To the majority of buyers of today’s conventional city cars, the launch of the new Aston Martin Cygnet must rank as one of the daftest this century. For most of them, small means cheap, and the Cygnet breaks every rule.
For the extra money you get a proper Aston Martin paint job, a superb hand-fitted and bespoke interior (with as many leather hides in it as are needed to trim a DB9), a series of body mods that give the Cygnet its own visual identity (including a superb extruded aluminium grille from the same supplier as does for the £1million One-77) and the magic of the Aston Martin name.
The Cygnet is quite different from any other Aston Martin. At just three metres in overall length it is the smallest Aston in history. It is its first dedicated city car, and it is probably the slowest Aston in modern times, achieving just 106 mph flat-out, and sprinting from 0-60 mph in 11.5sec — more than twice the time it takes any other contemporary Aston.
Why do we need it? First, because Aston realises that many of its owners also need nippy inner-city transport, and figured they would enjoy driving a luxurious baby Aston if there were one available.
Second, because tough taxes are coming for manufacturers of thirsty cars; the Cygnet’s combined consumption of 54 mpg, plus its modest 120g/km CO2 output, help counterbalance Aston’s monsters. Actually, with the optional CVT these figures are hardly special for such a small car, but they’re a helluva lot better than what you get from a DB9.
In the flesh, the Cygnet is impressive. The Aston paint process gives it a glass-like paint finish (they use the same finishing techniques as for a £150,000 Aston) and once you sample the comfort of the hand-finished interior, with every surface covered either in handbag-quality leather, Alcantara or first-quality carpet, you start to see the millionaire’s case for the Cygnet.
The major components may be by Toyota (and none the worse for that) but the see-touch-feel details are Aston’s own, things such as new instrument graphics, special metal inner door handles, a superb polished alloy gear-gate, a bespoke alloy shift lever and lots more.