In the world of sports cars, only a few established players have gone the hybrid or electric vehicle route.
At the supercar end, Ferrari has incorporated a 161 horsepower electric motor in its La Ferrari, McLaren pairs a 177 horsepower electric motor to a twin-turbocharged V8, and Porsche connects an electric motor at each axle of the 918 Spyder.
Beyond those examples, only startup automakers like Tesla have fully embraced electric power. For now, electric assistance is either a performance enhancement tool or a reluctant aid to abide by tougher emissions regulations.
Aston Martin has announced it is planning to add hybrid and electric vehicles, but it firmly falls into the second category: dragged kicking and screaming into the trend. CEO Andy Palmer told Autocar that downsizing engines as the UK automaker has done recently has its limits, and eventually hybrid and electric vehicles will be the only option to adhere to stricter environmental standards. While Aston Martin would rather stick with sonorous naturally-aspirated V8 and V12s, Palmer said it’s better to install a hybrid setup than use a four-cylinder engine in a high-end sports car.
Palmer went on to describe how a 1,000 horsepower fully electric Rapide with all-wheel drive would still fall within the brand’s “power, beauty, soul” creed. While that car might terrify even Tesla and its 691-horsepower Model S P85D, Palmer said turbocharged Aston Martin models will precede hybrid and EV projects.
The DB9 replacement, likely marketed as the DB11, will be the first model to use turbocharged engines, with the upcoming DBX crossover following with a turbo motor of its own.
Whatever it takes, Aston Martin will hold onto its loud and proud motors as long as it can.