Aston Martin has built a one-off V8-powered Cygnet

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Do not adjust your eyes. A customer has commissioned this 4.7-litre, 430bhp city car

Britain’s history of eccentric, plucky sports cars has a newcomer this morning, from Aston Martin. Its bespoke Q division has taken the wraps off a one-off, 4.7-litre V8-powered rear-drive two-seater, the likes of which you’ve never seen before. Thought the Valkyrie was a tough engineering job, did you? Pah! Meet the Aston Martin Cygnet V8.

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This isn’t some half-scale model-shop V8 either. Oh no. Aston has shoehorned the 4.7-litre, 430bhp naturally aspirated V8 from the last-gen Vantage S under the barely-there bonnet of the Toyota iQ-based Cygnet, and sent drive – via a tiny torque tube – to the rear wheels.

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Speaking of wheels, they’re up from piddly 16s to meaty 19-inch rims, encasing beefy brakes and almost bursting from the Cygnet’s diminutive bodyshell. Hence, carbon-fibre wheelarch extensions. Of course.

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Much of the Cygnet has needed a fiendishly complex – and expensive-sounding – rehash to accommodate its new 430bhp heart. Front and rear subframes are derived from the same Vantage as the engine, while there’s an entirely new front bulkhead, transmission tunnel (just look at that handbrake) and a racey part-Vantage interior, complete with roll cage and bucket seats.

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At the back, Aston’s fabricated a bespoke exhaust system, which lives directly below the steel fuel tank. And yet, not only is the car completely road legal, Aston says it’s not far off being FIA motorsport certifiable. One-make race series, anyone? It’s about time Formula One had an interesting feeder championship.

STORY Oliie Kew

Author: TopGear
Top Gear is a British television series about motor vehicles, primarily cars, and is the most widely watched factual television programme in the world.