Skip to main content

Aston Martin shoehorns V8 Vantage S running gear into a Cygnet for Goodwood

Remember the Aston Martin Cygnet? We do, too. It’s been a few years since it was in production, with the last example arriving in 2013. But recently, at the world-famous Goodwood Festival of Speed in the United Kingdom, the Cygnet made a very triumphant return for a one-off showing, complete with a honkin’ V8 and a whole list of modifications.

Goodwood brings together car enthusiasts, industry buffs, and other famous figures in the world of motorsports to celebrate the sport of speed. It’s currently happening and will continue throughout this upcoming weekend. And to take advantage of the spotlight, Aston Martin debuted its one-off Cygnet V8 creation, commissioned for a special customer through its special order and customization division, “Q by Aston Martin.”

If your memory is currently evading you, the Cygnet was the oddball hatchback city car produced by Britain’s premiere luxury sports car maker. It was basically a rebadged and slightly reengineered Toyota iQ wrapped up in a fancy British suit. And it was by far the complete opposite of Aston Martin’s tradition for making high-dollar and incredibly fast luxury sports grand tourers.

The purpose of the Cygnet was to offset Aston Martin’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy rating, or CAFE. CAFE scores for automakers are based on the EPA-rated fuel economy figures of all the vehicles it sells, which gives each automaker an average CAFE score and rank. Aston Martin’s CAFE score was low, given that the firm only make high-performance luxury vehicles with gas-guzzling V8s and V12s. To offset this low score, it bought the rights to rebadge Toyota’s iQ, giving the firm a fuel-efficient vehicle to improve its CAFE score.

But being a rebadged Toyota, it didn’t quite score well with the market and left the automotive press a bit perplexed. So Aston Martin decided to try and alter everyone’s perception of the Cygnet by shoehorning a 4.7-liter V8 and seven-speed transmission under the hood for the viewing eyes of Goodwood and to celebrate the act of going fast for fun.

Instead of the puny Toyota-sourced gasoline four-cylinder in the normal Cygnet, this latest creation comes with the same arrangement as the V8 Vantage S, 430 horsepower and all. The result is a tiny city car that packs a huge amount of punch, particularly with a power-to-weight ratio of 313 horsepower per ton, which is more than a Mercedes-AMG GT-S Coupe.

To compensate for the extra power, since vehicles with extra short wheelbases don’t handle lots of oomph very well, engineers widened the axle track at both ends to give the Cygnet V8 more stability. Covering them up are specially designed and bespoke flared wheel arch extensions made of a lightweight carbon composite.

Making space for the V8 and its seven-speed Sportshift II transmission, engineers also widened the transmission tunnel and redesigned the front bulkhead. Weighing just 1,375 kilograms or 3,031 pounds, the Cygnet V8 takes only 4.2 seconds to hit 60 mph with a top run of over 170 mph.

It’s not just a stationary concept either as Aston Martin debuted the Cygnet V8 by running it up the famous hill climb course at Goodwood.

The modifications don’t stop under the hood as the Cygnet V8 also gains six-piston brake calipers up front and four-piston clamps at the rear to handle the extra speed. The interior has also been reworked with an FIA-compliant fire safety system, fixed Recaro bucket seats with four-point harnesses, a bespoke carbon dash and instrument cluster design, and more.

“The V8 Cygnet shows the fun side of both Aston Martin and its customers,” said David King, Aston Martin’s vice president for special operations. “It is also a fine example of the engineering talent within the company as it’s no small achievement to fit the Vantage’s V8 engine so harmoniously into the Cygnet’s compact body. I am sure that it will amaze and thrill people when they see and hear it on the hill at the Festival of Speed.”

Chris Chin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Since picking up his first MicroMachine, Chris Chin knew his passion for automobiles was embedded into his soul. Based in…
Kia EV3 vs Hyundai Ioniq 5: Can the EV3 take out Hyundai’s best EV?
White Kia EV3

The Kia EV3 has finally been announced, and it could well become the best low-cost electric car yet. The new EV keeps many of the design elements that I loved about the Kia EV9, but in a much smaller body and likely at a much lower price.

However, the Kia EV3 will go head-to-head with a number of other electric cars that we already consider to be the best in the lower-cost segment. One of those is the Hyundai Ioniq 5, which is loved for its stylish design, solid range, and superfast charging speed.

Read more
Jeep joins the EV party with the 600-horsepower Wagoneer S
Front view of a 2024 Jeep Wagoneer S driving on a city street.

After getting things rolling with plug-in hybrids, Jeeps’ electrification plans are picking up speed. Scheduled to reach dealerships this fall, the 2024 Jeep Wagoneer S is the brand’s first EV for North America.

The Wagoneer name is right up there with Wrangler and Grand Cherokee in Jeep lore. The original Jeep Wagoneer was one of the first truly civilized SUVs and became the namesake for a modern sub-brand encompassing the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, two leviathan gas guzzlers that went on sale as 2022 models. The Wagoneer S shares little with these SUVs besides a name.

Read more
The Kia EV9 is being built in Georgia — making it a whole lot cheaper
Kia EV9 GT-Line Three Quarters

Kia has officially kicked off production of the EV9 electric SUV in Georgia. That's big news for a number of reasons. First, it makes the EV9 the first EV to be assembled in Georgia. Second, it means more solid jobs in the U.S. And third, it means that the well-priced electric SUV is about to get even cheaper.

The reason for the price decrease is simple -- by moving production of the EV9 to Georgia from Korea, the SUV will now qualify for the federal EV tax credit, bringing the total price of the vehicle down by a hefty $7,500. It was already one of the more affordable electric SUVs, but the big rebate makes it even more enticing.

Read more