Aston Martin has chosen this year’s Geneva motor show to make a trio of global debuts that include the first glimpse of the Vanquish Vision Concept.
Previewing the British luxury brand’s first series production mid-engined supercar, the show car hints at the design language of what is arguably the marque’s most ambitious model, taking centre stage in Geneva today alongside the AM-RB 003 and Lagonda All-Terrain concept cars.
The production version of the Vanquish Vision Concept is also set to feature a version of Aston Martin’s new twin-turbo V6 – the engine that will make its debut in the AM-RB 003 in hybrid turbo form.
Additionally, in a departure from the Valkyrie and AM-RB 003’s all-carbon-fibre construction, the Vanquish Vision Concept features a bespoke bonded aluminium chassis, developed under the guidance of mid-engined specialist and current Aston Martin technical boss, Max Szwaj.
The AM-RB 003 design study, meanwhile, which was previously known as Project 003, is the second Aston Martin to be co-developed with Red Bull Advanced Technologies. It follows the Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro track car as the third hypercar in the company’s mid-engined story.
According to Miles Nurnberger, Aston Martin’s design boss, while the AM-RB 003 concept is heavily influenced by the Valkyrie, it is very much its own car.
“We were quite deliberate in AM-RB 003 to not disguise its lineage, but we were equally emphatic that it would be a distillation of Aston Martin Valkyrie and not a dilution. The design isn’t as extreme in some areas, but it pushes just as hard in others, and is even taking certain ideas and concepts a step further. That’s a natural function of design evolution, but also testament to just how great an influence working with Red Bull Advanced Technologies on Aston Martin Valkyrie has had on our approach to everything that’s come since,” he explains.
Sharing the same fundamental styling and aerodynamic philosophy with the Valkyrie, the AM-RB 003 features a pronounced front keel and large rear diffuser, with the underfloor generating the bulk of the downforce.
The AM-RB 003 also benefits from next-generation “aircraft morphing” technology, to create a variable airfoil across the entirety of the rear wing.
Dubbed “FlexFoil”, the system allows for the car’s downforce to be changed without changing the physical angle of the entire element, resulting in improved efficiency and reduced wind noise. Turbulence and the associated drag increase found in current “state of the art” active wing designs is claimed to be virtually eliminated as well.
The new technology is said to have even been validated by NASA through performance and acoustic flight testing, and Aston Martin is claiming itself to be the first in the entire car industry to implement it.
One of the biggest differences between the Valkyrie and AM-RB 003 is the size of the cabin, with the latter undergoing a number of changes for the sake of everyday usability and comfort.
Revisions include the introduction of LMP1-style doors, which open forwards taking a section of roof with them to facilitate easier ingress and egress. To create more space between driver and passenger the centre console has been widened, while luggage space is provided via a terrace behind the seats. There will also be stowage areas for oddments such as a wallet or mobile phone.
Aston Martin’s designers have also resorted to using 3D printing methods in order to help reduce weight inside the cabin. For example, the 3D printed centre console is a part that removes 50 per cent of the mass, while having integrated functional switches.
On from the AM-RB 003, the all-electric Lagonda All-Terrain concept follows in the footsteps of last year’s saloon-bodied Vision Concept design study.
While the latter is said to have taken some of its inspiration from Concorde, the former is claimed to have taken some of its initial design language from the world of the super yacht, with forms and shapes “that look like they have been created by the huge, planetary forces of gravity fields”, according to the designers.
Thanks to a large proportion of the vehicle’s stiffness coming from the floor where the batteries are stored, the designers have once again been able to fit rear-hinged back doors.
The interior of the SUV also develops many of the design elements first seen in the Vision Concept, but while that possessed a rear-seat-biased limousine atmosphere, the Lagonda All-Terrain concept has a more even-handed ambiance spread between all four seats. So, while there is still the option of rotating the two front seats to face the rear two during autonomous operation, there is a greater expectation that the vehicle will be controlled by the driver during the journeys that it will undertake.
“We imagined that the owner would be a sort of pioneering yet environmentally conscious person,” says Aston Martin EVP and chief creative officer, Marek Reichman. “They may well have a luxury villa in a remote place that acts as their sanctuary. As such, the Lagonda brand is unconstrained by the traditional values of current luxury products, it is not about wood and leather, we tried to design the interior to feel very calm and quiet with soft, natural materials like Cashmere. Lagonda reflects a future that is full of unique materials that are not set in the past.”
The All-Terrain concept has already been confirmed for production in 2022 at a new Aston Martin production facility in St Athan, Wales.