As­ton on track

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Prestige -

A COL­LI­SION be­tween the out­ra­geous track-only Vul­can and the lim­ited-edi­tion DB10 will ig­nite As­ton Martin’s fu­ture.

And For­mula One is also call­ing.

The Bri­tish brand has its all­new DB11 ready for un­veil­ing in March, quite likely with a tur­bocharged AMG V8 un­der the bon­net, while grand prix teams have been call­ing in the hope that an As­ton badge can bring Mercedes-Benz F1 power.

As­ton is the new dar­ling of the pres­tige world as it pre­pares a prod­uct of­fen­sive that will de­liver at least one new car ev­ery year from 2016, in­clud­ing an over­due SUV — based on the DBX con­cept, com­ing in 2019 — and po­ten­tially a ful­ly­elec­tric flag­ship.

“We have an ex­cit­ing fu­ture. It is one of the most amaz­ing pe­ri­ods in the history of As­ton Martin,” the com­pany’s chief de­signer and cre­ative di­rec­tor, Marek Re­ich­man, says at this week’s Dubai mo­tor show.

“What Vul­can and D10 do is show a di­rec­tion for our sorts of cars. They are more about the sheer driv­ing dy­namic. So Vul­can and DB10 show a hint of what’s to come. We have a cross­over in our sec­ond cen­tury plan and an all-new DB11. Ev­ery year there’ll be some­thing that reignites the flame.”

As­ton is coy about any For­mula One con­nec­tion, af­ter rul­ing out a deal ear­lier this year, but com­pany in­sid­ers ad­mit there have been calls from a num­ber of teams in­clud­ing Force In­dia.

“We’ve had all sorts of ap­proaches,” ad­mits As­ton spokesman Si­mon Sproule.

“But any­thing con­cern­ing For­mula One is just spec­u­la­tion. And we do not com­ment on spec­u­la­tion.”

As­ton is at Dubai to show­case the DB10 that stars in the lat­est James Bond movie, Spec­tre, al­though all 10 copies have been sold. There are still a couple of Vul­cans with­out own­ers, but those are $2 mil­lion cars that can never be used on the road. Both are projects con­ceived un­der new As­ton boss, Andy Palmer, to bridge the gap to the DB11 and the cars that fol­low. But it’s the prod­uct plan, and link to Mercedes-AMG that will pro­vide en­gines and other tech­nol­ogy, which is the real deal.

“Part of the rea­son to do this is a new CEO with a sec­ond cen­tury plan for As­ton Martin, new in­vest­ment for the plan, and then Mercedes,” Re­ich­man says.

“Now we have the best of big broth­ers. They are with us, but they don’t own us. We have our own des­tiny and own choices.”

He will not be drawn on de­sign specifics, but does ad­mit the new gen­er­a­tion of As­tons will move away from the cur­rent cookie-cut­ter pack­age.

He laughs when he says he plans a line-up where even his mother “can see the dif­fer­ence im­me­di­ately” be­tween the var­i­ous cars in the range.

“Vul­can and DB10 hint, but the DB11 is com­pletely dif­fer­ent be­cause it’s our true GT car. It has a very proud face. “It’s the car for a long drive.” “We’ve es­tab­lished a strong DNA.

“We’ve had that in­stant ‘wow’, now it’s about dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion stretch and pull the DNA. The plan is to get even greater dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion.”

Paul Gover

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