We were a bit relieved when Aston Martin discontinued the Cygnet in 2013. Although it was supposed to help the company meet tightening emissions requirements in Europe, the city car based on the Scion iQ didn’t fit in Aston Martin’s lineup, and everyone noticed. Fewer than 150 units were sold in the U.K., putting Aston Martin well below its goal of 4,000 per year. Now, the Cygnet is back, but this time as a one-off model packing a V-8 engine instead of an inline-four.
Aston Martin built this special Cygnet on request from one of its customers. Borrowing the 4.7-liter V-8 engine from the previous-gen Vantage S, the car makes 430 hp and 361 lb-ft of torque. Top speed is 170 mph, making it more than 60 mph faster than the standard model. Although it’s ridiculous, Aston Martin deserves credit for fitting such a big engine into such a tiny car. The automaker is getting the opportunity to see how it runs at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it is making its official debut at the hillclimb.
To build the car, Aston Martin started with the steel body shell and panels from a regular Cygnet. Then, it welded in a roll cage, which became an important part of the chassis. To accommodate the big powertrain, the model features a new front bulkhead and transmission tunnel made from sheet metal. A steel fuel tank housing sits in the trunk.
The model takes a few other cues from the Vantage S. These include a seven-speed automated manual transmission, as well as braking and engine cooling system parts. It features subframes and a suspension derived from the previous-gen Vantage as well.
From the outside, you’ll notice this Cygnet has extra-large wheel arches because Aston Martin had to widen the front and rear tracks. The automaker put in carbon composite flared extensions to accommodate the 19-inch wheels. There are also new central twin exhaust pipes. Inside the cabin, look for a carbon dash, Recaro bucket seats with four-point harnesses, and a removable Alcantara steering wheel.
Check out the videos below to hear what an eight-cylinder Aston Martin Cygnet sounds like.