There is a ‘road’ out there somewhere, but you’d only know it by the gap in the trees and the succession of poles sticking up stripy and proud out of the frozen whiteness.
Blanketed in thick, powdery snow that’s reflecting the hazy morning light in picture-postcard fashion, with heavy-laden pines stretching as far as the eye can see, the scene through the windscreen looks utterly serene. It’s not exactly asking to be disrupted by a 500-horsepower V8 – but never mind. Stuff happens, doesn’t it? Even in Lapland.
And however treacherous you might imagine those conditions to be, the car we’re driving has been coping with them just fine so far. It’s 14degC below freezing, and we’re 200 miles north of the edge of the Arctic Circle at the TestWorld proving ground in northern Finland.
Up ahead on the handling course we’ll shortly be turning on to, there will be sharp twists, steep gradients and nasty cambers. All of them are guaranteed to be slippery, and all of them easily convincing enough to make most Aston Martin owners I’ve met put their show ponies away and take the Range Rover to work. For most Aston owners I’ve met, the vague threat of an air frost and a gritter is more than enough to do that – and it’s an instinct I understand completely.
But Aston Martin still has to do as thorough an engineering job on all of its ‘second century’ products as Porsche, Mercedes-AMG, Jaguar or anyone else does on their new cars. That means mile after mile of durability testing is on the menu, as well as altitude testing, hot weather testing and cold weather testing not unlike the kind we’re getting a taste of today.