston Martin applies to cars that cost up to £1m. This car is a very important step in our future offering real fuel economy in a small package."
The car is on sale now and the first models will reach buyers in April. Aston Martin believes it will help alter perceptions of the brand for the better while at the same time allowing it to comply with blanket emissions directives.
The first cars to roll down the assembly line will be Black and White editions. Both cars come with the 97bhp 1.33-litre four-cylinder petrol engine as fitted to the iQ, and can be had with either the manual or CVT gearbox options.
Despite being an Aston Martin, the firm has elected not to tweak the Cygnet’s engine, so it manages the same 11.8-second sprint from 0-62mph and 106mph top speed as the manual iQ. The CVT version drops this to 11.2 seconds, although that’s considerably slower than the next slowest Aston – the V8 Vantage – which takes 4.8 seconds to sprint 62mph and has a 180mph top speed.
However, while it may not offer the performance of the rest of the firm’s range, the Cygnet makes up for it by being completely customisable to the customer’s wishes. But to get the ball rolling, the launch models come with either Swan White or Magic Black paint, with bright chrome or matt black trim respectively
On the inside, the White car features Pearl white leather and Alcantara seats, while the Black model gets seats and dash finished in black full grain leather. "We expect to sell 50 of each black and white car," a spokesman said. "We have already received 200 orders for Cygnets and have 600 sales leads. We expect to sell 1,500 in a full year in Europe and while we cannot sell the car in the US at the moment, we are looking into it."
Both Cygnet Launch Editions also come with a bespoke Bill Amberg five-piece luggage set, especially designed for and tailored to Cygnet. The black leather set comprises a glove box bag, removable door pocket bag, holdall, garment bag and a collapsible tote bag.
The standard Cygnet costs £30,995, while the two launch cars cost £39,995, considerably more than the £12,515 Toyota charges for its equivalent iQ. Aston Martin is looking into a buy-back or similar scheme to keep control of the second hand market.
Each car takes around 100 man hours to 'build' after the base iQ has been delivered to Gaydon. By comparison, a V8 Vantage takes around 180 hours. So far every customer who has ordered Aston Martin's £1m-plus One-77 hypercar – of which 62 have been sold – has bought a Cygnet.
"We need a solid base of products that will see us through any bad times," the spokesman added. "The Cygnet will also allow us to sell to whole families of customers. It will be a permanent fixture in the range in future and, when the time comes, there will be a replacement."