The newly revealed Aston Martin Valhalla represents a seismic shift for its maker. When it enters production in 2023, it will give the Gaydon firm a direct rival to the likes of the Ferrari SF90, with 937bhp from a plug-in hybrid V8 - but the final product has come a long way from the initial concept teased at the 2019 Geneva motor show.
We caught up with the man responsible for pushing through many of the changes that transformed the Valhalla from concept to reality, new company CEO Tobias Moers, at the car's unveiling.
You’ve made big changes to new Astons since you arrived less than a year ago. What did you do to the Valhalla?
"We’ve kept the spirit of the 2019 concept but changed everything under the skin. The engine is now a V8, and that change has meant we needed to modify the mechanical layout as a result. We chose the AMG V8 – an engine I’m pretty familiar with [Moers was AMG's CEO before his move to Aston] – because it’s versatile, and a known quantity. We’d rather invest in electrification than an all-new ICE engine."
In the beginning, we were told the Valhalla would cost £1 million. Now you say it’s less. What’s happened?
"We believe there’s a sweet spot in the market – where supercar meets hypercar, if you like – for a car priced between £600,000 and £700,000. At that price, we believe we can make around 1000 cars over two years, starting in the fourth quarter of 2023."
The Valhalla is hugely fast. That 6min 30sec Nürburgring Nordschleife target you’ve set looks tough. Are you trying to start a new power race with supercar competitors like McLaren?
"Sure, it is very fast and powerful, but I’ve never been interested in any pure power race. These days, the mark of a good car is the way it deploys its performance. Back in the day, the mark of excellence was lowest drag or peak torque. Now the task is to make very fast cars as predictable and drivable as possible. I’ve come to appreciate that. It has been part of my journey."