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Aston Martin designs a new V6 for James Bond—and the Valhalla hypercar

It must be hard, being James Bond. Not only does he have to worry about secret plots and supervillains, but there’s also the dilemma of what to drive. No Time to Die might be delayed now, but when it does finally come out, the film will be packed with Aston Martins, requiring 007 to make a choice of which one to drive, and when.

There’s the classic DB5, now avec miniguns, as seen in the trailer. That’s where we also got a glimpse of a DBS, reflecting the British carmaker’s current range, as well as what looked a lot like a 1980s-era Vantage. That makes three, but in fact NTtD also reportedly features one of Aston Martin’s future products. It’s a brand-new mid-engined hybrid hypercar, developed in conjunction with legendary F1 aerodynamicist Adrian Newey.

But it’s not the mid-engined hybrid Aston Martin hypercar you might be thinking of. The Valkyrie, which promises near-F1 level performance, is nearing full production, but only 150 of those will be built, and at $3.2 million each, they are presumably beyond 007’s civil-servant budget. Which is where the Valhalla comes in. It looks quite a bit like the Valkyrie, which is to say it will resemble little else on the road, its shape honed as it is by the need to bend airflow to its will. It will be cheaper and built in larger volume, too, although build numbers here will still only stretch to 500 examples, and at more than a million dollars it still isn’t exactly what you’d call affordable.

On Monday, Aston Martin shared a little bit about the Valhalla’s powertrain. At its heart is an all-new turbocharged 3.0L V6. It’s the first in-house engine by Aston Martin since Tadek Marek’s 5.3L V8 of 1968; since then, the company has used straight sixes borrowed from Jaguar, V12s that came from Ford, and more recently, V8s built by Mercedes-AMG. (The Valkyrie also gets a unique engine, but at twice the price, it gets twice the cylinders and more than twice the capacity, as it’s a 6.5L V12 designed by Cosworth.)

Interestingly, the new V6—codenamed TM01—will weigh almost as much as the bespoke V12, tipping the scales at “less than 200kg” (440lbs) according to the company.

I’m not sure whether there’s any relation between the Valkyrie’s naturally aspirated V12 and Valhalla’s turbocharged V6, since Aston Martin hasn’t released any technical details like bore, stroke, or V-angle that might clue us in. We know it’s a hot-V design, and that it’s dry sumped for better on-track performance. It does say that the engine has been designed to meet all Euro 7 emissions regulations and that it’s been designed with electrification in mind. The company also confirmed that the Valhalla will indeed be a hybrid.

Also unsaid, but heavily implied, is that this V6 will likely go on to power many other future Aston Martin models. It costs the same to develop a Euro 7-compliant V6 turbo whether you plan to build 500 or 50,000, after all, but it’s a lot easier to amortize that development budget when spread over many more units. But I also expect that any future TM01-powered Aston Martins will look much more conventional than the Newey-designed Valhalla. At the end of January, Lawrence Stroll bought a big chunk of the company. Stroll also owns the F1 team Racing Point, and since Newey is chief designer for a rival team, Red Bull Racing, there’s little corporate appetite on either side to continue the collaboration.

The Valhalla is due in 2022, which means you should still be able to see it first when No Time to Die is released, something that hopefully now happens in November.

Listing image by Jonathan Gitlin

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