Geneva: The Uber-British Are Coming! (Aston Martin One-77)



In a world of mundane, eco-themed people transporting devices, Aston Martin is one of the shining hedonistic stars. Their board of automotive fare ranges from the merely lovely to that which makes James Bond show up to work every day. However, Aston Martin is about to render their otherwise exceptional motorcars to the mundane end of their rarified spectrum. How can this be?

Because this week at the Geneva Auto Show Aston Martin has debuted the details of genuinely shocking One-77. While a life-size mockup was displayed at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, Aston Martin is now showing only the artistic chassis of production car number one.

In the world of the wealthy, there is hand-crafted and there is bespoke. Hand-crafted means that some amount of human intervention went into your item, such as a knit cap or a bowl of soup. Hand-crafted is very nice but seems like mere marketing mumbo-jumbo compared to bespoke. Bespoke, quite simply, means that something was made for you to your exact specifications.

Aston Martin is offering something in between, a personalization programme on par with Ferrari and Lamborghini. What will Aston Martin customize on your One-77? Most of the car, actually, from the gearbox and suspension settings to the fiddly color bits on the dashboard. The driver and passenger seats can be custom-fit to your bottom and that of your favorite copilot. One wonders if there is an exchange program should your primary passenger be replaced.

Forward motivation for said occupants comes from the ultimate expression of the company’s 6.0L V12. Punched out to 7.3L and spitting out 700hp, this behemoth has actually been put on a diet: mass has been reduced in both the engine (10%) and the overall driveline (25%). You can thank Cosworth, Aston Martin’s engineering partner, for the lightening effect.

The middle man in the motivation department is a new six-speed transmission controlled by column-mounted paddles. No matter how you control it, however, the gearbox is an automatic at heart. There is no word yet on a proper, three-pedal manual transmission. Hauling all this ferocity down are four enormous carbon-ceramic brakes.

The One-77 oozes technology fitting its showcase moniker. The tub is a carbon fibre monocoque jointly developed with Multimatic (MTC), one of the world leaders in carbon composite technology. The suspension uses double wishbones with horizontal inboard spring/damper units actuated by pushrods, just like a real racecar. The units are fully adjustable using Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve (DSSV) technology allowing the dampening rates to be changed without first removing the hard parts. Not even all racecars have that, and this is the first application on a road car.

Aesthetics are like pizza and Chinese food; very personal. The hand-crafted aluminum coachwork retains the current Aston Martin thematics, but the execution looks like something out of a Japanese anime cartoon. It is certainly handsome if not actually pretty. The details, however, are fascinating. Extra care has been taken in the carbon fibre tub to ensure the weave is as beautiful as it is strong. Aston Martin declares the oil reservoir to be abstract art.

There is no question on performance. The One-77 is just plain mean. Zero to one hundred kilometers per hour happens… oops, you just missed. 3.5 seconds goes by that quickly. Top speed is on the fast side of 320kph.

Cost is obviously no object to perspective clients, but to you and me the dollar load comes in at a not-insignificant 2.18 million Canadian dollars. When can you have one? Aston Martin is using the Geneva show to gauge interest in the projected production run of 77 examples.

One would imagine interest will not be a problem.
[motor authority]