Gaydon Sets Its Sights On Maranello With A 488 GTB Destroyer
Aston Martin isn’t messing around with its plans to develop a supercar to take on the establishmentby Kirby Garlitos, on
Aston Martin’s ambitious-turned-realistic plan of launching one car a year for the next seven years is already well-documented. In fact, next-generation models for the Vantage and Vanquish are already in the books for 2017 and 2018 releases. Pencil in a likely release for the DBX crossover in 2019 and touted arrivals of the two Lagonda models – the Lagonda One and Lagonda Two – in 2021 and 2022, respectively, and you’re looking at a (somewhat) clear roadmap for Aston Martin for the next four years. There is a question though on what 2020 will bring for the British automaker. Turns out, Aston CEO Andy Palmer has the answer: a competitor to the Ferrari 488.
Okay, so Palmer actually said “for the sake of argument” in his conversation with Auto Express regarding the company’s expansion plans for the next seven years. It’s not as emphatic of an answer as we’d like it to be, but it is as good as we’re going to get for now. Palmer did admit that once the new lineup shakes out, there is what he described as an “obvious blind spot” that can bridge the gap between the entire lineup of Aston Martin models with the obscenely incredible Valkyrie hypercar. A mid-engined supercar that can integrate itself seamlessly into the market occupied by the likes of the Ferrari 488 GTB and the McLaren 650S would not only accomplish that, but it would also give the establishment a good reason to up their own games.
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Temper those expectations... for now
I’m trying to conceal my excitement about this news, but I’m letting out an excited “finally!” with hearing this news. I’ve been tooting the mid-engine supercar horn for Aston Martin for so many years and it just never bore the kind of fruit that I could get really behind. It’s come close a number of times in the past, but with the exception of exclusive, track-focused supercars like the Vulcan and concepts like the Rapide Bertone 2+2, there hasn’t been a clean-and-clear supercar to wear the Aston Martin badge in quite some time.
Suppose it does come to that point that Aston Martin gives the green light to develop a mid-engine supercar. It should at least come with 700 horsepower. That number not only puts it in the thick of the picture alongside cars like the 488 GTB and the 650S, but it also creates a big enough separation with the 600-horsepower DB11. That gap is important because the mid-engined supercar will have the space to enter the supercar segment without any of the other Aston Martin models getting invited to that party. What’s the use of having one if, say, the supercar only has 650 horsepower or so? That’s not too big of a gap from the DB11. Needless to say, there’s going to be a lot of discussions moving forward on how best to proceed with developing a car as important as this one. Then again, it’s a good problem to have, especially these days when the name Aston Martin is getting back its shine.
Note: Aston Martin DB11 Volante pictured here.
It’s too early to take Aston Martin’s word and get excited about the prospect of seeing a mid-engined supercar.
But like I said, it’s too early to take Aston Martin’s word and get excited about the prospect of seeing a mid-engined supercar. Even Palmer himself resisted on actually confirming anything. That’s a smart move if nothing’s really set in stone yet. Hard to imagine the company puffing its chest already without any reason to. So don’t count those chickens just yet, even if it’s incredibly tempting to do so.
The thought of an Aston Martin occupying space in the supercar segment is titillating to think about though. Let’s hope then that Palmer and his fellow decision-makers over there at Gaydon are as good at living up to the hype as they are in generating it.
Read our full review on the Ferrari 488 GTB here.