940bhp 2022 Aston Martin Valhalla Unveiled

940bhp 2022 Aston Martin Valhalla Unveiled

Hybrid hypercar targets sub 6m30s ’Ring lap, looks the goods


It hasn’t had the most straightforward of gestations, but Aston Martin has finally unveiled the signed-off exterior design of its Valhalla hypercar.

With 550kW from an AMG-sourced 4.0-litre V8 augmented by a pair of electric motors on both front and rear axles, the Valhalla is the marque’s first full production mid-engined car.

The carbon-fibre chassis is augmented by F1-style pushrod front suspension with inboard mounted variable rate springs and adaptive dampers reducing unsprung mass, aiding packaging and ensuring a sleek front end. The Valhalla is relatively light for a car with a V8 motor and the ability to drive on full electric power for 15km and at speeds of up to 130km/h, the engineers at Gaydon targeting a dry weight of less than 1550kg.

Technical highlights include Aston Martin’s first adoption of a dual-clutch gearbox, this installation featuring eight forward speeds, with e-reverse and power deployment via an e-diff. From there, a maximum torque deployment of more than 1000Nm is marshalled by bespoke staggered Michelin rubber, 20-inch up front and 21-inch hoops at the rear.

Aston Martin’s CEO Tobias Moers, has had his hands full rectifying what he perceived to be some fairly significant issues with the Valhalla’s development. Earlier this year, he told sister title CAR that “some things were fundamentally wrong.”

“We were, for instance, wasting cash on a new V6,” he noted. “It did not even comply with EU7 regulations at a point in time when it was already clear that combustion powerplants will soon be a thing of the past.”

Moers’ first task was to put the red pen through development of the V6, an inheritance from previous boss Andy Palmer’s master plan, and work on hybridising and re-engineering the twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 sourced from AMG.

He’s happy with the results. “Preserving the essence of an exceptional concept car is vital when meeting the challenge of bringing it into production. With Valhalla not only have we stayed true to our commitment to build a world-beating supercar, but we have exceeded our original aims. The result is a pure driving machine — one which exists right at the cutting edge of performance and technology yet allows the driver to feel the emotion and thrill of complete connection and control,” he said.

Closer inspection of the Valhalla reveals some intriguing technical details. Although its stance and proportioning is a little more conventional than the jaw-dropping Valkyrie flagship that we saw on track at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, there’s a real LMP look to the upright headlamp units, and utilises many of the aerodynamic tweaks learned with Valkyrie’s wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics sessions. The combination of front aero surfaces, rear wing and twin underbody venturis contribute to a 600kg downforce figure at 241km/h (150mph). Carbon ceramic brakes, a front lifter kit and a Race mode that lowers the car and firms the suspension are standard fits.

The plug-in hybrid powertrain hinges around the mid-mounted 4.0-litre internal combustion engine. This flat-plane engine revs to 7200rpm and exclusively drives the rear axle, exhaling via active butterflies through a pair of top-mounted tail pipes. The support act is a 150kW/400V battery hybrid system that sees an electric motor mounted on each axle. In pure EV mode, only the front wheels are driven, but in other modes, the torque is split between the axles and, in certain circumstances, 100 per cent of drive can be directed rearwards so the Valhalla can be front, all or rear-wheel drive depending on use-case. If that’s not clever enough for you, consider this. The electric motor and the internal-combustion engine are able to run different gears in the DCT at the same time, which enables that heady torque figure of over 1000Nm.

Moers claims that the Valhalla will reach a top speed of 330km/h and will complete the sprint from (0-62mph) 0-100km/h in 2.5 seconds, which is acceptably brisk. Aston Martin is also targeting a 6m30s Nürburgring Nordschleife lap time, which isn’t so far away from Stefan Bellof’s record that was once thought likely to live in perpetuity. Fortunately, form has followed function relatively harmoniously. The upper body is relatively uncluttered, the largely carbon-fibre bodywork sweeping via a roof scoop to a dramatic rear.

Pop open the dihedral doors and the relatively simple cabin features a touchscreen display that mirrors both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The high-mounted pedals and steering column are both adjustable, but the seat base is fixed, offering a dramatic WEC-style driving position. Both right and left-hand-drive versions will be offered ex-factory.

Despite the pared-back feel to the cockpit, the Valhalla’s no stripped out racer. It features a set of LED adaptive matrix headlights with high-beam assist dual-zone air-conditioning and an extensive suite of driver safety functions including Auto Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Warning, Active Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring and a rear parking camera with surround view option.

Aston Martin’s Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman found the company in the position of launching a car inspired by another that was yet to land with buyers. It wasn’t a straightforward proposition. “When we created the Valhalla concept we were keen to emphasise the design legacy of the Aston Martin Valkyrie and that intent remains unchanged, but the execution has evolved considerably in order to reach production of this all-new car,” he said. “Though the legacy of Valkyrie is clear, Valhalla is now a more mature, fully resolved piece of design.”

With vehicle attribute development headed up by the esteemed Matt Becker, the Valhalla will also benefit from dynamic input from F1 jockeys Sebastian Vettel, Lance Stroll and Nico Hulkenberg. There’s still a lot of work to be done in finessing the Valhalla before first deliveries to owners are scheduled in 2023, but first impressions are, well, quite stunning indeed.

RIGHT Styling’s dazzling but aside from cooling equipment up front, there is luggage stowage space under the front clamshell, with more stowage inside and storage for the charging cable

RIGHT Styling’s dazzling but aside from cooling equipment up front, there is luggage stowage space under the front clamshell, with more stowage inside and storage for the charging cable

MOERS’ FIRST TASK WAS TO PUT THE RED PEN THROUGH DEVELOPMENT OF ASTON’S OWN V6 PROJECT

HARNESSING THE BULLDOG SPIRIT

While the Valhalla will be Aston Martin’s first production mid-engined car, the company has built a rather famous predecessor. The gull-winged Bulldog, designed to be the world’s fastest production car, was unveiled to an astonished public in 1979.

Styled by William Towns, the Bulldog featured a mid-mounted 5.3-litre V8 to which two Garrett turbochargers were bolted. Aston Martin claimed a theoretical top speed of 381km/h for the 485kW+ Bulldog, despite the car ‘only’ achieving a V-max of 307km/h in testing at the MIRA proving ground. Unfortunately, costs spiralled out of control and the planned 15-20 car build run was cancelled when boss Victor Gauntlett took over in 1981 and promptly cancelled the project with just one car built. After bouncing round the Middle East and the US, it’s back in the UK now and, until the Valhalla officially launches, it’s still the sole road-registered mid-engined Aston in existence.

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Power is deployed via a Graziano-developed 8-speed DCT ‘box

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John Simister John Simister 2 months ago #

Nice car

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