As the Gaydon company's first plug-in hybrid model, the Valhalla "heralds a new definition of Aston Martin", according to the firm. It also forms an integral part of his bold 'Project Horizon' transformation plan for the brand. Under the plan, Aston will launch "more than 10 cars" by 2024, including the Valhalla, the closely related but less potent Vanquish supercar and the ultra-exclusive V12-engined Valkyrie hypercar.
One of the biggest influences in the Valhalla’s two-year transformation from the RB-003 Geneva concept to production has been Aston’s new factory-backed F1 team, learnings from which are said to have informed almost every aspect of the car.
Notably, the Valhalla – unlike the 2019 concept – is not powered by a bespoke, Aston Martin-developed V6 as was originally planned. Instead, the Valhalla follows Aston's Aston Martin Vantage and Aston Martin DB11 coupés in adopting a powertrain supplied by technical partner Mercedes-Benz; more specifically, the AMG performance division's twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8, which revs to 7200rpm and drives the rear axle through an all-new bespoke eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which will also be used on other future Aston Martin models.
Like AMG's new GT Black Series, the Valhalla's V8 features a flat-plane crank and is said to be "the most advanced, responsive and highest-performing V8 engine ever fitted to an Aston Martin". It also breathes through a lightweight exhaust system that exits through the top of the rear deck and contains adjustable flaps that give "an authentic Aston Martin sound character".
Where the Valhalla most obviously differs, technically, from Aston's current crop of sports cars is in the adoption of a pair of electric motors, one on the rear axle just behind the mid-mounted V8 and another at the front - combining to produce 201bhp and endowing the Valhalla with more than 1000bhp - making it well placed to take on the similarly conceived Ferrari SF90 Stradale, its closest rival. Aston reckons this is sufficient for a 0-62mph time of 2.5sec, a top speed of 217mph and, crucially, a targeted record-breaking Nürburgring lap time of 6min 30sec.
Like the SF90, the Valhalla uses only its front electric motor to drive in pure EV mode, which it can do for eight miles and at speeds of up to 80mph, but in normal driving situations, electric power is split across both axles as needed to supplement the V8's output. It reverses exclusively in electric mode, too, saving weight by negating the need for a conventional reverse gear in the eight-speed DCT, which has been fitted with an electronic limited-slip differential to improve traction and agility and can offer up two gears at once to allow the EV and combustion motors to operate in tandem.
Housing the all-new powertrain is a bespoke carbonfibre tub that gives "maximum stiffness with minimum weight penalty". A targeted dry weight of 1550kg will give the Valhalla "an unrivalled power-to-weight ratio compared to its class rivals", said Aston Martin, while aerodynamic-enhancing bodywork elements – including huge venturi channels underneath and an active front splitter and rear wing – inspired by the Valkryie's F1-style set-up are claimed to generate 600kg of downforce at 150mph.
Pushrod suspension features at the front and a multi-link set-up at the rear, with dampers and springs mounted inboard to reduce unsprung mass, The entire set-up is stiffened and “dramatically” lowered in Track mode and can be raised at low speed to clear speed bumps.
By using more subtle bodywork elements to enhance downforce, Aston Martin's designers were given freer rein for the overall silhouette, without the need for such dramatic wings, intakes and outlets as on the Valkyrie. The design is much cleaner, more overtly road-focused and extensively altered from that of the concept.
The prominent roof scoop, forward-hinged dihedral doors, swooping rear deck and one-piece rear wing remain, but a completely new treatment for the front, rear and side bring the supercar into line with its more mainstream siblings.
A wraparound version of Aston's trademark grille features at the front, for example, below larger, rounder matrix LED headlights, while the rear diffuser has been heavily toned down for a more production-friendly set-up. There is a more angular-looking side skirt, too, sharper side vent designs and, obviously, wing mirrors, which were absent from the show car. The production-spec wheels, meanwhile, are 20in in diameter at the front and 21in at the rear and wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres.
Chief creative officer Marek Reichman explained how the Valhalla’s different positioning from the Valkyrie necessitated a unique design approach: “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. Though the legacy of Valkyrie is clear, Valhalla is now a more mature, fully resolved piece of design.”
Inside the Valhalla offers a “pared back cockpit design with clear, simple ergonomics unashamedly focused around the driver”, Aston says, complete with a squared steering wheel – near-identical to the Valkyrie, but without the central display. It is also more spacious and civilised than its sibling, with additions such as an infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – shown stored away in our pictures – dual-zone air conditioning, a rear-view camera and a raft of advanced driver aids strengthening its on-road credentials.
The Valhalla will now be prepared for a market launch in the second half of 2023, with Aston Martin F1 drivers Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll called upon to offer feedback on the car’s dynamic performance.
Prices and availability have yet to be confirmed, but Autocar understands the previously mooted £1 million price tag has been slashed, with the firm instead opting for a price between £600,000 and £700,000. A model limit has not been confirmed, but it is not expected to exceed 1000 units.