I've seen the future of Aston Martin, and it's every bit as impractical as you might expect from a luxury car brand. The ultra-aggressive lines and massive rear wing of the all-new Vulcan make its purpose immediately obvious: this car has been designed for track use and track use only. In presenting it at the Geneva Motor Show this morning, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer described the Vulcan as the company's most extreme supercar ever.
Powered by "the most potent iteration yet" of Aston Martin's 7-liter V12 engine, the Vulcan can produce more than 800bhp. Full performance details will be disclosed when the new car makes its track debut later in the year, but we already know that its body is made primarily out of carbon fiber and that it has a better power-to-weight ratio than cars competing in the FIA’s annual World Endurance Championship.
More than just speed, Aston Martin promises the Vulcan will "deliver a genuinely bespoke driving experience." That starts with track training for new buyers, who'll get to race around in cars like the V12 Vantage S as they build up a familiarity with Aston Martin's finest. Even more enticing, this training will be conducted "on some of the world’s most famous and glamorous race circuits.”
Only 24 Vulcans will ever be produced, underlining the vehicle's exclusivity and Aston Martin's ambition to set "a whole new standard in the ultra-high luxury supercar class." At the other end of the (narrow) luxury spectrum, Aston Martin is introducing the more understated DBX concept, an electric all-wheel drive GT model that's packed full of electronic gizmos. The wing mirrors aren't mirrors, but cameras, channeling video to small displays on the inside of each door. At the center of the steering wheel resides a touchscreen. There are two arrays of solar panels at the rear. And the leather seats look like works of minimalist art.
The DBX is Aston Martin's effort to appeal to a wider demographic. Women, younger people, and anyone else who might not have previously considered by an Aston Martin — the grand old marque wants to renew and expand its customer base, and it's doing it with a futuristic approach. The exterior of the car features milled aluminum elements and a special "micro-fine layer of chrome to deliver a level of reflectivity that cannot be obtained through normal paint finishes." Seeing it in person, all I could notice was the abundance of dust that gathered quickly and obviously atop the DBX's hood. Still, it has a luxuriously spacious interior, and it shows a 102-year-old institution of the car industry on a quest to embrace future technology.
Just to avoid any confusion with the pictures below: the Vulcan is the crazy seafoam-green beast with an airplane-sized wing on its back, and the DBX is the excessively shiny silvery number that follows.