Aston Martin made official what many industry watchers had already assumed; that it will be begin producing the tiny-but-luxurious Cygnet in 2011.
The Cygnet is a rebadged Toyota iQ equipped with the same 97hp 1.3-liter engine but outfitted with a high-end, sartorial interior that's been enveloped with hand-stitched leather. News sources are pegging the Cygnet with a price tag somewhere between $45,000 to $75,000, according to InsideLine.
It's a drastic break from Aston Martin's current line up of performance cars, but adding a fuel-sipper will help the British carmaker comply with tightening European emissions standards and could help it achieve the 35 mpg Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards that will go into effect in the U.S. in 2016--should they begin selling the car in this market. Aston Martin's last reported CAFE rating was 19 mpg in 2008, although its low sales volume means that it could get an extension on meeting the target.
The Toyota iQ is sold in Europe and Japan, and has won several green car awards thanks to Toyota's Optimal Drive technology, which helps it achieve 65.7 mpg. Toyota is bringing the iQ stateside next year, but badged as a Scion. The carmaker expects that the newest Scion, also equipped with the 1.3-liter engine, will deliver fuel economy in the upper 30s, similar to the Smart ForTwo. Specifications for Aston Martin's Cygnet will be released later this year.