Some have criticised the Aston Martin Cygnet for being nothing more than a glorified Toyota iQ, but what we have here is far from being an ordinary pint-sized mainstream hatchback dressed in a tuxedo. The short-lived city car has been resurrected about five years since its passing for a one-of-a-kind project that has really taken us by surprise.
Gone is the tiny 1.3-litre four-cylinder engine as Aston Martin’s skilled engineers have somehow been able to cram inside the engine bay the V8 4.7-litre unit of the Vantage S. As such, power is up from the puny 97 bhp of the standard car to a meaty 430 bhp to transform the Cygnet into a veritable pocket rocket. Also from the Vantage, the talented folks from Gaydon borrowed the seven-speed Speedshift II automatic transmission.
While the Toyota iQ and its Aston Martin equivalent have a front-wheel-drive layout, the one-off Cygnet has been modified to accommodate a RWD setup. It had to go through some extensive changes, which included a modified chassis, shortened Vantage-sourced driveshaft, a new transmission tunnel, and a reworked bulkhead.
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As you would come to expect, the V8-powered Cygnet has put on some weight compared to the regular production model. While the standard car tipped the scales at just under 1,000 kilograms, this one weighs 1,375 kg distributed evenly at 50:50 front/rear. To keep the weight low, the interior has been modified to accommodate a pair of Recaro body-hugging seats and a new dashboard made from carbon fibre.
If you’re curious to find out about the sort of performance it offers, 0-62 mph takes 4.2 seconds before topping out at a respectable 170 mph. That’s a major improvement compared to the production Cygnet, which needed 11.8 seconds for the sprint and had a maximum speed of just 106 mph.
During the V8 conversion, the miniscule car was upgraded to an independent double wishbone front and rear suspension and got beefier brakes hiding behind 19-inch alloys way larger than the stock 16-inch set. There are beefy wheel arches made from carbon fibre necessary to make room for the wider track making the Cygnet look like an angry little hatchback.
We will get to see the Aston Martin Cygnet V8 in action this week at the ongoing 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed.