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James Bond’s new car is a plug-in hybrid—the Aston Martin Valhalla


Aston Martin has just added a new plug-in hybrid to its lineup. It’s one that can tackle the Nürburgring as well as the Low Emission Zone, though it’s probably more at home at the track; this is no city car like the Cygnet, nor the much-needed plug-in version of the DBX SUV (due in 2024). Instead, the boffins from Warwickshire have brought forth a mid-engined supercar with a V8 and two electric motors, a carbon-fiber chassis, more than a 1,300lbs of downforce, and a total power output of 937 hp. Oh, and it’s also James Bond’s new car.

At this point, you can be forgiven for having a bit of deja vu, but much has happened since we last visited Valhalla. Then, the mid-engined plug-in supercar was to be powered in part by a twin-turbo 3.0L V6. This was being designed in-house by Aston Martin, its first in-house engine design since 1968.

But later that year, Aston Martin got a new boss, Tobias Moers, who wasn’t impressed with the V6’s level of development—or lack thereof. Instead, Moers looked to a newly updated technology sharing agreement between Aston Martin and his old employer, Mercedes-AMG, which just happened to have a new performance hybrid system.

When Ars spoke to Moers earlier this year, he told us that “we’ve got to create a bespoke Aston drivability. It makes no sense to just copy-paste AMG. It should be bespoke, because Aston is a different brand. We can use that toolbox, and we can create a more bespoke Aston Martin engine out of them.”

The Valhalla’s outrageously styled shape has been influenced to a large degree by the wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics server farms of Formula 1. In the past, Aston Martin made mention of the Valhalla’s link to legendary F1 aerodynamicist Adrian Newey, but now Aston Martin has its own F1 team and so this potentially embarrassing collaboration with the chief designer of a rival team (Red Bull Racing) is mentioned no more.

What Aston Martin does highlight is the fact that the shape produces up to 1,322 lbs (600 kg) of downforce at 150 mph (241km/h), and the fact that it has an F1-style driving position, which means your feet are going to be higher up than your hips once you’re ensconced in there.

The Valhalla’s new powertrain combines an electric motor at each axle with a twin-turbo V8 and eight-speed dual clutch transmission mounted behind the cockpit. The V8 uses a flat-plane crankshaft and revs to 7,200 rpm, and generates 737 hp (550 kW). The electric drive motor units are each capable of up to 201 hp (150 kW), although not at the same time—the 400 V lithium-ion traction battery is only capable of outputting 201 hp, so total output is 937 hp (700 kW) and 738 lb-ft (1,000 Nm).

However, that means that the hybrid system can send all 201hp to the front axle—which it does in EV-only mode, for example. Or it can send all of that to the rear axle, although in practice the car will apportion battery power to both axles based on the road (or track) conditions and the demands of the person behind the wheel. The electric motors also eliminate the need for a reverse gear in the transmission.

The one thing I’m not quite sure about is how Bond is able to afford a Valhalla on a British civil servant’s salary. Aston Martin hasn’t revealed the exact pricing of the Valhalla, but we expect it to cost at least $1.2 million.

Listing image by Aston Martin



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