British automaker makes its mark in the world of aviation

Aston Martin is ringing in the new year with its first product launch, except it’s not really an official Aston Martin creation. It’s called the ACH130 Aston Martin Edition, and it’s the first fruit in what is expected to be a long and lasting partnership between the British luxury car maker and Airbus Corporate Helicopters. Yes, the ACH130 is not a car, but, rather, a luxury private helicopter that’s been dressed from cockpit to tail rotor with all the luxury goodness that we’ve come to expect from Aston Martin.

All told, the ACH130 Aston Martin Edition comes with a range of four exterior and interior designs created specifically by Aston Martin. The ACH130 Aston Martin Edition is already available on request and deliveries are expected to start in the first quarter of 2020. No word yet on how much one costs, but be advised that a “standard” Airbus ACH130 starts at $3.3 million.

The First Fruit of a New Partnership

Take Your Love for British Luxury to the Sky with the Airbus ACH130 Aston Martin Edition
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It wasn’t that long ago — December 9, 2019, in fact — that Aston Martin and Airbus Corporate Headquarters teased the start of a new partnership that would merge the automotive and aeronautic worlds, creating a series of new products in the process.

Last month’s teaser came with the promise of the first product launching sometime in the early part of the first quarter of 2020. But even our best-laid expectations didn’t think that the launch would actually happen six days into the new year.

Not that we’re complaining.

Take Your Love for British Luxury to the Sky with the Airbus ACH130 Aston Martin Edition
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The Airbus ACH130 Aston Martin Edition is a jaw-dropper. There’s no other way to describe it.

The design is peerless in its details and Aston Martin’s involvement adds a layer of class, refinement, and luxury that only the British automaker can provide.

More importantly, if the ACH130 Aston Martin Edition is the start of a long collaboration that would give birth to more products of this ilk in the future, then sign us up for all of those. We’re ready for what’s to come. That also includes the AMB 001, the motorcycle Aston Martin co-created with Brough Superior.

The Airbus ACH130 Aston Martin Edition in Detail

Take Your Love for British Luxury to the Sky with the Airbus ACH130 Aston Martin Edition
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Where do we even begin here? I suppose we can start by saying that the overall design of the Airbus ACH130 remains unchanged.

Aston Martin had no involvement in the development of the seven-seater helicopter that’s most often used for charter operators, emergency medical services, or sightseeing services. That’s all-Airbus, all the way.

Aston Martin’s involvement revolves around jazzing up the aesthetics of the ACH130, and that’s exactly what the British automaker did when it designed and created four exterior color combinations for the chopper to go with a fully embellished interior that looks just like a typical Aston Martin interior.

Take Your Love for British Luxury to the Sky with the Airbus ACH130 Aston Martin Edition
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The ACH130 Aston Martin Edition that’s seen in the press photos wears a Stirling Green shade that ever-so-subtly fades into a Jet Black color underneath. Skyfall Silver cowlings serve as perfect accents to the specific color combination. If this particular color isn’t to your liking, you can opt for the other three available exterior color combinations, including Xenon Grey, Arizona, and Ultramarine Black. The three liveries feature unique design treatments in the vein of the Sterling Green-to-Jet Black color transition. In other words, you’re going to have a hard time picking among these four liveries. Other exterior details, at least the important ones, include a unique serial number, suffixed with Aston Martin Lagonda’s initials, on the rear cowling.

As fanciful as the chopper’s exterior is, the ACH130 Aston Martin Edition’s interior is where you’ll see Aston Martin’s influence in full bloom.

The seats, for example, are profiled to reflect the seats you’ll normally see in an Aston Martin Vanquish or DB11. They’re even dressed in some of the automaker’s go-to leather options. Care for Oxford Tan-dressed seats on your ACH130 chopper? How about Ivory leather seats or Cormorant seats? Pure Black is an option, too, should you choose to go down that path.

Take Your Love for British Luxury to the Sky with the Airbus ACH130 Aston Martin Edition
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In typical Aston Martin fashion, the ACH130 AM’s interior also comes with enough high-class details to make you not want to leave the cockpit. Brogue detailing — you can see this in the Aston Martin DB11 — decorates the strip of Pure Black ultra-suede material that runs down the center of the front seatbacks. The material is only interrupted by hand-crafted leather satchels that are affixed to the lower portions of the seats. Aston Martin’s iconic wings logo is also prominently displayed in the cockpit while a special commemorative plaque with the edition number of a particular ACH130 AM is present in the helicopter’s instrument panel.

When Aston Martin and Airbus decided to launch this partnership, not a lot of people had high expectations of what kind of products that two could come up with. Part of that is not knowing what to expect from the collaboration. But now that the first product is out, it’s safe to say that a lot of them didn’t set the bar high enough.

This bird can fly

Take Your Love for British Luxury to the Sky with the Airbus ACH130 Aston Martin Edition
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Needless to say, the Airbus ACH130 Aston Martin Edition is one fast bird.

The chopper gets its power from an Arriel 2D jet engine producing a whopping 925 shaft horsepower at take-off. The ACH130 can cruise at 134 knots — that’s 154 mph — and has enough fuel to go about four hours in the air before it needs to refuel.

The French turboshaft engine is considered one of the most popular aeronautic engines in the market so it’s no surprise that the Airbus ACH130 is equipped with one. In fact, the Arriel 2D engine, which powers most H125 and H130 helicopters, has logged more than 1 million flight hours since it was introduced in the market in 2011. It’s not necessarily new by 2020 standards, but it remains one of the most reliable helicopter engines in the market today.

You’ll need some serious dough to buy one

Take Your Love for British Luxury to the Sky with the Airbus ACH130 Aston Martin Edition
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Helicopters are not unlike exotic cars. They’re fast, awesome, and they’re more or less showcases of wealth and opulence. They’re also ridiculously expensive, and the Airbus ACH130 is no different. Granted, neither Airbus nor Aston Martin has announced pricing details for the ACH130 Aston Martin Edition, but we do know that the standard ACH130’s price tag starts at $3.3 million. Considering Aston Martin’s involvement in this special edition chopper, the price of this limited-run helicopter will probably fetch in excess of $4 million.

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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