The word Valhalla is rooted in ancient mythology, but Aston Martin’s interpretation of it has just moved closer to reality. Only 999 examples of this new mid-engined supercar will be made, during a closely observed two-year production window that begins in 2023. It’s part of CEO Tobias Moers’ Project Horizon transformation plan, which aims to maximise on the relationship with the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team while also streamlining the business for maximum fitness for purpose. “F1 underpins this brand now,” Moers says. “And we have a performance culture inspired by the sport.”
Valhalla is also the company’s first plug-in hybrid model and the concept, which might seem alien to the normally aspirated faithful or long-term marque aficionado, makes a lot of sense when you explore the car’s specification. The Valhalla will run a 4.0-litre twin turbocharged V8. It uses a flat-plane crank, features a lightweight, hi-tech exhaust system and has a power output of 740bhp. So far, so good. Better than good, in fact, because we’re talking about one of the greatest contemporary internal combustion engines in the world.
But such a thing on its own is no longer enough, and the Valhalla also gains a pair of electric motors to boost both efficiency and performance. One is fitted on the rear axle, just behind the mid-mounted V8, while the other is located on the front axle. In tandem with the combustion engine, the Valhalla produces a total of 937bhp, which promises to translate to a zero to 62mph time of 2.5 seconds and a top speed of 217mph — true hypercar numbers.
More prosaically, but no less significant, is the Valhalla’s ability to travel for around eight miles using the energy produced by its front e-motor, up to a speed of 80mph. An all-new eight-speed dual clutch transmission
is in development too, and it will do without a conventional reverse gear: the Valhalla only goes backwards in electric mode.
Before the arrival of Moers in 2020, Aston Martin was developing an all-new V6 hybrid. Following the CEO’s appointment, however, the decision was made to pause the project and refocus. As Head of Powertrain Engineering Ralph Illenberger explains, this was more than just fiscal pragmatism, and the AMG V8 cannot simply be dropped into the Valhalla: this is a bespoke engine in a unique and technologically advanced installation. The modifications needed to integrate a battery, two electric motors and an inverter, not to mention all the necessary software, will keep him and his team busy for the next 18 months.
“If you have something that you already know is good, it makes sense to try to improve it rather than doing something from scratch,” Illenberger says. “The question now is how to modify the engine to make it work for this car. There are different requirements because it’s a very complicated hybrid powertrain. There will be three power sources to control, so it helps if we’re in a position in which we can really optimise the engine. Ultimately, we decided to invest more in electrification.”
While the new car shares its name and configuration with 2019’s Geneva Motor Show concept, it has been substantially redesigned. There are more lissom curves over the front wheel arches and it’s more dramatic viewed from the rear three-quarters. The air scoop above the roof and exhaust exit are as emotive design features as have ever appeared on an Aston Martin, and the forward-hinged dihedral doors deliver yet more spectacle for the marque’s newly imagined mid-engined aesthetic.
Valhalla also remains hugely aerodynamically efficient, deploying similar solutions to the Aston Martin Valkyrie in the pursuit of maximum — and useable — downforce. The sculpted exterior hustles air away from the high-pressure area around the front wheel arch and channels it into the engine compartment, and there’s an active front splitter and rear wing
We’re talking about one of the greatest contemporary internal combustion engines in the world
The rear diffuser is now fully production-ready. What you can’t see are the dramatic under-body Venturi tubes. As ever with a car this remarkable, marrying extreme aero-efficiency with a beautiful form language is one of the great challenges. The net result, says Aston Martin, is 600kg of downforce at 150mph — vital for those record-breaking Ring runs…
“Every millimetre has been altered,” Aston Martin’s EVP and Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman says. “It has more muscularity and greater presence. I also think the addition of the Aston Martin grille at the front enhances its personality. The relationship to the Valkyrie remains apparent but the execution has evolved considerably in order for the car to make production.”
Be in no doubt, though, that this is an Aston Martin with a performance envelope not too far adrift from that of its spine-tingling “father”. Its pushrod front and multi-link rear suspension point to a track-orientated dynamism, while its springs and dampers have been mounted in-board to reduce unsprung weight. The carbon-fibre chassis promotes phenomenal structural rigidity while also reducing weight. Overall, the Valhalla tips the scales at 1550kg; remember that this car is equipped with two e-motors and a 150kW battery pack. This all adds up to an Aston Martin of unprecedented bandwidth, which could well be its signature accomplishment.
This story is an extract from an article featured in the AM49 issue of Aston Martin magazine, out now. If you're not already a subscriber, visit magazine.astonmartin.com/magazine-subscription so that you can read the full story.