At the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, Aston Martin showcased a trio of mid-engined offerings for the future. We were mildly familiar with the Valkyrie as the no-compromise aero-centric racecar with a number plate and screaming V12. The supercar concept alongside it was called the AM-RB 003, meant to be a more civilised version of the Valkyrie, and the smallest one was called the Vision Vanquish. Internally referred to as the ‘Son of Valkyrie’ and later dubbed as the Valhalla, it was supposed to get a new Aston-made turbocharged V6 for its hybrid powertrain.
Unfortunately, the company was in serious financial trouble at the time, and many of the fancy projects had to be sidelined. It was bailed out by billionaire Lance Stroll at the start of 2020 who subsequently introduced new management as well. These changes included the appointment of ex-AMG boss Tobias Moers, and now Aston Martin is looking to rebuild itself. The Valhalla project seemed like it was shut down until recently. While the close-to-production Valkyrie was grabbing headlines at the 2021 Goodwood Festival of Speed, Aston Martin brought along a big secret that has now been announced to the world: the Valhalla is alive. It’s undergone a lot of changes, but this one is very close to production.
In some ways, this is the Aston Martin Valhalla 2.0. It has a host of improvements to make it a more feasible and more attractive offering. We’ll be referring to the 2019 concept as the AM-RB 003, and only the new car will be called the Valhalla from hereon.
While the design changes are obvious, let’s start with the more significant changes under Valhalla’s carbon fibre skin. The idea of the Aston Martin turbo-charged V6 has been dumped for something more established, more German. It now has the AMG-built 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, but this is the flat-plane one that features in the AMG GT Black Series. In the Valhalla, it’ll be tuned to an output of 740bhp but Aston Martin will do some of its own engine mapping to dictate its characteristics. This supercar is still a hybrid and has two electric motors: one on each axle. The total performance available from the Aston Martin Valhalla stands at an impressive 937bhp and 1,000Nm. This hybrid powerplant is mated to a bespoke 8-speed DCT featuring e-reverse (uses the motors instead of a reverse gear for the engine to save weight) and an E-Diff on the rear axle. The DCT is pretty clever and will run different gears simultaneously between the motors and the engine for peak performance.
Aston’s design team had to extend some of the proportions of the Valhalla over the 003 to make room for the new powertrain. The styling changes incorporate the lessons learnt in aerodynamics from the Valkyrie and also make it more recognisable as an Aston Martin by design. The new horizontally-slatted grille is the most familiar design element among others. It also has the S-curves at the front end and the side strakes behind the front wheels.
Much of the Valhalla is still dictated by aerodynamics built into the bodywork, so it does not depend on appendages like massive wings. It still has the large rear diffuser with venturi tunnels and an extended chin spoiler too. The rear spoiler is a simple yet effective design with active aero elements for better stability in a variety of driving situations. There are numerous vents, intakes, cutaways, and shapes that control the direction of turbulent air that can be seen on the Valhalla’s front, rear and sides. The safe estimate is that this car can generate up to 600kg of downforce at 255kph.
At the core of the Valhalla is a new carbon fibre tub. It also gets F1-style push-rod front suspension, multilink rear suspension and a Multimatic system for adjustable ride heights. Like the Ford GT, it will drop down and get extremely close to the ground in Track mode for maximum downforce. This setup also allows it a front nose lift for getting this supercar over bumps and ramps. The target dry weight for the Valhalla is set at 1,550kg hence the extensive detail to packaging and generous use of carbon fibre.
All the above-mentioned elements of the Valhalla, the powertrain, design and build, combine to make a very capable machine. Aston Martin’s claimed performance figures include a 0-100kph time of 2.5 seconds and a top speed of 330kph. Perhaps the most impressive performance stat from the company is the Valhalla’s target for a 6min30sec lap time at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. That would make it the fastest road car to lap that track ever and a good bit quicker than the current record holder, the Porsche 911 GT2 RS with the Manthey Performance Kit. Aston Martin will continue the dynamic development of the Valhalla based on inputs from the brand’s F1 team as well.
Some of the other design elements worth mentioning include the roof scoop with three channels to feed air to the engine. The rear deck is low and wide with the centrally located top-exit tailpipes that seem to be facing straight up and add to the car’s visual drama. It also has pretty details like the dihedral doors and the vents that extend from the windows to the tail end. The compact headlight design of the 003 has also been replaced by something more practical, and they look good too.
Aston Martin hasn’t shown the interior yet but it will get bespoke controls. It will likely be not as minimalist as the cabin of the AM-RB 003 concept but remains driver focussed. It will also offer modern comforts such as dual-zone climate control, ADAS features and an optional 360-degree camera. The PHEV powertrain also has a pure-EV driving mode with a rather disappointing range of just 15km.
In many ways, the Valhalla is not as extreme as the concept that previewed it and that’s a good thing. It now stands out on its own while its inspirations from other Astons are hard to miss, including those beautiful taillights. Since this model is 95% production-ready, don’t expect many big changes between now and the final model that is slated to begin production in 2023. The design of the Valhalla is truly stunning and could be another feather in the cap for the iconic British marquee.
The AM-RB 003 was meant to be a million-pound supercar limited to 500 units. The Valhalla will be Aston Martin’s first series-production mid-engine offering and will be relatively more affordable with prices starting around £600,000. It’ll still be significantly pricier than its closest rival, the Ferrari SF90 Stradale, but with more character in terms of design and the story behind it.
What do you make of the new Aston Martin Valhalla? Do you like it more or less than the AM-RB 003 concept? Would you pick it over an SF90? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to the Auto Loons for more cool updates from the car world.
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