From £30,995
Aston's luxurious Toyota-based new city car is not without appeal to the rich and open-minded

Our Verdict

Aston Martin Cygnet

The Aston Martin Cygnet is perfect for inner-city fans of the brand. For the rest, it's an expensive and quirky distraction

  • First Drive

    Aston Martin Cygnet

    Aston's luxurious Toyota-based new city car is not without appeal to the rich and open-minded
Steve Cropley Autocar
23 May 2011

What is it?

If there were a prize for the daftest car to be launched so far this century, the new Aston Martin Cygnet would have to be a strong contender.

This, at least, is what most people who buy city cars will think. For most of them small means cheap, and the Cygnet breaks every rule.

At £30,995 the baby Aston costs more than double the price of the £12,500 Toyota that donated all its major components — body, chassis, suspension, engine transmission.

For the extra cost you get a proper Aston 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 million-pound One-77) and the magic of the Aston Martin name.

What’s it like?

The Cygnet is quite different from any other Aston Martin. At just three metres overall 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 11.5 seconds — 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 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 (which costs another £1000 or so) 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 car 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 like new instrument graphics, special metal inner door handles, a superb polished alloy gear-gate, a bespoke alloy shift lever and lots more.

On the road, unsurprisingly, the car is all iQ, quietened somewhat by its denser trim. Even the tyre sizes are iQ, though the wheels (standard eight-spoke alloys or an optional 16-spoke set) are designed in Aston’s own studios.

The 97bhp four-cylinder engine feels and sounds energetic up to 50-60 mph. The optional CVT transmission gives easy step-off at traffic lights. In this car it it’s a much better option in a city car than any fiddly five-speeder.

The Cygnet can produce a quite refined cruising performance on motorways if necessary, though passing performance isn’t its forte.

The steering is feather-light and nicely accurate. If you haven’t sampled an IQ you’ll be surprised by the sheer pleasure that flows from using its scooter-like turning circle, especially when it’s a viable three-seater, that can occasionally cope with four if you don’t mind having no boot space.

Should I buy one?

Depends who you are. If you’re rich and are open to the concept of a luxurious little city car that can be selected from options list of a new Aston supercar, you may love the Cygnet.

Around 400 people, nearly all big Aston owners, have already ordered one, and the company reckons it can sell 1500 a year. If you’re not one of these people, don’t worry about it. Just don’t give the Aston Martin Cygnet another thought.

Aston Martin Cygnet 1.33 auto

Price: £30,995; Top speed: 106 mph; 0-60mph: 11.5 sec; Economy: 54.3 mpg; CO2: 120 g/km; Kerb weight: 920kg; Engine type, cc: 4cyl 16v 1.33 litre petrol; Power: 97bhp at 6000 rpm; Torque: 92 lb ft at 4000 rpm; Gearbox: CVT

Join the debate


30 May 2011

What a wonderful car, it looks like a squashed fast ford with lock-jaw, and you get so much image for your money, it's very hard to be cynical about this beauty. Does it come with a sticker? - "My other car's a DBS". If it doesn't, i'm not buying. /S

30 May 2011

"In the flesh, the car is impressive"

Only Mr. Cropley could write that. Steve spins like few others excepting his countryman Murdoch. Ironic with all the good writing Mr. C has done through the decades he ends reviewing this. Irony never goes out of style and its use by C is what is truly impressive. j

30 May 2011

This car is so horrible it hurts. Couldn't even be bothered to change the reflectors in the rear bumper?? Yuk. I'd rather have a Fiesta, my dignity and loads of change. Perhaps we should start a new thread, the: "what you would buy for the cost of a Cygnet" thread to see how many countless better ways there are to spend your money...

30 May 2011

I beg to differ with fhp.

Aston Cygnet owners have proven there is a ready market for city-friendly mini cars given the right badge, image and trims.

30 May 2011

[quote fhp11]I'd rather have a Fiesta, my dignity and loads of change.[/quote] The cygnet isn't aimed at you; it isn't about value for money in comparison with other small cars. Think 'mini-me' for an Aston. The Cygnet isn't for everyone, it's a toy for those that will buy it, just because they can. I saw one on the road a few weeks ago, and it does look special with an impressive paint job, and stunning interior. Not just a city car; a small indulgence.

30 May 2011

[quote Autocar]Around 400 people, nearly all big Aston owners, have already ordered one, and the company reckons it can sell 1500 a year. If you’re not one of these people, don’t worry about it. Just don’t give the Aston Martin Cygnet another thought.[/quote]

I thought the only way you could buy on of these was to be an Aston owner? Or have they realised even some Aston drivers are actually not stupid, and opened sales up to the great unwashed?

30 May 2011

Daft but not pointless. It is the D and G shopping trolley for madam to go for a coffee morning or pop into Harrods for a cuppa with Lord and Lady Fontleroy. But the trick for AM is that they have craftly reduced their company footprint which under any other circumstances was rather impossible. Would I but one? Maybe 7 years down the line a good 2nd hand from Madam with 6000 klicks on the clock for 3K yes I would, otherwise please ask all Owners and Potential Owners to place an extremely large rear view mirror to remind them that there are other road users and that they are getting in the bloody way

30 May 2011

So Aston's answer to the emmissions of its main range is to build and sell another car, isnt that pointless. When the likes of Porsche and Ferrari are looking at many engineering solutions Aston relies on a Toyota. One wonders the money wasted on the like of the vulgar 77 and unbelievably ugly Lagonda could have been better spent elsewhere!!

30 May 2011

This whole debauch reminds me of the craziness of how the Germans- brilliant mathematicians and engineers that they are, sometimes have little taste- and as a nation embraced David Hasselhoff as the next coming for 15 or so years. While the English always in the main had taste and probably more creativity- the who, Led, Beatles etc. The Cygnet is like Germany. There actually is an accounting for taste, some have it and some don't, this Asston takes advantage of these disabled. So yes in that sense some will buy these and be happy j

30 May 2011

[quote Autocar]At £30,995 the baby Aston costs more than double the price of the £12,500 Toyota [/quote]

Well I have seen this little car in the showroom and it is not easy to dislike this car as it is so cute!

The classic 'Radford Mini de ville' would be the first car I can think of that you could compare to this Aston Martin Cygnet.

Autocar did an article on the Radford Mini de Ville back in April 1963, so even almost 50 years on the idea of a super luxury mini is still bubbling away.

Harold Radford's Mini's were a bit over the top in terms of luxuries as you could have not just the wood and leather, but other additions including reading lights, Mercedes style stacked headlamps etc, some had more instruments on the dash than an airplane!

They were though very expensive compared to an original typical standard car, just like this little Aston Cygnet is now.

Quite rare now the Radford Mini's and few want to let go of theirs so not often for sale.

Is there not going to be a Roll Royce Mini soon as well?

[quote Autocar]the Cygnet breaks every rule[/quote]

Good, I'm a fan of rebellious behaviour.

I will watch with great interest to see how this car fairs.

If it sells in small numbers don't expect to pick one up cheap second hand.

You never know it might sell in large numbers and become Knightsbridge's and Mayfair's popular luxury shopping trolley.

Aston Martin's version of a super-luxury super-mini is a super-idea!



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