Unless you were living under a rock, you would know that nearly half of Aston Martin’s stake now belongs to former Ducati owner Investindustrial. Good to know that Aston Martin can still live to see the future.
But, like every acquisition, it does bring along changes, and Ducati’s past could influence one of them.
Ducati once collaborated with Mercedes AMG to create and market a special-edition Mercedes SLK55 AMG. It was said that Investindustrial saw more potential and a better future using AMG engines and transmission systems. Can we blame them? They’re in fact one of the best engine makers. If you don’t believe us, feel free to have a talk with the SLS AMG GT or the Pagani Huayra.
While the news may sadden some of the Aston Martin purists, remember that the engines powering current Astons aren’t really in-house developed. The 4.7-liter V-8 engine for example is basically a 4.2-liter V-8 from Jaguar that has been heavily re-tuned in Germany and slapped the Aston badge. The all mighty 6.0-liter V-12 under the Vanquish’s hood is actually a Ford Duratec engine. So, Aston Martin is no new customer when it comes to in-house development.
The changeover would make sense to us, as current Aston Martins continue to get more beautiful, its powertrain systems and electrical architecture seem to never really improve significantly.
Tell us which you would prefer: a Jaguar and Ford engines or a lineup of AMG engines? We bet the decision is an easy one to make.
The return of SR Auto Group’s Project Kro for the Aston Martin Vantage was long overdue. But now that it’s back, it’s back with a vengeance. The combination of the British supercar’s sporty elegance and the expert tuning exploits of the Canadian aftermarket company has turned this Aston Martin Vantage into a piece of black-and-green awesomeness.
We know SR Auto Group has made programs like this a thing of habit, but there’s something about Project Kro that really draws a lot of attention to it. Maybe it’s the polished black body, or maybe it’s the subtle lime green linings on the hood and the brake calipers. Maybe it’s even the set of 21-inch Modern Black PUR 8IGHT wheels that SR Auto Group was able to acquire from PUR Wheels’ 2012 collection.
Whatever the case may be, SR Auto Group’s Project Kro program for the Vantage is really one for our books, despite its lack of performance updates.
Aston Martin and TRG (The Racers Group) have just signed a partnership that will bring the famous British sports car to a North American racing series starting next season. TRG will receive a total of 10 race cars that will be seen in competitions like the Twelve Hours of Sebring, Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, The Grand American Rolex Series and the Pirelli World Challenge Series.
The first model we will see on the race track is the Vantage GTE. It will be unveiled at the Sebring winter test session on February 7th and then raced in the Twelve Hours of Sebring in March. The TRG-AMR Vantage GT3 will be raced in competitions like The Grand American Rolex Series and the Pirelli World Challenge Series, while the V8 Vantage GT4 will be raced in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
The GTE version and the GT4 are based on the production version Vantage V8 and are powered by a 4.7-liter V-8 engine producing 420 horsepower, while the GT3 is based on the V12 Vantage and will be offered with a 6.0-liter V-12 engine.
"We are delighted to form this innovative new partnership with TRG which presents great potential across a variety of racing competitions. In TRG we have a proven race partner who clearly knows how to be competitive and win races, helping us achieve new levels of success in North American motorsport for Aston Martin," said John Gaw, Managing Director of Aston Martin Racing.
One of the key selling points to any car’s success is its design. Even if the brand of a car is unknown, with the help of a good design, it can grab positive attention from the most discerning of critics. This focus on beauty is the main reason so many brands invest millions of dollars in design studios.
One of the most important steps toward the success of any project is to get the design right. It should not be pretentious but also should not be too bland. Nowadays, automobile designing is one of the toughest jobs in the industry. People who can draw and have passion for automobiles simply cannot call themselves a designer. It takes a certain skillset and experience to make a mark. The toughest part in designing a vehicle is balancing key elements such as aerodynamics with modern design that pays homage to the brand’s original design language. Take for instance the Jaguar F-Type. It’s a car that, Chief designer Ian Callum says, ushers in a whole new design language for the Leaping Jag while still keeping certain elements of the legendary E-Type alive. Customers of today’s world not only want a head-turning design but also a design that is recognizable.
This year, we have witnessed quite a few cars that have amazed the public through soulful beauty without compromising on aerodynamics and brand image. Here is a list of five cars that we think are the most beautiful cars, launched this year. Full story
German tuning firm Wheelsandmore is back with another program only a week removed from presenting its newest project for the Lamborghini Aventador.
This time around, Wheelsandmore is going for a decidedly British flavor: the Aston Martin DBS. Mind you, it’s not your typical DBS, although "typical" and "DBS" should never be used in the same sentence anyway. The project at hand is for the DBS Carbon Edition.
Wheelsandmore built up a program for this exclusive supercar and managed to smack another one out of the park. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much attention paid to dressing up the DBS Carbon Edition, sans the addition of 21-inch 6Sporz² wheels in one of two different finishes — carbon-fiber effect or carbon-fiber effect with a red a trim — wrapped in Continental Sport Contact 5P tires.
Wheelsandmore added in a new suspension module that dropped the DBS Carbon Edition by 25 mm (0.98 inches), which further enhanced the handling and appearance of the supercar. Finally, and most importantly, Wheelsandmore pumped up the DBS Carbon Edition’s output with the addition of its new CRP kit. This kit added an extra 40 horsepower to the British exotic’s 517-horsepower output, netting a total of 557 horsepower.
Jaeger-LeCoultre and Aston Martin are celebrating eight years of partnership with the unveiling of the AMVOX7 - the first vertical-trigger chronograph equipped with a power reserve display. As usual, exclusivity comes with a quite a big price: $26,000.
The watch features design elements seen on the latest Aston Martin models. For example, its dial was inspired by the radiator grille of the Vanquish. As a first for Jaeger-LeCoultre watches, the AMVOX introduces an intuitive display method that is in perfect accord with the sensation of immediacy conferred by a sporting outlook and the power reserve display. You will have to release the lever to unlock the glass, and then press at 12 o’clock to start or stop the timing function. Pressing at 6 o’clock will reset the time.
The watch is equipped with a Jaeger-LeCoultre 756 automatic mechanical caliber with a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour and a power reserve of 65-hour power reserve. The comparison between the AMVOX’s "motor" to that of the new Aston Martin Vanquish is inevitable.
Okay folks, we’ve all been awaiting for this day since the moment we found out that the Aston Martin DBS was being discontinued and the Vanquish would swoop in to takes its place. Well, the wait is now over, as we were at its Miami Auto Show unveiling and got plenty of images to pass onto you.
When Aston Martin pulled the sheet back on the tangible version of the Vanquish, we were amazed by a stunning light blue color that wouldn’t quite look right on any other model. The computer generated images and the spy shots that we all saw just didn’t quite do this beauty the justice it deserves. Its silk roofline, highlighted by a black-tinted roof gives the air a rather scenic route on its way over the top of this sexy Aston.
One of the most stunning parts of this new model is by far the fender heat extractors. These are pretty much standard on every Aston Martin, but these ones are a little different. On the Vanquish, Aston stretched the chrome strikethrough on the center of the extractors back the forward most end of the door, then a raised bodyline almost creates an extension to the end of the chrome strikethrough. Truthfully, the images do it so much more justice than we could ever put into words.
Don’t let our obsession with the heat extractors take away from the rest of the Vanquish’s stunning body. Its hood features a pair of ridges that start near the center of the hood and shoot outward as you approach the shallow-raked windscreen. Underneath this sharp hood lies the beast that makes this car a true Aston Martin, and that is its 565-horsepower, 6.0-liter V-12 engine that is also good for 457 pound-feet of twist. Unfortunately, Aston Martin didn’t crank this beast up for us, but we’ll hear it in due time. Full story
With premium automakers like Bentley, Porsche, Land Rover, and Lamborghini all being snatched up by more mainstream automakers, like Volkswagen and, dare we say, Tata, it is pretty obvious that it’s tough going for independent, niche automakers. Even Ferrari, which is doing extremely well so far in 2012, has a parent company in Fiat S.p.A.
Aston Martin is one of the few niche automakers that is almost going it alone, as Ford only holds a 15-percent share in the premium sports car company and the rest is shared between privateer David Richards, and Kuwaiti investment firms Investment Dar and Adeem Investment Co. Of those three, Investment Dar owns the majority of the company, which sits at 68 percent.
According to reports from Bloomberg Businessweek, Investment Dar is searching for a new home for Aston, but having a rough time selling the brand. It is trying to sell its share of the company for the same $800 million that it bought the company for just five years ago. One possible buyer is Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., the current owner of SsanYong, but it appears as if Mahindra is not in the market to blow that kind of cash on the British automaker.
Another potential suitor, which is a bit of a surprise, is Toyota. The Japanese automaker actually went as far as to hire an outside auditor to do a week-long survey on the possibility of buying Aston Martin. From the looks of things, that audit didn’t turn out too well, as that happened two months ago and there is still no movement by Toyota.
As expected, Toyota and Mahindra declined to comment on the situation, and Investment Dar outright denied the claims that Aston is up for sale. Regardless of denials and lack of confirmation, the debt that Aston Martin has accumulated – about 1.37 billion dinars ($4.9 billion at the current exchange rates) – via an Islamic bond needs to be paid off and selling the company may be the only option.
Short of that, we may see Aston Martin go the way of the dodo bird…
We would have really loved seeing the faces of everyone after reading the title. We certainly wouldn’t blame anyone for being as shocked and dumbfounded as we were when we discovered Aston Martin’s intentions with their city car.
Sources say that Aston Martin has completed studies based on the possibility and feasibility of a V12 engine being fitted to the - wait for it - Cygnet, without extensive modifications. How is it possible? The car is only the size of a shoe with a tiny 1.3 liter 4-cylinder engine that develops 98bhp. Now imagine putting Aston Martin’s very own 6.0L V12 engine that produces at least 510bhp on a car that weighs 988kg. If our calculations are correct, the power to weight ratio of this car will not only put its bigger brothers to dismal shame, but most of the hypercars that we all enjoy drooling at as well. In layman’s terms, it’s a recipe for disaster.
Aston Martin says it will carry out significant upgrades for the Cygnet to handle the immense weight, horsepower, and torque. What kind of upgrades? How about multiple spoilers all over the car just to keep it planted on the ground.
If the project receives a green light from the board, it will enter a new segment called over-powered city cars that also includes the Nissan Juke-R.
That being said, Aston Martin will go ahead with the project only if there is sufficient customer demand. So, people who want to break records or experience crazy, visit your nearest Aston Martin Showroom and inquire about this project.
Do you think this is an upgrade that the Cygnet deserves or does it have disaster written all over? Let us know in the comments.
Quality and safety took a hit this week as a number of vehicles are headed back to the dealer for some much needed repairs. It started with 432 units of the 2013 SL-Class recalled due to an air-conditioner refrigerant line before the Toyota whammy of 7.4 million units recalled because of a potential malfunction with the power window systems.
Today, the recall affects a total of 169 Aston Martin V12 Vantage coupe models produced between 2010 and 2012. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, those models have failed to conform to the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 138, "Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems." "On these vehicles, the low tire pressure warning light will not illuminate until the tire pressure in the front tires is more than 25% below the recommended cold tire pressure." Under certain situations, this problem could lead to tire failure and a possible crash.
From the 169 units, only 148 were delivered to customers, while the other 21 units are being put on hold until the problem is solved. The owners who have received their models are being asked to take their vehicles to the nearest dealer where their car will have the software for the tire pressure monitoring system reprogrammed free of charge.