What's the news?
This is huge news from the Geneva Motor Show - Aston Martin is readying a mid-engined car for what, in its own low-volume terms, it calls the mainstream. And its name is Vanquish.
Yes, that's right, the traditional Aston Martin flagship badge, previously used on big, hulking GTs with a front-mounted engine, is going to grace a mid-engined machine. The Aston Martin Vanquish Vision Concept that was shown in Geneva will represent some striking new firsts for the British company.
Because while Aston revealed, alongside the Vanquish Vision Concept, the AM-RB 003 - the latest in a series of mid-engined, carbon-built hypercars that kicked off with the Valkyrie - all three of those vehicles have been precisely that: hypercars. Massively expensive, technically hugely advanced machines with tiny build numbers, for the extremely well-heeled few.
This Vanquish, though, will be Aston's first 'mid-engined series production car', meaning there would be no limit on numbers and a not-quite-so-stratospheric price tag (if we even admit that any Aston Martin is hardly what you'd call 'cheap'...). To that end, while technical details on the Vanquish Vision Concept are thin on the ground, the company admitted that the production model will use a bespoke bonded aluminium chassis, rather than the carbon-fibre construction of the Valkyries and AM-RB 003. It will also use the new V6 engine being developed in-house by Aston Martin, which will - with additional hybrid tech - be found in the AM-RB 003.
Aston thinly veils its intended targets with the mid-engined Vanquish, by saying it will compete in one of the 'most hotly contested market sectors in the automotive world - one traditionally defined by Italian supercar makers.' So look out, Ferrari, Lamborghini and (to an extent) Pagani: Aston Martin is coming to get you.
The Vanquish Vision Concept will undergo a rigorous development process as it nears its final specification, with handling doyens Matt Becker and Chris Goodwin doing the work on chassis sign-off. It is slated to go into production in 2022.
Aston's top bods were, understandably, cock-a-hoop at the Geneva show. To reveal three highly important machines, in the form of the Lagonda All-Terrain Concept, the AM-RB 003 and this Vanquish Vision Concept, is a clear show of strength. Max Szwaj, Aston's chief technical officer and the man behind the Vanquish's exciting new direction, said: "The Vanquish Vision Concept is the point when the things we have learned during the Aston Martin Valkyrie and AM-RB 003 programmes reach the series production models. Creating a car like this for Aston Martin is a challenge I have relished since joining back in 2017. Although it takes Aston Martin into new territory, it does so with the benefit of hard-won knowledge, ground-breaking ideas and an uncompromising mindset. The full engineering story of this car is yet to be told, but what you see here should tell you this car will not only compete at the highest level, but it will do so in a manner and style unique to Aston Martin."
Miles Nurnberger, Aston Martin's director of design, added: "The Vanquish Vision Concept has a more seductive and less technical appearance than Aston Martin Valkyrie and AM-RB 003, but it's still extreme in terms of visual gestures. For example, it has a very distinctive clamshell front fender, with openings so you can see through onto the tyre. There's less of the negative space that defines the look of the Aston Martin Valkyrie and AM-RB 003. It's a prettier car, and purposely so, as it's been designed to thrive in a less extreme performance envelope. But, while being very much at home on the road, it will still be equally capable when chasing lap times on a race track. As a result, it's less provocative and more classical in its look. Its beauty comes from a shift in emphasis from the aggressive, function driven surfaces of Aston Martin Valkyrie and AM-RB 003 to more flowing and sensuous forms, while retaining a resolute athleticism and modernity: critical qualities in expressing the distinct character and capabilities of what will be Aston Martin's first mid-engined series production supercar."