London Lite Friday, 24 July 2009 33 Achipofftheoldblock BabyAstonsandJagsmeananyonecandriveamillionairesmarque BY DAVID WILLIAMS Baby boomer: Aston Martins Cygnet will be on sale next year London Lite Friday, 24 July 2009 33 Motoring T HE astonishment was palpable when James Bonds favourite car-maker unveiled its new baby model. Certainly no sportster, still less a luxury grand tourer and not a bullet- proof screen in sight, the newest addition to the Aston Martin stable, the Cygnet, is to be a Japanese-built, budget (by Aston standards) commuter car, designed by Toyota, and is expected to be on sale next year. A baby in many senses of the word, it looks cute and is tiny, an essential qualification for any city car that needs to squeeze into tight parking spaces and nip in and out of traffic. Its price, however, is not quite so cuddly; its expected to cost about 20,000, more than twice what youd expect to pay for Toyotas IQ, the model on which the new car is based. Little surprise then that -- in line with other manufacturers who have jumped on the band- wagon to produce baby versions of their own more upmarket cars -- Aston Martin believes it is the marques pedigree as well as its tech- nology that will sell the car. According to the car firms CEO Ulrich Bez, the Cygnet is aimed at the one-third of existing Aston owners who also have a Mini-sized car. It allows us to apply Aston Martin design language, craftsmanship and brand values to a completely new segment of the market, he says. Its not the first time a manufacturer has cashed in by producing a baby version of a well-known, well-loved brand. One of the best- known examples was Mercedes when it pro- duced the clever A-Class in 1997, a truly mini version embodying the luxury and style for which the brand is known. The A-Class had the same three-pointed badge, a similar whiff of quality, was instantly recognisable as a Merc and went on to be produced in increasingly large numbers. Since then Jaguar has produced a baby Jag in the form of the X-Type, which attempted to replicate the qualities of the firms big, impos- ing XJ range. BMW have got in on the act with their bijou X1 version of the BMW X5 and X3 4X4s. Audi, too, distilled the essence of its larger cars when it produced the tiny A2 in 2000. Now its hoping to replicate that success when it reveals its small new Audi A1, in the second half of next year. Porsche came up with what commentators gleefully called a baby 911 when it produced the dashing Cayman sports car in 2005, and its even smaller Boxster, back in 1996. More recently Land Rover announced plans for a baby Range Rover. The LRX model will sport a green, environmental hybrid engine. It will be able to run on electricity only, petrol only, or on a combination of the two. As they discovered, theres nothing like a new addition to the family for smiles and celebrations all round. Heres our round-up of the cutest babies on the market and coming soon. BMW X1 Baby fact: Set to be the smallest 4X4 in BMWs stable when it goes on sale this autumn. Style: Just like its bigger brothers it will have the firms four-wheel-drive system and sense of style, with a range of different petrol and diesel engines. Why buy it? You like the style of BMWs bigger X3 and the big X5. But you dont like their size. How much? Expected to start at 20,000. ROLLS-ROYCE GHOST Baby fact: Only recently revealed as the Ghost after being known by its 200EX and RR4 codenames -- and as the baby Phantom after RRs other large limo. Style: Ultra-luxurious car based on parent company BMWs 7-Series model, with powerful 6.6-litre V12 engine and rear- hinged doors. Why buy it? It will be the last word in luxury and, despite being smaller t h a n t h e Phantom, will still seat four or five in high comfort. How much? About 180,000. AUDI A1 Baby fact: Expected to be launched in the second half of 2010, this supermini car will be tasked with challenging the super-successful Mini head on. Style: Like any model carrying the famous four rings, it will have great build quality and immense visual appeal. Why buy it? Because you want a bijou version of the great-looking A3, A4, A6 or A8. How much? Its expected to cost about 15,000. McLAREN B a b y f a c t : Baby McLaren is a key part of McLaren boss Ron Denniss plans to expand his range and ape the impact of the F1 roadcar. Style: Expect a composite body and very compact lines, matched with stunning handling and performance. Why buy it? For the sheer driving pleasure. Oh, and one-upmanship -- how many people do you know who own a McLaren? How much? Its rumoured to have an 80,000 price tag. RANGE ROVER LRX Baby fact: The LRX has a green, environmental hybrid engine. It will be able to run on electricity only, petrol only, or on a combination of the two. Style: Unveiled last year at the Detroit Motor Show and expected to hit the roads in 2011, this three-door baby is a tough, chunky urban- looking beast. It looks like a grown-up Range Rover -- wearing fat trainers. Why buy it? You live in central London, but would like to escape to the country one day (when you grow up). How much? From 30,000. VOLVO XC60 Baby fact: The precocious new model won SUV of the year at the recent 2009 What Car? Awards. Style: The seven-seater XC90 was such a runa- way success, winning a handful of awards, too, that Volvo simply cloned it and shrank it a bit. The baby seats five adults and still has bags of boot space. Why buy it? You need a solid, comfortable family car, but you dont want the family to get too much bigger. How much? 24,000 -- as compared with 32,000 for its big brother. JAGUAR X-TYPE Baby fact: Owing to cutbacks at the Halewood factory in the North-west, the X-Type might be nearing the end of its production life -- but it will still be rolling out until the end of the year, so grab one while you can. On the second-hand market, the diesel models are in short supply and are highly prized. Style: A scaled-down version of the imposing XJ range, the X-Type is tagged as offer- ing Luxury Every Day. The mid-range compact executive saloon is the smallest of the Jaguar saloons. Why buy it? Youve always promised yourself a Jag, but still dont have the executive salary to match. How much? 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ASTON MARTIN CYGNET Baby fact: Will instantly become the worlds smallest super-luxury car -- and Astons biggest departure in the firms 90-year history. Style: Expect plush leather interior, unmistakable Aston badgeing and high-quality, bespoke finish. Why buy it? Because you can afford it -- and it will complement that DB9 already sitting on your drive. How much: From 20,000.