Aston Martin will hit the ground running with its transition to electrification later this year when it unveils the production-ready Valhalla supercar, which will serve as a halo model for a new range of hybrid versions of the firm’s current models, as well as all-new fully electric cars.
The Valhalla is due to enter production in 2023. Revealed in concept form at the 2019 Geneva motor show, it was set to be the first model to use Aston’s bespoke ‘TM01’ hybridised 3.0-litre V6, before the set-up was to be rolled out across the line-up. However, development of that powertrain has now been put on ice in light of Aston’s strengthened ties to 20% stakeholder Mercedes-Benz, which will supply components at a “reasonable cost” to the British brand.
The mid-engined two-seater is now being substantially revised ahead of its 2023 launch date and will be shown again in its new form in the coming months. Aston has not revealed how many orders it has taken, but it has confirmed that “a chunk” of its deposit balance at the end of 2020 came from Valhalla customers.
The new supercar will still be a hybrid, but with CEO Tobias Moers keen to leverage the accessibility of components and drivetrains supplied by partner firm Mercedes-Benz, the V6 is now set to make way for an AMG power unit.
The most likely candidate is the electrified 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 shortly to make its debut in the Mercedes-AMG GT73 4Matic 4-Door Coupé. It’s not yet clear whether the packaging constraints of the mid-engined two-seater’s bodywork will allow for the fitment of AMG’s 201bhp electric motor on the rear axle, as will be the case with the German marque’s performance hybrids, but the combustion element will remain mid-mounted. Outright power is expected to approach the 1000bhp mark, in line with the Valhalla’s billing as a rival to the Ferrari SF90 and McLaren Speedtail.
By 2030, 90% of Aston Martin’s model line-up will be electrified, with limited production of pure-combustion engines continuing to serve the enthusiast sector and several overseas markets where such powertrains can still be sold.
The firm’s electrification efforts will kick off towards the end of 2021, with the unveiling of a new hybrid version of the DBX SUV. Autocar understands it is set to use a powertrain taken from the Mercedes-AMG portfolio. The most likely choice is the E53’s mild-hybrid straight six, which, if used in its current form, would endow Aston’s first electrified production car with 429bhp and 384lb ft – with the electric drive motor called on under hard acceleration to provide a torque boost of 184lb ft.
So equipped, the DBX hybrid should come close to offering performance comparable to that of the combustion-only car, with a sub-5.0sec 0-62mph time and a 155mph restricted top speed, but with official CO2 emissions brought down from 323g/km to below 250g/km and MPG boosted to the high-20s.
Aston Martin will continue with plans to revive the long-dormant Lagonda name and is set to take the fight to Rolls-Royce with a family of ultra-luxurious stand-alone models from 2022 or 2023.
Plans to spin the nameplate off as a dedicated luxury EV sub-brand were originally due to come to fruition in 2021 with the launch of a new luxury saloon and SUV, based on the Vision concept and All-Terrain concepts respectively. It is not yet clear whether production versions of these cars will be the first Lagonda models to arrive, but the concepts’ defining characteristics – rakish side profile, styling influence from 2015’s limited-run Taraf saloon and advanced autonomous capabilities – can be expected to remain hallmarks of the Lagonda line-up.
Autocar understands that Lagonda branding will also be used for top-end versions of Aston-badged cars, similar to Maybach versions of the Mercedes S-Class and GLS. The first such model is expected to be a long-wheelbase DBX, pitched as a sporty answer to the Bentley Bentayga, but with heightened luxury appeal to go up against the pricier Rolls-Royce Cullinan.