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Aston Martin debuts mid-ship Valhalla

Production Aston Martin Valhalla revealed with 699kW plug-in hybrid V8, here in 2023

19 Jul 2021

FROM a 2019 Geneva motor show concept to finished production version slated for delivery in 2023, the Aston Martin Valhalla mid-engined supercar has gained two cylinders while dropping the expected asking price by more than half a million dollars.


Local pricing has not yet been announced and Aston Martin has declined to comment on whether any Australians have put their names on the list for the brand’s first series-produced mid-engined car.


With a 552kW turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 at its heart and two electric motors bringing the total output to 699kW, Aston Martin is targeting a Nurburgring lap time of 6:30 seconds for the Valhalla, blitzing the production car record of 6:45.90 seconds currently held by the Nio EP9 electric hypercar.


Although previewed at Geneva in 2019 by the AM-RB 003 concept that was tipped as a hypercar rival to the likes of the McLaren P1 with an 800kW twin-turbo V6 hybrid drivetrain and mooted price tag in the region of £1 million ($A1.86m), the Valhalla has evolved with the supercar market.


For example, the Ferrari SF90 plug-in hybrid arrived in Australia toward the end of 2019 with a 736kW peak power output and a starting price that undercuts the Aston Martin’s original suggested figure by more than a million dollars.


Overseas reports suggest that the Valhalla will cost at least a third less than anticipated, though even at £600,000 ($A1.12m) it remains much more exotic than the Ferrari.


Aston Martin engineers are tasked with getting the Valhalla’s weight below 1550kg – the SF90 weighs 1570 kg – and will be taking plenty of inspiration from the British brand’s ultra-exclusive V12 hybrid Valkyrie flagship.


Claimed to be capable of 0-100km/h in 2.5 seconds but with projected carbon dioxide emissions of less than 200 grams per kilometre – around the same as a Toyota HiLux 4x4 – the Valhalla’s quoted 15km electric-only range is similarly juxtaposed by its 350km/h top speed.


As well as what GoAutounderstands is a modified version of the 4.0-litre bi-turbo flat-plane crank V8 from AMG’s GT Black Series, the Valhalla has a bespoke eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that saves weight by handing the role of reversing to the electric motors.


In addition, Aston Martin claims the new transmission – which will be rolled out across future models – is able to take drive from the V8 and electric motor in two different gears simultaneously, enabling a throughput of up to 1000Nm.


The electric mode drives the front wheels only and is capable of up to 130km/h, while other driving modes vary electric drive across both axles with up to 100 per cent able to be apportioned to the rear. The combined output of the two electric motors is 150kW.


Upward-exiting tailpipes ahead of the rear spoiler channel the V8’s crackle, with the sound adjusted by valves inside the lightweight exhaust system.


Firepower aside, Aston Martin says its intended outcome will be an “intimate, uncorrupted connection between driver and car”.


Beneath the skin is a carbon-fibre tub and racecar-like pushrod suspension with on-the-fly ride-height adjustment courtesy of variable-rate springs and adaptive dampers mounted inboard for reduced unsprung mass – produced by suspension specialist Multimatic, which supplied chassis components for the Aston Martin One-77 flagship of a decade ago.


Carbon-ceramic matrix brakes actuated using brake-by-wire lurk behind 20-inch front wheels and 21-inch rear rims, wrapped in Michelin tyres.


As well clearly sharing design DNA with the Valkyrie, the Valhalla inherits many of its aerodynamic smarts, as well as input from boffins at the Aston Martin F1 team, resulting in a claimed 600kg of downforce being generated at 240km/h.


Further F1 input will come from a dynamics team that has access to works race drivers Sebastian Vettel, Lance Stroll and Nico Hulkenburg, which Aston Martin says brings “added authenticity to a car which boasts such a clear connection to Aston Martin’s Grand Prix machines”.


Precise management of underbody airflow “through dramatic venturi tunnels” has left Aston Martin’s designers with more freedom over the Valhalla’s bodywork than the aerodynamic performance would suggest.


With carbon-fibre the primary material of choice, the Valhalla has a less dramatically inboard cockpit than its uncompromising Valkyrie sibling but neither does it follow the mid-engined mould of Ferrari, Lamborghini or McLaren.


There are perhaps shades of Jaguar XJ220 and Porsche 918 Spyder to the Valhalla’s form, described by the brand as “a memorable mid-engined shape that is original yet unmistakably Aston Martin”.


Aston Martin chief creative officer Marek Reichman said that compared with the 2019 concept, the production Valhalla’s design intent still shares its intended link to the Valkyrie “but the execution has evolved considerably in order to reach production of this all-new car”.


“Though the legacy of Valkyrie is clear, Valhalla is now a more mature, fully resolved piece of design,” he said.


Inside, the seat bases are fixed to the chassis and there is a raised footwell for an F1-style seating position. The pedals and steering wheel adjust to meet the driver.


Dihedral doors open almost vertically, providing a large aperture with cut-outs in the roof to ease access to the cockpit.


Dual-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration and adaptive cruise control provide daily creature comforts, with autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, a reversing camera with surround-view monitor option and adaptive full-LED matrix headlights satisfying safety requirements.


“Preserving the essence of an exceptional concept car is vital when meeting the challenge of bringing it into production,” said Aston Martin CEO Tobias Moers.


“With Valhalla not only have we stayed true to our commitment to build a world-beating supercar, but we have exceeded our original aims. 


“The result is a pure driving machine – one which exists right at the cutting edge of performance and technology yet allows the driver to feel the emotion and thrill of complete connection and control.”

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