The supercar has been delayed yet again.
In June, Aston Martin released another teaser video of the Valhalla supercar, despite the fact that a year earlier, it had "revealed" the car with an updated design and the promise of 937 horsepower. As with the Valkyrie hypercar, delays at Aston Martin have been continuous, and these have had nothing to do with supply shortages. However, customer deliveries of the Valkyrie have begun, which suggests that the British automaker should have some freed-up time that can be used to focus on the Valhalla.
The Valhalla was first shown as the AM-RB 003 concept in 2019 and reportedly sold out of all 500 initial units in less than two months despite a price of over $1 million. Last year, the cap was raised to 999 units with a price of at least $800,000, which may have incensed the original reservation holders. Those buyers' patience must be wearing thin, but hopefully, the prospect of even more than 937 hp should be enough to placate them.
In an interview with MotorTrend, product development lead Carlo Della Casa has revealed new developments. After a recent dyno run, the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 portion of the hybrid powertrain (which was originally claimed to produce 740 hp on its own) spat out 812 hp. With the addition of the 150-kilowatt hybrid system, which produces 201 hp, the total output is now 1,012 hp. Unfortunately, the torque figure was not revealed.
But we have our doubts about reliability - an Aston Martin engineer told CarBuzz at the DBX707 launch that this engine was close to its limits with 740 hp.
Interestingly, the original configuration saw one electric motor added to each axle, but Della Casa says that the company is investigating revisions of the chassis so that it may have the option of two motors on the front axle. If this change goes ahead, it would allow the Valhalla to boast torque vectoring on both axles, but a final decision has not yet been made. The clock's ticking, boys.
As before, a bespoke eight-speed dual-clutch is planned for the transmission, making it the first DCT to be fitted to a production Aston Martin. Graziano will build the 'box, but its software is being refined in-house by Aston Martin so that it can provide the finest "experience and connection between the hybrid system, transmission, and engine," said Della Casa.
While the gearbox may be the same as it was planned to be last year, the interior has changed and will no longer feature adjustable pedals. To get around this, Aston Martin has gone with the cheaper and easier option of a sliding driver's seat instead of a fixed unit. The automaker claims that this better accommodates drivers of all body types, but it's yet another concession that shouldn't have to be made so long after the car was revealed.
But the changes don't stop there, and thankfully, they're not all bad. Della Casa says that, about a month ago, the team working on the car was able to reduce the weight of the carbon fiber monocoque structure from 331 pounds to less than 220. The targeted curb weight is now around 3,640 lbs. By comparison, a Ferrari SF90 with no fluids on board is within a single pound of that figure, so the Valhalla should destroy Fiorano's scarlet chariot in a drag race and possibly be even better in the bends too.
It'll also be outstanding at high speed, as the original estimate of 1,322 lbs of downforce at 150 mph has now been projected to reach 1,433 lbs. "It's a number we are investigating; could be more, could be less depending on the last bits of design we are doing, particularly for the front," said Della Casa.
Della Casa goes on to say that he thinks the Valhalla is both supercar and hypercar: "We are pitching a new segment that is both, a middle way - and not as a compromise," said the executive. "You can drive very comfortably but can immediately turn the car into a 'race car' by lowering [the adaptive suspension] and having [lots of] downforce. It's a supercar with hypercar levels of performance. Drivers must really be engaged, even at low speed. You'll immediately feel you're driving something special; it's going to be exciting at 40 or 60 mph. The performance and price are why it's a new segment we are defining."
He also noted that there is the potential to take the car racing, but we'd focus on getting the car completed first.
Aston Martin has poured a fortune into this vehicle, and it needs to be perfect. At this time, not all 999 examples of the Valhalla have been spoken for, but officially, orders will only open in 2023, with deliveries expected in 2024. Let's hope that date doesn't get shifted again.