Q by Aston Martin makes a 430-hp V8-powered Cygnet

Customer requests wacky city car with Vantage S engine and roll cage

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A V8-powered Aston Martin Cygnet with 430 horsepower and 361 pound-feet of torque could be the best definition of "Didn't see that coming" we've had all year. A customer requested the carmaker's customization arm, Q by Aston Martin — Commission, insert a 4.7-liter V8 from the last-gen Vantage S into the Cygnet's engine bay. The grafting job, dressed in Buckinghamshire Green, weighs 1,375 kilograms or 3,025 pounds with fluids, and posts a power-to-weight ratio of 284 hp-per-ton in U.S. parlance, 313 bhp/tonne in UK units.

Aston Martin engineers shortened the intake system to keep the Cygnet's standard hood unmolested. The motor blows out the other end through a twin, centrally-mounted exhaust at the end of very short pipes. Other components carried over from the Vantage S include the front and rear subframes, suspension, most of the braking system, and seven-speed Sportshift II transmission. Torque steer isn't an issue, because the rears do the driving via a "miniature" torque tube that runs underneath a custom tunnel. Carbon wheel arches shield 19-inch wheels shod in 275/35 Bridgestone rubber, with six-piston monoblock calipers in front, four-piston monoblocks in back.

In spite of Aston Martin calling this "The Ultimate City Car," additional modifications would indicate the owner has ultimate track plans for the V8 Cygnet. The Q department welded in a roll cage, occupants sit in fixed Recaro buckets with four-point harnesses, the driver grips a removable, Alcantara-covered steering wheel, there are leather pull straps on carbon door panels, a steel fuel tank fills the cargo area, and an FIA-compliant fire extinguisher system keeps things cool if the temperature gets too hot. Should the V8 Cygnet pretend to its city car origins, there's a Vantage instrument cluster, air conditioning, and two USB ports.

Goodwood Festival of Speed visitors will get to see how she runs up the hill. The original Cygnet, based on the Scion iQ and out of production since 2013, got from 0-60 miles per hour in about 11 seconds. The V8 Cygnet does that in 4.2, and taps out at 170 mph — 60 mph past the standard Cygnet's top speed. Aston Martin says the original Cygnet "looks set to become a future classic." That could be optimistic. The V8 Cygnet, however, just might have the chops.

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