Vladimir Putin and Gerhard Schröder, Laurel and Hardy, Ulrich Bez and Akio Toyoda - the list of great male friendships goes as far as into the auto industry. The Aston Martin boss and the Toyota CEO regularly climb into the cockpit on the Nordschleife, sometimes swap their racing vehicles or talk shop over a beer in the on-piste den about cooperation plans. But whether the small car Toyota iQ is really in the ring bar or elsewhere mentally for A ston Martin Cygnet has mutated, just as little has been passed down as the assumption that the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari Cinquecento can also be a spontaneous idea between prosciutto, parmigiano and cappuccino.
Two coffee mugs on four wheels
Why do we even care about two Starbucks coffee mugs on four wheels? Only monsoon rains and later arctic cold degrade the test car garage of the editorial team to a no man's land. While super sports cars doze off in hibernation at the manufacturers' homes, the little ones can show whether they are right to bear the big name.
At first glance, the Aston Martin looks Cygnet like a bad joke by James Bond tinkerer Q: three meters long , 1.7 meters wide and 1.5 meters high - more rolling ski boots than agents' mobile. While the sideline with the choppy rear is hardly suspicious of 007, the Aston designers sharpened the front end with surgical skill. The flat Toyota snout adorns the Cygnet with a wide radiator throat with aluminum cross struts, plus slightly elongated headlights and louvers in the bonnet.
Aston Martin Cygnet as a luxury Toyota iQ
Let's get closer to the miniature luxury developed as a city car. With a horrific base price of 37,995 euros, it is as expensive as three basic iQs (from 12,050 euros). At the market launch in 2011, the three-meter cube was even sold as a limited edition for 48,995 euros. Click, where is the classic Aston Martin crystal sculpture for 700 euros, which only car grouches call clumsy ignition keys? Nothing wrong, the Cygnet key is just a rectangular plastic block the size of a matchbox.
placetake, the seating position is more Aston Martin-worthy. Not wooden high like on a milking stool, but low above the floor pan. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. The dwarf Aston cannot be distinguished from its relatives by the smell of the interior. The finest leather Alcantara perfume is in the air. No wonder, in 160 hours of manual work, the iQ was transformed into a noble small car in the Aston Martin factory at Gaydon. Except for a few unglamorous Toyota switches, the hard plastic is thrown out: In the Cygnet, a total of six leather hides nestle over the seats, instrument panel, center console, steering wheel and door panels.
For comparison: In the V8 Vantage, the Aston technicians also process six leather hides. Leather in a tasty brown “Bitter Chocolate”, plus a dash of “Cirrus Gray” Alcantara, decorative stitching in “Silver Coarse” and lots of lacquer in “Pianoblack” - is the MI6 miniature pursuit car ready? Think, under the hood, a 1.3 liter engine chirps as sexy as a sewing machine. With 98 hp, 007 could at best chase scooters. Narrow-chested howling, the four-cylinder revs up and accelerates the toddler without excessive thrust, but thanks to the stepless automatic with steady propulsion. The Cygnet adopted the CVT transmission from the iQ, as did the Japanese characters in the engine compartment and the Toyota chassis number in the vehicle registration document.
Aston Martin Cygnet is good for drifting
But a consolation for 007 fans: With somewhat stiff suspension, reasonably precise steering, fully deactivatable ESP, real handbrake and a little passion drifts the Aston Martin Cygnet in Bond-style through the parking garage - including 180-degree escape turns.
While the luxury Brit is satisfied with its appearance, the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari rushes up snorting like an excited bull. With a chirping loader, the 180-horsepower offshoot with Garrett turbocharger is said to be reminiscent of the glorious Abarth times of the sixties, when the small-volume racing rolls coiffed by the designer Carlo Abarth were almost unbeatable in their classes.
Italian racing roll as a star on the curve
The small car grenade painted in the official Ferrari color “Rosso Corsa” is marching forward and spit through the four-pipe sports exhaust system 'Record Monza'. Under load, the front-wheel drive car pulls cheekily in the steering - drive influences are clearly noticeable here. The springs, which are shorter compared to the Abarth 500, lower the vehicle's center of gravity by 10 millimeters. The Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari waves around the corner on winding country roads thanks to the tighter set-up including Koni dampers.
The semi-automated transmission is less fun. Due to the long switching pauses, the teeterHeads of the inmates back and forth like a punching ball when switching. The shift times can be shortened somewhat using the sports button, but the sedate pace of the shift box cannot be concealed. In sport mode, the souped-up 500 also reacts more aggressively to gas commands and scores with more direct steering characteristics.
Speaking of moaning: The ergonomics of the steering wheel and seat position also belong to the category “does not work” with this Cinquecento. The steering wheel, which is exclusively height-adjustable, must also be adjustable in length. With the current seating position, only average Italians with long arms and short legs feel half at home in the nimble racing flea. The height of the sitting position is also more reminiscent of a bar stool than a sporty flair.
Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari with sports car equipment
The Abarth boys apparently stole all of the sports equipment in the interior in Maranello. In the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari, two bucket seats, each ten kilos lighter, with Alcantara and leather covers from Sabelt and with a carbon fiber rear panel are used. The carbon material also adorns the instrument panel over a large area. A two-tone leather steering wheel with rally markings and the design of the white dial in the instrument cluster designed by the watch manufacturer Jaeger are also intended to distract from unsightly large-scale plastics (door panels and center console).
Those who do not allow themselves to be distracted by the deduction of points in the B grade (gear, seating position) should hurry up. Unlike the Aston Martin Cygnet, the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari, limited to 1,696 copies, is almost completely sold out. As extroverted as these small cars are, we at sport auto are already looking forward to the next distraction from Aston Martin and Ferrari - but then again, hopefully from a super sports car à la One-77 or 599 GTO.