Aston Martin Cygnet
The door to Change... with a
Of course, Aston Martin is one of
the top supercars brands. But why shouldn't it also
offer a completely different line of cars? Famous
for its 911 model for decades, Porsche did enter the
SUV segment with the Cayenne in 2002. The Cygnet
concept is based on the Toyota iQ? Fine, the Cayenne
is the brother of the Volkswagen Touareg.
Being based on the Toyota iQ,
Aston Martin's Cygnet concept opens several
horizons, not one.
First, it opens the door to more
business volume, even if profit margins are very
Second, small cars with limited
consumption and emissions will lower the average
fuel consumption / emissions of the whole range of a
brand known for its fast and consequently more
consuming and polluting engines (like any fast car
Third, the move to small car
segments opens the way to other changes beyond the
traditionally expected boundaries. Tomorrow, Aston
Martin will add the four-door Rapid sedan
(deliveries from early next year) and the iQ-based
city model (late next year), but the door can also
be considered opened to hybrid, purely electric or
even fuel cell vehicles, in different segments and
categories. This may be the most important door
opened now with the ‘Cygnet’ concept. Big C for
Change, not just for Cygnet.
Rather than remaining stuck in
the image of a manufacturer of super fast and
consuming cars, the ‘Cygnet’ concept adds an
environmentally conscious image, being small, highly
fuel efficient... with the prestige of Aston Martin’s
The collaboration does make
sense. Aston Martin is one of the top exclusive
brands and Toyota is since last year, the world
leader in volume sales.
What about producing the Cygnet
Aston Martin Chief Executive, Dr
Ulrich Bez said: "Now is the right time for
Aston Martin to take this first bold step to embark
on this special project..."
"Much work is still
required, but I am confident that this project could
become reality in the not too distant future. This
concept... will allow us to apply Aston Martin
design language, craftsmanship and brand values to a
completely new segment of the market."
"The offering of a ‘Cygnet’
with a DBS, DB9 or Vantage is a unique combination
of opposites and a novel transport solution allowing
intelligent and sensitive mobility on an exclusive
and innovative level."
So, the Signet will be adapted at
Gaydon in the UK, and sold from late next year, with
prices expected from around twenty five thousand
Taking into account the strength of Aston Martin's
image as a super cars maker, the development of the British brand's new
luxury commuter concept, the ‘Cygnet’, does not only represent a
clever move, but even a courageous one, since it is not only getting into
a totally new segment for the brand (to be produced and launched late next
year), but also based on the Toyota iQ (see opposite box).
The comparison might look different in some regards,
but the move can remind us somehow of the other decision taken by Porsche
a few years ago, when it did not only enter the crossover SUV market
(2002), but it did even base its Cayenne SUV on the Volkswagen Touareg
Anyway, before Aston Martin's city car arrives, here
comes today Toyota's sportiest iQ version, the iQ3, with the
98bhp 1.33 Dual VVT-i petrol engine, the Optimal Drive and Stop &
Start systems, with prices starting in the UK from GB£11,495 (manual) and
In the new iQ3 , the 4-cylinder
1.33-litre engine (also available with the Auris, Yaris and Urban
Cruiser models) combines the Toyota
Optimal Drive technology with Dual VVT-i control of both intake and
exhaust valves. It is available either with a six-speed manual
transmission, or with Toyota's new Multidrive CVT (continuously variable
With the compact and lightweight manual gearbox, iQ3
returns in the combined cycle driving an official 58.9 UK mpg
(equivalent to 49 US mpg, 4.8 litres per 100 km, or 20.8 kms per litre),
with 113g/km of CO2 emissions (Band B for road tax in the UK,
with £35 annual charge).
available with a six-speed manual or Multidrive CVT.
With the Multidrive CVT gearbox, fuel economy is the
same, but CO2 emissions rise slightly to 120g/km (still within
Band B in the UK).
In terms of performance, the engine develops a maximum
73 kW (99hp, 98bhp) at 6,000rpm and peak torque of 125Nm at 4,400rpm.
Nought to 62mph (100 km/h) can be achieved in 11.8 seconds (11.6 with
Multidrive) on the way to a top speed of 106mph (170 km/h).
With the manual gearbox, the 1.33-litre engine gets
Toyota’s Stop & Start system, which automatically cuts the engine
when the car comes to a stop and the gear shift is moved to neutral.
gets Toyota’s Stop & Start (with the manual gearbox).
Toyota says that when a gear is selected, the engine
restarts quickly (in 0.4 seconds) and seamlessly, thanks to the use of a
permanently engaged gear mechanism. In urban driving, Stop & Start can
yield fuel consumption savings of up to 15 per cent.
Toyota also indicates that one of the key elements of
the 1.33-litre engine is its piston design. Smaller and lighter than on
the previous 1.3 unit, the new pistons are designed with a smaller contact
area and use carbon ceramide material to reduce friction.
covering the 4 sides of the cabin.
iQ3 carries forward the specification of iQ2
(3-cylinder petrol engine, 996 cm3, 50 kW/68 hp) but with some
additional features: the door mirrors have chrome-finished housings and
the car rides on larger, 16-inch dual five-spoke alloy wheels. The choice
of six paint finishes includes Decuma Grey metallic, which is also
exclusive to iQ3.
The standard equipment features include automatic
headlights and wipers, climate control, electric folding and heated door
mirrors, Smart Entry and Start, auto-dimming rear view mirror, six-speaker
sound system, front fog lights and a leather trimmed steering wheel. Nine
airbags are fitted, including the world’s first rear window airbag
(launched with the iQ model, it deploys from the roof lining above the
rear window, in the form of a curtain-like barrier), and the active safety
package includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with Traction Control (TRC).
airbag: deploys from the roof lining.
Four accessory packs are designed for the iQ model.
The iStyle (£295) pack comes with chrome surrounds to
the front fog lights, chrome side sills, a chrome strip on the tailgate
and aluminium scuff plates.
The iUrban (£345) pack provides rear parking sensors,
a reversible rubber/velour boot liner (for use when the rear seats are
folded flat) and carpet mats.
For sporty-oriented tastes, the iSports (£495) pack
focuses on style with a neat roof spoiler, deep rear skirt and inverted
delta-shape chrome exhaust tailpipe finisher.
The fourth pack, iConnect (£375) brings Bluetooth
connectivity and a detachable Glovebag to store documents and small
The iQ3 version adds two extra-cost options:
leather seat upholstery (£690) and a fully integrated satellite
navigation system with Bluetooth and iPod integration (£930).