Aston Martin has just announced the launch of a new plug-in hybrid. It’s a car that can handle both the Nürburgring and the Low Emission Zone, but it’s probably more at home on the track; this isn’t a city car like the Cygnet, nor a plug-in version of the DBX SUV, which is desperately needed (due in 2024).
Instead, the Warwickshire researchers have created a mid-engined supercar with a V8 engine and two electric motors, a carbon-fiber chassis, over 1,300 pounds of downforce, and a total power output of 937 horsepower. It’s also James Bond’s new ride.
The plug-in supercar’s mid-engine was to be powered in part by a twin-turbo 3.0 L V6 at the time. This was the first time Aston Martin has designed an engine in-house since 1968.
Tobias Moers, Aston Martin’s new CEO, wasn’t satisfied with the V6’s level of development—or lack thereof—later that year. Instead, Moers turned to a recently renewed technology sharing agreement between Aston Martin and his former company, Mercedes-AMG, which just happened to have a new high-performance hybrid system.
Earlier this year, Moers stated that “we’ve got to create a bespoke Aston drivability. It makes no sense to just copy-paste AMG. It should be bespoke, because Aston is a different brand. We can use that toolbox, and we can create a more bespoke Aston Martin engine out of them.”
The wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics server farms of Formula 1 have had a big influence on the Valhalla’s wildly designed shape. The Valhalla’s connection to famed F1 aerodynamicist Adrian Newey was previously disclosed by Aston Martin, but now that Aston Martin has its own F1 team, this potentially embarrassing relationship with the head designer of a competitor team (Red Bull Racing) is no longer mentioned.
The fact that the form produces up to 1,322 lbs (600 kg) of downforce at 150 mph (241 km/h) and that it has an F1-style driving posture, which means your feet will be higher up than your hips once you’re seated, are highlighted by Aston Martin.
The new powerplant for the Valhalla combines an electric motor at each axle with a twin-turbo V8 and an eight-speed dual clutch transmission positioned behind the cockpit. The V8 engine has a flat-plane crankshaft and produces 737 horsepower at 7,200 rpm (550 kW).
The electric drive motor units can each provide up to 201 horsepower (150 kW), but not at the same time—the 400 V lithium-ion traction battery can only produce 201 hp, thus the overall output is 937 hp (700 kW) and 738 lb-ft of torque (1,000 Nm).
However, this means the hybrid system can direct all 201 horsepower to the front axle, as it does in EV-only mode. Alternatively, it can send all of that to the rear axle, however in practice, the car would distribute battery power to both axles depending on road (or track) conditions and the demands of the driver. Electric motors also do away with the necessity for a reverse gear in the transmission.
The Valhalla’s actual price has yet to be released by Aston Martin, but we expect it to cost at least $1.2 million.