Aston Martin has persisted with its efforts to extend the brand’s reach into all areas of luxury life by teaming up with Airbus for the creation of a new helicopter. Using the 952-shaft horsepower base of Airbus Corporate Helicopters’ ACH130, the firm’s designers have grafted Aston’s styling DNA onto the exterior and seven-seat interior. It’s hardly the first time Aston has developed something away from four wheels, with a motorbike, a plane and even architecture now in the portfolio. But it is the first time it's been involved in the design of a helicopter – hence this ACH130’s new moniker, the Aston Martin Edition.
Naturally, the Airbus is pretty special out of the box, with a high-performance turboshaft engine able to carry the chopper to a grand tourer-esque 155mph (well, technically it’s 134 knots). Even without Aston’s involvement the model looks fit for a Bond baddie getaway vehicle, but the addition of Stirling Green paint that fades down to black on the underside, while Skyfall (see what they did there?) Silver around the cowlings takes it to another level. Other colours are available in four signature design themes, but the launch one does look particularly well suited for ferrying its occupants and their ski gear up the snow-covered French Alps to the dismay of those lowly ski lift users.
Said passengers will be greeted by an “automotive-inspired cabin”, although it’s clear the inspiration is limited to trim and materials because we spot no steering wheel or gear selector. Instead, there are extra luxurious fabrics, including Pure Black ultra-suede and a choice of leathers from Aston’s car palette, Oxford Tan, Pure Black, Cormorant and Ivory. The seat backs get the same brogue detailing as the DB11, while the side panels are dressed like car door cards, with handles and leather arm rests. There are also leather storage pouches ahead of each rear passenger, which look large enough to for an après-ski sandwich or two.
Aston Martin chief creative officer Marek Reichman said of his team’s work: “Beauty is of vital importance to Aston Martin and to our customers and we think the ACH130 Aston Martin Edition is an inherently beautiful machine. It provided a wonderful canvas for our team to work on so we now look forward to seeing everybody’s reaction.” Given that the launch of ACH and Aston’s first project took place amongst the champagne and canapés of Courchevel in the French Alps, we suspect the reaction has been rather good.
If you want one, prices for the Aston-trimmed ACH130 are available on application. No doubt it’ll significantly build on the base model’s price, but if you’re capable of forking out a few million quid for a new helicopter, that almost certainly won’t matter. Deliveries will begin later this quarter.