Aston Martin, a British automaker founded in 1913, is a producer of some of the world's most elegant luxury sports cars, such as the DB5 of the 1960s and the current DB9. It has a rich and storied competition history, with drivers including the famous Carroll Shelby and Sir Stirling Moss and multiple wins at the prestigious 24 hours of Le Mans. Its cars have long been the ride of choice for those who prefer their martinis shaken, not stirred.
None of this history, however, has anything to do with the automaker's diminutive Cygnet. That's because the Cygnet is actually a Scion iQ with unique exterior styling, bespoke interior trimmings and a 333 percent price increase.
Major cosmetic changes to the Cygnet's exterior from the Scion iQ include Aston Martin's signature grille, non functional-hood and fender vents, LED-taillights, and Aston Martin contour headlights. Inside, the little Scion's interior is made fit for an Aston with altered instrument graphics, an iPod touch dock on the center console, and leather seating surfaces.
The Cygnet's powertrain represents several firsts for a modern Aston Martin. It is the first Aston Martin in more than 60 years to utilize a four cylinder engine, in this case a tiny, unrefined 1.3-liter unit producing the same 94 horsepower and 89 lb-ft. of torque as the iQ.
Sadly, the Cygnet is also the first Aston to use a continuously variable transmission, a buzzy and droning device also borrowed from the iQ that is intended to eke out every last MPG from the tiny engine. Fuel efficiency is a combined 37 MPG.
Aston Martin is quick to point out that the Cygnet is assembled by the same technicians and craftspeople that make its sports cars.
As a premium-priced microcar, the Cygnet doesn't have any true competitors. Those willing to forsake the Aston Martin nameplate in order to save over $30,000 should research the mechanically identical Scion iQ, while the similarly inexpensive and tiny smart fortwo and the slightly larger (and much sportier) MINI Cooper are also worthy of consideration