Up Close With The Aston Martin AM-RB 001: The Car That Proves The Future Won't Suck

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Lately I’ve been depressed at the kind of future we’re heading into: cars that will drive themselves, simulated engine noises, the disappearance of rumbling V8s and natural aspiration, crossovers, climate change, fake news—it’s all going straight to shit, isn’t it?

Luckily, there are carmakers that don’t believe the future will suck, and see the new automotive challenges that spawn from electrification and autonomy as an exciting opportunity to build truly mind-blowing automobiles for enthusiasts like you and me. Aston Martin is one such carmaker, and the AM-RB 001 is here to calm our fears.

What Happens When You Pour Red Bull in Your Fuel Tank

I was at the 2017 Canadian International Auto Show this week where Andy Palmer, CEO of Aston Martin, opened up the show talking about the AM-RB 001 to help celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. At first glance Canada may seem an unusual choice to unveil a British hypercar, but keep in mind the car is built by Multimatic in Ontario.

Here’s what we know so far about the AM-RB 001. For those who wonder, Palmer did confirm that AM-RB 001 is a temporary concept name, thank god, and that the vehicle will be renamed down the road.

And yes, Aston Martin does have plans to actually build this thing. So it’s not just some sort of design exercise, or a derivative of the already batshit crazy Vulcan. The AM-RB 001 is the real deal, and it’s coming.

So get excited.

The Aston Martin AM-RB 001 (try repeating that five times with a few beers in you) is the result of a first ever partnership between Aston Martin and the Red Bull Racing F1 team, which also happens to mark Aston Martin’s official return to Formula 1 after a 55-year absence.

The car is the brainchild of Adrian Newey, Red Bull Racing’s technical officer, Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s EVP and chief creative officer, and David King, VP and chief special operations officer at Aston. Not a bad team at all.

And it looks downright insane, the way a hypercar should. It’s a truly mind-blowingly radical design, looking like a Le Mans prototype for the road, with insane aerodynamics, diffusers and carbon fiber everything.

I wonder how much of this extreme downforce stuff will actually make it into production after all the safety and legal folks put their nose into the AM-RB 001, but Aston Martin did confirm the car will be road legal, and that its suspension system will feature innovative technology to cope with the extreme aerodynamic loads it will generate at high speeds. So that’s great!

Some Serious Specs

Yes, those are fake headlights you’re seeing there, but it has been confirmed that Wipac, a UK-based light manufacturer will take charge of the LED head lamps and taillights for the AM-RB 001. More importantly, and what you all came here to read about, is the kind of specifications that will come out of this thing. Aston Martin has confirmed a mid-mounted 6.5-liter naturally-aspirated V12, designed, engineered and built by Cosworth.

Power will be routed to the rear wheels via a seven-speed, presumably dual-clutch, paddle-shift transmission built by Ricardo.

I was particularly excited when Dr. Palmer confirmed that the AM-RB 001 will boast a 1:1 power/weight ratio very much like the Koenigsegg One:1, meaning that this Aston Martin will develop 1000 hp (because that’s the new benchmark for hypercars) and weigh only 1000 kg, or about 2,200 pounds.

And that’s fuckin’ cool.

The AM-RB 001 will of course feature some innovative F1-inspired hybrid tech, such as a compact KERS-style boost system which, very much like the system found in the Ferrari LaFerrari, will be used strictly for performance purposes, and not necessarily for fuel economy, which is fine by me. That system will be developed by Croatian-based Rimac, makers of the fabulously stunning Concept_One electric hypercar.

That KERS system is said to deliver 1000 kW of power during acceleration and absorb 400 kW during braking. I’m curious to see how they’ll manage to keep the weight down with that system sitting in there.

Aston Martin states that its hypercar will sell for a billionaire-appropriate 2.2 million British Pounds. Don’t even bother calling Aston Martin if you’ve just won the lottery, because all 150, limited-production AM-RB 001’s are already all sold out. Because of course they are.

A Lagonda and Manual Transmissions

Andy Palmer carried on the presentation with exciting projections about the future of Aston Martin, how the carmaker plans to expand its lineup of cars by seven from now to 2020, with a new model released every nine months from their Gaydon facility, where the AM-RB 001 will also be built.

Palmer also spoke about the return of the Lagonda nameplate (even though we’ve been hearing that one for years), how Aston plans to integrate electric technology to all of its future models, how autonomous driving will never come in the way of exciting car design and driver involvement, but instead serve as a way to help humankind throughout its growing mobility needs.

Palmer also promised that Aston Martin’s lineup of cars will always offer at least one model available with three pedals and stick.

Sounds exciting. And promising. Now, if we can find a way to trickle down this sort of logic to the more affordable car brands, I reckon the future of the automobile is looking up to be just fine.

William Clavey is an automotive journalist from Montréal, Québec, Canada. He runs claveyscorner.com, and does some collaborative writing over at rightfootdown.com.