What would you call the 2011 Aston Martin Cygnet? Reaction varies from person to person, but Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez feels the premium city car is, among other things, a "cultural icon."
"The Cygnet is exclusive," Bez said during an Automobilwoche industry conference in Berlin, "and bears an exclusive brand name." The executive went on to refer to the little city car as "advanced, iconic, and iconoclastic."
Certainly, the latter is true -- in its 97-year history, Aston has never built nor toyed with the idea of crafting a premium microcar designed for urban commuters. Although we're not privy to David Brown's personal records, we're fairly certain the company's long-time director never once considered re-bodying a Toyota product, either.
Still, the automaker feels there's a place for the Cygnet within its lineup. As Bez noted earlier this year, the company feels its customers "need a small car for urban and city use, and want to downsize creatively without compromising intelligence, artistry, and personality." Additionally, the car also helps Aston on an emissions level. Selling 3000 of the thrifty Cygnets annually, as the company envisions, allows it to offset the average CO2 emissions produced by the remainder of its lineup, which continues to consist of high-powered sports cars.
Although the Cygnet's Toyota's roots are evident to anyone who has laid eyes upon the compact iQ, Aston does put some significant work into differentiating its microcar. Virtually every exterior body panel -- built at Aston's factory in Gayton, England, alongside DB9s and Vantages -- is bespoke, allowing the company to incorporate signature design cues into the front and rear fascias.
Unusual, perhaps, but as we noted when we saw the car in the flesh in Geneva earlier this year, it does, in fact, give the Aston a unique look. Inside, the folks at Gaydon install a rash of custom parts, designed primarily to dress up the iQ's pedestrian interior with the leather-trimmed surfaces and gussied-up switchgear most Aston owners are already familiar with.
Production of the Cygnet, which is expected to run roughly $32,000 and sold primarily to existing Aston owners, is slated to start in early 2011.