Aston Martin Cygnet – Click above for high-res image gallery

The funky little Aston Martin Cygnet, a rebadged, fancied-up version of Toyota's iQ city car, could quickly become Aston's most memorable vehicle of all time. Certainly, it won't gain that title for its design, nor will it be remembered for its blazing speed. Nope, the Cygnet will be remembered as the vehicle that allows Aston to continue producing those wonderful V12 cars that are jaw-dropping gorgeous and amazingly executed to near perfection.

Here's why we may never forget the Cygnet: The EU has finalized its guidelines for future CO2 emissions, which come into play beginning in 2012 and get progressively more stringent through 2015. Most automakers will be required to meet an average emissions target of 130 grams per kilometer. Aston Martin, due to its low sales volume, will be able to negotiate its own target with the EU. It's anticipated that the EU may agree to a reduction of 20 percent below Aston's current CO2 numbers. That's where the Cygnet, with its rating of 115 g/km, steps in. With anticipated sales of the Cygnet pegged around 1,500 units per year and the total sales of all other Aston Martin models coming in around the same number, the Cygnet could feasibly cut the company's overall CO2 emissions in half. Of course, this means that Aston would easily reach the new emissions target and could leave its other amazing products like the DB9, Vantage, Rapide and DBS untouched.

[Source: Autocar]

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