Last summer, lots of people thought it was a joke when famed British sports car maker Aston Martin said it would offer coachbuilt versions of Toyota's tiny iQ minicar, in the guise of the greenest Aston ever, the Cygnet. (A cygnet is a baby swan, by the way.)
Well, it wasn't a joke. And now Aston Martin has released more details of the available options--including a zebra-stripe pattern, even camouflage paint--on what will surely be the most expensive and most exclusive 10-foot-long "3 + 1 seater" in the world.
Aston Martin Cygnet in camouflage pattern
Aston Martin Cygnet in Aston Martin racing team colours
Aston Martin Cygnet interior
Rumors say that just 2,000 Cygnets a year will be created (i.e. a couple of days' Toyota production). It will go first to current Aston Martin owners, along with those waiting to receive cars on order.
The Cygnet will cost fromÂ Â£30,000 to Â£50,000 ($46,000 to $76,600), against more like $12,000 for the Toyota version, which offers a choice of three engines: a 1.0-liter three-cylinder, a 1.3-liter four-cylinder, and a small diesel. An all-electric version is on the way too.
But compared to the roaring V-8 and V-12 engines of "real" Astons, that's hardly the point. Rather, Aston Martin will trim a Cygnet at its UK factory in any color--or pattern--its customers request. Where paint isn't an option, the company will wrap the car as needed.
The company's online configurator offers not only a range of more-or-less predictable colors, but also the Aston Martin racing team colors and both zebra and tiger stripes. We're not even going to try to make alliterative puns about green zebras.
Aston Martin has called the Cygnet "a new luxury commuter concept" whose mission is to offer "a distinctive,Â intelligent and exclusive solution for urban travel in style and luxury."
But there's sound business method behind the madness. Gas mileage of 40 miles per gallon or more on each Cygnet significantly raises Aston Martin's corporate average mileage and cuts the (average) carbon impact of each of its cars a like amount.
CEO Ulrich Bez said last summer that the Cygnet is "akin to an exclusive tender to a luxury yacht." Translation: We'll sell you a smaller car to drive to the garage where you keep your Aston Martin DBS, DB9, or Vantage.
The Cygnet's "donor vehicle," the Toyota iQ, was presented as a Scion at the New York Auto Show this spring. Scion is known for its quirky small cars, so it makes perfect sense. It will go on sale before the end of the year.
We're still skeptical, however, that we'll ever see James Bond in an Aston Martin Cygnet.